How to Turn New Grads into Employees


Hiring skilled workers today is a challenge. And one of the main reasons is there aren’t enough skilled workers out there to fill your labor pool. Throw out the idea of hiring a hands-off employee (one that can hit the ground running) and consider hiring new graduates instead. Recent graduates come with the energy and passion to succeed even if they don’t quite have the skills and experience just yetThese concerns are easily remedied with development and training. And while it may cost extra money initially to train graduates, it will pay off in the long run as you’ll have a strong, developed workforce when others are scrambling to fill positions due to projected labor shortages. 


Create a Development Plan 

A robust development plan will help turn under-skilled graduates into highly trained workers. When companies provide formal training, employees increase their volume of work and capitalize on new opportunities that benefit the organizationUse a multi-tiered approach that offers many different types of training methods. 

  • On-the-Job Training 

On-the-job or hands-on training lets new employees begin working immediately by jumping in or shadowing another employee, while still being monitored by a supervisor or team member. This type of training wastes no time in getting employees up-to-speed, without completely being on their own. Keep in mind, graduates have been in school for the last two to four years so it’s likely they don’t have much real-world experience. On-the-job training provides that experience, while guiding them on how to fulfill their new roles. 

  • Coaching/Mentoring 

Mentoring as a training method is ideal for recent graduates. As part of the Gen Z generation (those born after 1996), graduates don’t want to be managed, they want to be mentored. According to a Forbes article, Gen Z prefers mentoring because they’re used to finding their own solutions and filling knowledge gaps. Providing this type of training for graduates, especially in remote positions, will not only prepare them for the position but help them feel supported and part of the company culture, which can ultimately help with retention. 

  • Classroom Style Training 

Classroom style training allows companies to train many employees at once. According to Indeedclassroom style training gives new employees the benefit of asking questions and building relationships with other trainees and the trainers. Plus, it pairs perfectly with online training. 

  • Online Training Content 

Online training content, available on a learning management system, allows new employees to access and complete training on their own time, from anywhere. It’s a training option that will appeal to entry-level workers because graduates are already tech-savvy. More than half (55%) of today’s college students are under 21 and as digital natives, they tend to be comfortable using tech and can even teach coworkers. This type of training is ideal for completing compliance training, diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment , safety, cybersecurity, leadership, ethics and more. But any type of custom content can be uploaded, so additional training, specific to the position, can be accessed as well. 


Pay Attention to Your Recruiting Methods 

Just because new grads aren’t skilled doesn’t mean they’re not discerning. Providing a great candidate experience will draw a better pool of recent graduates to your company so you might end up only supplementing skills, instead of training from the ground up. 

  • Advertise your development opportunities. Once you develop a solid development plan, let recent graduates know about it. According to LinkedInyounger generations view training as a top factor when considering jobs. Advertising this benefit on your company page and in your job postings will help draw graduates to your company. 
  • Pay attention to soft skills. Candidate assessment tools, like sample work tests, can help recruiters choose candidates that will fit with the company’s cultureBy providing an actual work assignment, recruiters can see how the candidate will perform on the job, including how their soft skills, like interpersonal or communication skills, stack up. Soft skills, can be much more valuable (and harder to train for) than job-specific or hard skills.  
  • Let your ATS do the work. An applicant tracking system (ATS) allows recruiters to publish job postings and sort candidate resumes so they only need to review top choices. But an ATS also provides a better candidate experience. A good ATS streamlines the application experience through mobile capabilities, interview scheduling and automatic status updates.  


Set Up a Plan for Future Success 

Candidates fresh out of college or trade school?? want to get their foot in the door and according to LinkedIn, outlining their career path at your company will show how you’ll set them up for success. Retaining your graduate hires is also where you’ll see the most ROI from your training efforts. If you’re skipping this step, you’re just training a great employee for their next employer. 

  • Use performance management to set goals. Steer your graduate employees in the right direction by setting goals during the performance management process. Make goals that attend to the employee, the department and the company, and take all three into consideration to create goals that will be rewarding for everyone. Align goals with the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based and Time-bound)  as the gold standard of goal-setting. 
  • Get feedback and check in on employees throughout the review process. Employee success is made possible by reviewing progress often, integrating personal goals with company goals and providing employees insight into how their actions contribute to company success. 
  • Set up a succession plan for outstanding employees. Employees who set challenging goals and consistently meet them may develop into top performers, not to mention, if they’re finding professional success, you’ll want to move them into positions where they can hone and share their craft. When you see these types of ambitious, successful team members, use your succession planning to solidify loyalty and increase the chances they’ll stick around to make waves in the future. 

Unless you want to spend time and money finding an elusive , highly skilled candidate (good luck), you need to adopt a plan to hire, train and develop talent that can grow with your company. Great employees aren’t always born, many times they’re made.  


Arcoro’s software solutions make hiring, managing and growing employees simple. Learning ManagementATS and Performance Management offer tools and processes that will help you attract, train and develop recent graduates.  

To learn more about tools that will help you with hiring and managing your workforce, read HRIS Guide: Choosing The Perfect HR Software.