How Employers Can Help Recent Graduates
Recruiting recent graduates is an excellent way to bring fresh talent and new skills and ideas into the workplace. But because recent graduates lack experience, they rely on their employer to help them succeed. Employers can help these new hires thrive in their new roles by offering financial education, providing frequent feedback, and coaching them to become the best they can be.
Offer Financial Education
Because financial education is not typically taught in schools, recent graduates might not know how to effectively manage a sudden influx of money when they start their first job. Offering financial education to employees is one of the most beneficial things an employer can do for new employees. It helps recent graduates stay in their jobs long term, succeed in their careers, and have peace of mind in their personal lives.
Financial Education for Lifestyle Inflation
College students are most often accustomed to living low-budget lifestyles. Students spend their time earning a degree (and paying for it) instead of earning money. Because of this, they typically live in small quarters, share resources with roommates, eat subpar meals, and forgo most non-essentials during their time in school. But all of this is with the assurance that the low-budget lifestyle is temporary and they will soon earn much more money.
Without financial education, recent graduates may be tempted to spend their first real paychecks unwisely. This creates a pattern of unhealthy behaviors unless they learn proper financial management right from the start. The income from a real job may convince them that they can not only afford anything, but that they can afford everything. Lifestyle inflation will skyrocket and these new graduates will soon find themselves in over their heads in expenses. Financial education is necessary to help recent graduates manage their money and establish healthy financial behavior patterns from the beginning.
Financial Education for Long-Term Employment
Not only will financial education help recent graduates establish savings and prepare for their financial future, but it will help them stay with their employers long term. Most recent graduates don’t plan on job-hopping and would prefer a stable lifestyle. But without financial education, recent graduates won’t know how to manage their money in a sustainable way.
New hires may quickly find lifestyle inflation outpacing their paychecks. In that situation, the only obvious solution is to change jobs to earn more money. But this leads to further lifestyle inflation, which continues the cycle of spending more to match their new salary. Edwenna Ervin in a CNBC article says, “No matter how large your paycheck is, if you don’t know how to save, you don’t know how to apply it to your bills or just manage it, it might as well be a small paycheck.” Instead, employers who offer their recent graduates financial education help them establish healthy financial behaviors to make the most of their money.
One of the biggest changes recent graduates experience on entering the workforce is the lack of feedback. Graduates are accustomed to being graded on everything and receiving almost-immediate feedback on all performances. But employees typically receive feedback infrequently. This makes it hard for the new hires to know if they are living up to expectations or performing adequately for the job. HBR says, “Young professionals can experience a feedback vacuum in the professional world — wondering how to improve, if they need to improve, and how they can develop the skills necessary to improve at their firm and in their career.”
Effective feedback can play a significant role in an employee’s success. Feedback includes praise, recognition, and appreciation for good work and appropriate behaviors. It also includes constructive criticism to help the employee become the best worker they can be. Constructive criticism is most effective when it is provided early on.
Employers should not expect new employees to know things that only come with experience. Schools may teach students the technological skills they need for the job, but might not teach things like workplace etiquette. Inc.com says, “The importance of giving employees feedback cannot be understated, especially when it comes to new hires that have recently graduated and are just entering the professional world. Part of effective management is relaying specific, guided feedback. That means explaining in detail what the employee is doing that works, what isn’t working, areas that can be improved, and many other aspects that come with early career development.” Employers can help their recent graduates succeed by setting expectations and providing frequent feedback. This guides new employees toward success in their role and in their career.
Coach Them to Succeed
Too often, employers expect their recent graduate hires to be proficient with skills that only come with experience. Employers are often willing to train about the job, but not about business etiquette, dress codes, timeliness, and so on. But without coaching, new employees may never learn the skills that will help them succeed in their roles. One of the most helpful attributes employers can have is the willingness to coach employees and teach them what they need to know.
Good coaches will help their employees become the best workers they can be, which benefits the employees and the company alike. Most new workers will make mistakes at some point, but these can be valuable learning opportunities. HR for Health says, “Teach them failure is okay. First, expect failure from your employees. They’re new to your practice—and to work in general. They’re going to make mistakes; they’re a natural part of the learning process. Teach them how to handle those mistakes and recover as needed.”
Furthermore, coaching new employees also means providing them with challenges and opportunities to grow. The Muse says, “Give them the opportunity to succeed. I’m constantly reading about how Millennials have grown up in the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ culture. And maybe this is true. But instead of lamenting about how young people want to be praised, give them the opportunity to earn it. Challenge them with difficult projects. Put them on a team that’s tackling a high-profile problem. Their graduation speaker just told them that they can do anything—why not at least let them try?” New hires fresh out of college won’t know everything. It will take time and experience. But the best workers come from the best coaches.
Recent graduates can be a great addition to the workplace, and their skills and abilities can grow exponentially with help from their employer. When employees learn healthy financial habits early on in their career, they are better equipped to maintain a long-term position without the need for job-hopping. Additionally, employers who provide consistent feedback and coach their employees to succeed will have employees who grow to excel in their roles.
Find out how 101 Financial’s Workplace Wellness program helps recent graduates control their money and manage lifestyle inflation.