8 Things That Motivate Recent Grads to Excel

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As recent graduates enter the job market, this time of year is an exciting one for companies around the globe. Graduates are cost-effective, eager to prove themselves, and generally easier to manage  — but recruiting and retaining these talented young candidates is far from a walk in the park.

Now that job hopping has become increasingly common, companies will have to go the extra mile to keep graduate hires on board for the long haul. Furthermore, these is a great deal of competition when it comes to recruiting the best of this year’s graduating class, given that talent holds the reins in today’s job market.

In order to attract, retain, and motivate this year’s graduates, you need to know what inspires them to perform at their best. Here are eight motivating factors to consider:

1. Relationships With Superiors

Anyone with experience in HR knows the importance of managers when it comes to employee engagement. Employees want to be coached, and they want to develop trusting, honest relationships with their superiors. For this reason, many companies have been ditching annual appraisals in favor of regular performance discussions.

To get the most out of new graduate hires, managers should meet with them regularly, support them, and encourage them. This will help ease the often difficult transition from school to the workplace.

2. Praise and Recognition

Employee recognition isn’t simply a nice thing to do — it’s a critical performance management tool that can boost productivity.

Today’s graduates don’t just work for the paycheck. They want to feel appreciated. They want to know their efforts matter. Incorporating a “Good job!” or two into your day requires little effort but can really put a pep in graduates’ steps and encourage high performance.

Remember: Employees who feel unappreciated will eventually leave.

3. Flexibility and Autonomy

Flexible work is no fad; it is a lasting change to the nature of work, and it brings out the best in all employees.

Graduates don’t want micromanagement; they want to know that you trust them to do their jobs. To build this trust, help new hires establish SMART objectives. Then, give employees the freedom to decide how to achieve these objectives. You should always be ready to offer guidance, but remember not to infringe on employees’ autonomy.

GraduatesYou may also want to offer telecommuting options, considering how happy and productive remote workers are.

4. A Clear Purpose

These days, young people value purpose over pay. They want work that matters. For this reason, it is important to give your graduates some organizational context for their work.

Show graduate hires how their work influences the people around them and ultimately furthers the company’s goals. For this to happen, managers need to be open and honest about the company’s direction while collaborating with employees on clear, aligned SMART objectives that motivate them to succeed.

5. Opportunities for Advancement

Graduates are ambitious. If you really want to keep young hires motivated, you need to talk to them about advancement. Discuss when they might be eligible for a promotion and what steps they’ll need to take before this can happen. If you keep offering empty promises to graduates who have been in the same positions for years, they’ll quickly grow disillusioned with your organization.

6. Training and Development

Increasingly, young people look at their careers as learning opportunities. In fact, 77 percent of recent graduates  expect their employers to provide training in their first jobs.

This is good news: New graduates want to grow and develop. Businesses should be encouraging this! Who wouldn’t want their employees to grow more confident and more skilled? Furthermore, training and development will boost morale and demonstrate to your graduates that you are invested in their futures.

7. Employee Experience and Organizational Culture

According to Accenture, 59 percent of graduates would rather work for a company with a positive atmosphere than for a company that offers higher salaries. Employees’ social experiences at work can have a huge impact on engagement and performance levels. Investing a little in the employee experience will ensure you not only inspire great performance, but also retain employees for longer.

8. Modern Technology

Companies that embrace technology experience less turnover and retain top talent for longer. Today’s graduates don’t want to rely on outmoded systems for working or communicating. They feel more comfortable in environments that embrace new technologies readily.

Team collaboration software can help employees stay in touch with each other throughout the day, and performance management software can provide a host of benefits. These are tools employers should consider investing in.

On the other hand, old, clunky technology can lead to low performance and frustration.

The most important thing for managers to remember is that graduates are driven and determined to do a good job. They want to be a part of your team, and they want to excel. It’s all about giving them the tools and support they need to realize their potential.

Stuart Hearn is CEO and founder of Clear Review.

By Stuart Hearn