Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Career Opportunities for New Graduates
This article relates to the Career Opportunities competency and explores issues such as internal growth opportunities, potential for advancement, career development importance, and the relationship between job performance and career advancement. Evaluating the Career Opportunities competency in your organization will determine whether your employees believe they have a chance to grow within the organization. Studies show that lack of career opportunity is one of the top reasons why employees leave an organization. Also, continually hiring open positions from outside the organization can be detrimental to morale when a qualified candidate is available internally. Topics covered in this competency are: perceived opportunity for advancement, existence of a career development plan, and organizational commitment to staff development.
This article, Career Opportunities for New Graduates, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales From the Corporate Frontlines. It tells how a group of HR employees tried a new twist on an annual event and discovered ways to improve their company's strategy for career development.
I have spent the past 25 years working in the HR department of a large financial services company. Every spring, our department gets buried in a barrage of resumes and cover letters from fresh, talented graduates eager to begin their careers with our company. Every year, our hiring execs choose those that fit the company's needs best at that particular moment in time.
Obviously, businesses are eager to hire new, young, fresh workers. They are enthusiastic, intelligent, and eager to work hard and establish their careers. They are also relatively cheap, as any honest hiring exec will admit.
But once these grads are hired, and begin their careers---then what? After noticing that after five years or so, very few of these graduation season new hires were still working with our company, we set out to find out why. We decided to try something different during this year's interview process. As a little experiment, we added questions about what these new grads expected in terms of career development and advancement, and got some surprising answers. Following are a few of their biggest concerns---
* Availability of career development programs. They consider training and mentoring to be a top priority. Realizing that college is only the beginning of their learning process, our interviewees want to know that the resources they need for professional growth are readily available.
* Internal promotion vs. external hiring. Candidates are eager to follow a career path inside the company, and concerned that their path may be blocked by external hiring for desirable positions. They are willing to work their way up-as long as it's possible.
* A reasonable chance for upward mobility. As long as they feel that the opportunity for career advancement is possible, they will remain. But a huge fear is to be pigeonholed in a dead end situation. Once that happens, they would rather move on. These kids have invested time and money in their educations, and they are serious about getting the most from that investment.
We performed this little experiment in conjunction with data obtained from a recent employee satisfaction survey showing how our current employees perceive opportunities for growth and advancement within the company. We took that data and compared it with what these young career candidates expected from a potential employer. We were able to zero in on problem areas and develop effective solutions.
They weren't aware of it at the time, but this year's new recruits helped to shape the future of the company where they hope to build their careers. We hope they stay around to do just that.
© 2005 AlphaMeasure, Inc. - All Rights Reserved
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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
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