Hired a New Grad? How to Turn Your New Hire Into an A+ Employee

May 12, 2015 -
Sure, it’s great to hire someone with experience for that open entry-level job on your team. They’ll be able do the job without much guidance. But it’s going to cost you. Hiring a recent grad is a more affordable alternative. In today’s job market, you’ll have the pick of the litter, and you will be able to mold them into the employees of your dreams. Plus, once you’ve invested in your new hire, they’ll be more likely to stick around and be loyal to you. Training a recent grad does take some TLC and planning. Here are seven steps to transform your recent grad into a high-performing asset in no time at all. (Click here to tweet these steps.)

1. Get them learning quickly

Start investing in your people quickly. At SkilledUp, we like to give every new hire an online course to help them study their core skill set. For example, when we hire new junior SEOs, we give them access to DistilledU, the best SEO course out there. Likewise, if the person is a designer, we’ll provide a subscription to Lynda and assign relevant courses.

2. Assign relevant work right away

Even while new hires are training, have them do work relevant to the coursework you’ve assigned. For instance, if a new community manager took a course on how to engage our audience on Twitter, we’d set him or her free with our corporate Twitter account to apply that learning immediately. To ensure your new hires feel their work is meaningful, link tasks to challenging, specific, and attainable goals.

3. Discuss and iterate

Set up regular meetings to discuss the work the new hire is doing with their new skills. In these meetings, our agenda covers: what’s going well; what can be improved; major roadblocks; and how to tackle them. The more technical the skill, the more dialogue there needs to be. Our engineers do this with pair programming, where a junior and senior programmer code together and talk about code all day long.

4. Provide ample resources

Employees grow bored when they stop learning. Guess what happens when they get bored? They leave. To prevent that from happening, send them articles on the latest trends, and challenge them to test and carry out new ideas. Send your social media manager the latest Social Media Examiner article, your SEO wrangler the latest Search Engine Journal piece, your designer to Creative Bloq, and so on.

5. Encourage your new hire to find a peer group

Supercharge your recent grads’ learning experience by encouraging them to seek advice outside your organization. Peer groups can be matched through Meetup or industry networking events. Recommend a few to your new hire, pay for admission, and have them report back to you on the experience. In every major U.S. city — from Jacksonville to Denver to Portland to Sacramento — there are regular networking events to expand your professional circles. Encourage your new hires to out there, get inspired, and get connected. There’s nothing wrong with schmoozing your way to success.

6. Consider conferences

If you have the budget, send your staff to the occasional conference. In the past year, we’ve sent our people to South By Southwest, Digital Book World, ClickZ Live, and many others. Conferences provide both tangible and intangible benefits. They give your next generation of leaders a chance to learn and network. Sending new hires to a conference — especially if it’s in another city — is a big morale booster. It’s like saying, “We trust you. You’ve earned this. Work hard, but also have some fun. Come back refreshed.”

7. Complete the cycle

The true test of your new hire’s competence is whether they can train your next hire. Allowing them to do so increases your new hire’s responsibilities, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and drives them to do more for your organization. One practical way to do this is to invite your recent hire to contribute to an onboarding document for new hires. Such a document can list all of the systems used by your company, key procedures that can’t be skirted around, and other resources. Another way is to create a “buddy” system that pairs new recruits with some of your more seasoned employees for continued engagement. Learning is the cornerstone of this seven-step process. Stop learning and your organization will stagnate and atrophy; but if you instill learning in your employee development, it will act as a fountain of youth for your organization. Brad Zomick works at SkilledUp.com, the leading source of reviews, ratings and deals on online courses, with over 150,000 courses from over 400 providers available in every subject. Visit them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.