How well prepared for work are your new hires?

When you hire someone with limited or no workplace experience, you will be well-aware that you are making a trade-off. Compared to experienced staff, they will be cheaper, and should be easier to mould into your ways of working. The best ones will have a hunger to learn and impress.

But on the flip side, they have a lot to learn (making mistakes along the way), will require more supervision which takes time and energy, and may simply be in for a shock when they realise the standards you require of them.

According to a new survey from a US educational content technology and services provider, the class of 2023 are feeling ill-prepared to enter the workforce – only 41% of graduates felt university had taught them the skills they need for their first jobs, compared to more than 60% the year before.

This is not good news for them, and it is not good news for you as an employer either. So what can you do to ensure you are hiring employees that do adapt well to working in your company?

Consider experience as well as, or instead of, degrees

Let’s start with a review of the person specification you put together before hiring, really thinking about what is required for the job. Traditionally, many employers have only accepted graduates for certain roles, but the landscape is different now.

For example, apprenticeships have been pushed hard in recent years and T-levels introduced. With alternative routes to employability, ones which involve hands on experience, less of a focus on having a degree and more of a focus on the experience you feel is necessary for the job could be the solution for you.

This could still be graduates, but perhaps looking for ones a couple of years into their career who have acclimatised to professional life.

Invest more in training for new recruits

“What if I train them and they leave?”, “What if you don’t, and they stay?” is a famous quote by renowned management consultant William Edwards Deming.

We all recognise that everyone has to start somewhere. If you are noticing a trend that although good enough to be hired by you, new recruits are falling short in some ways, an investment in more training may be the obvious solution (although, timely use of probation periods is also an option if they really are hopeless!).

From a structured training programme to more informal mentoring, there are lots of ways to do this – something for every budget.

Offer an internship

Fostering relationships with local universities could be a way to get ahead, and help better prepare the next generation for the world of work. Some institutions will part fund work placements, reducing the outlay you would have to make.

As well as the wonderful opportunity you are offering to students, internships give you a chance to better understand the talent pipeline before you spend the money on hiring. Forewarned is forearmed: getting a feel for their strengths and weaknesses may help you design better person specifications for job adverts and understand what kind of training they might require.

You may also strike lucky and find a perfect future employee through an internship.

Your local HR partner

At The HR Dept, from offices across the country we can help with all stages of recruitment, from planning to the job interviews. We can also assist with designing and delivering training courses, so if you need help with any of the above, please get in touch.

How can we help?