From Me – Grad’s with attitude

Does your organisation take on a number of Graduates each year and, if so, do you have a graduate development program in place?

If the answer is ‘yes we take Grads but no, we don’t have a program in place’ then you’ll probably already be aware of the increasing importance Grad’s are putting on joing companies with such programs in place as I’m quite sure they’ll be asking you about them. Indeed, in some industries (take engineering for example), having a good company name and paying good money often isn’t enough these days to secure the ‘cream of the crop’ as they, being the very resume and career progression focussed bunch these ‘Gen Ys’ are, are choosing to join companies that have a structured Grad development program in place and avoiding the ones that don’t…in fact, it seems that many of them feel quite strongly that it’s ‘their right’ to such programs!

If, however, the answer is ‘yes we take Grads and yes, we have a Grad program in place’ then I’m sure the above is ringing bells (and possibly raising stress levels) for a lot of you and you have a good number of your Grads demanding all manner of development programs (would you believe I know of one company whose Grads have formed a sort of ‘union’ whose function it is, in part, to ensure a certain number of L&D programs are run per year!!!).

The problem of course is that a/ you can’t give them everything (especially when some of the programs requested (read: DEMANDED in some cases) have little or no relevance to their role or the strategic goals of the organisation but b/ if you don’t give them a decent development program they all-too-often they end up leaving to join another company just as they’re begining to be of some value.

There is no easy answer to this, especially whilst good Grads are in such high demand, however, several of my clients have been seeing some real benefits from providing said Grad’s with training in ‘developing a business case’ and then making it mandatory that they use these skills when requesting that a specific program topic be delivered (i.e. they have to submit a business case for a new program that clearly shows the relevance and ROI to the business).

Doing this seems to provide several key positive outcomes, including:

  • It makes Grads fully consider the real need and relevant application of the topic in the workplace (often meaning they don’t bother you with the request in the first place)
  • It give Grads a sense of being included in the decision making process (addressing the issue with those that have a strong sense of ‘entitlement’)
  • Lastly (and very obviously), it trains grads in the extremely useful business skill of developing a business case

As mentioned already, I’m sure there’s a good number of people who’ll read this and think “yep, I know all about that” – if so, it’d be great if you could share your thoughts and, hopefully, your success stories in dealing with this issue.



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