Employers play role in setting up college grads for success

Paola Perez

When college graduates enter the work force, it can be challenging time for them and their employers. Even as graduates transition into new phases of their lives, employers might believe they’re taking a chance on inexperienced employees.

Employers should consider hiring recent college graduates as an investment. New grads bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the workplace. The question then becomes: How can employers help graduates transition into their organizations?

It’s important to establish communications between graduates and employers. Everyone likes to believe they’re great communicators, but an employer’s definition of good communication might not align with a graduate’s.

Employers must keep in mind graduates just came from a place of structure and organization. They’re used to clear guidelines and expectations. The workplace might not be as structured as a college setting. Employers should provide graduates as much direction as possible on everything from appropriate attire to project expectations and deadlines. In addition, employers should ask graduates about the level of communication with which they’re comfortable. Do they want constant feedback or prefer a more informal, touch base here and there?

One good way for employers to learn how to best communicate with new graduates is to identify their personality types. The Emergenetics and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality tests are popular and widely used, but require licensing to administer and training to interpret.

Employers that can’t invest in these types of tools can still take advantage of a free online personality test based on the MBTI called 16 Personalities. This tool focuses on how people gather information and make decisions. It’s designed to help individuals understand their personalities and use their preferences to work well with others. Test results provide a personality profile — including a section on workplace habits, strengths and weaknesses. This assessment helps employers know what to expect from new graduates and vice versa. Reviewing personality test results together affords opportunities for employers and employees to establish guidelines and expectations.

Another way for employers to get to know graduates is to have them take the Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Survey. The VAK Survey is designed to help people understand different learning styles and which they prefer. It consists of three distinct sections: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Once the survey is completed, each section is totaled, and the highest number represents the preferred learning style for the respondent. This is valuable information for employers because it can help them understand how their employees best processes information. A supervisor might be an auditory learner and prefer to communicate by talking things out, while an employee could be a visual learner and prefer to communicate through email.

The majority of recent college graduates entering the workforce are from Generation Z. Employers should understand the characteristics of members of this generation to set them up for success. Employers should be prepared to answer questions from employees about why they’re expected to perform a job a certain way, provide instant feedback and offer praise for completed and exceptional work. Appreciation and value are important to most people, but especially to members of Gen Z.

Employers can find out how to best show appreciation by having employees take the Languages of Appreciation Quiz. This free quiz can be found online and indicates the primary languages of appreciation, whether it’s words of affirmation, quality time, tangible gifts or acts of service. Employees can even create and display pie charts showing their languages of appreciation for others to see and recognize.

Last but not least, employers must practice patience when hiring recent college graduates. While college teaches students a lot of things, college doesn’t prepare them for everything unique workplaces and jobs require of them.

One of the best ways for employers to set up college graduates for success in their organizations is to help them grow and believe in their potential. Allowing and encouraging these new hires to have a seat at the table can be transformative not only for them, but also the employers for which they work.

Graduates could help identify and solve problems their employers didn’t know existed.