Saturday, August 20, 2022

The role of employers in the education-employee gap

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Allie Danziger is the CEO and co-founder of Ampersand.

As the economy tightens and both employers and job seekers adjust to the new normal of the pandemic, companies must prioritize evaluating the skills of entry-level workers and investing in skill building where necessary. The employer’s role in bridging the gap between education and employment is more important now than ever before.

There is no room for error or time for a risky hire. According to Careerpass networkIn the 2022 survey (registration required), nearly half of recent graduates actively seeking employment lack the skills and confidence to apply. Gone are the days of learning business etiquette and gaining work experience the old-fashioned way. Employers need to step up their approach to recruiting, onboarding, skills building and mentoring.

Here are tips to ensure a better hiring experience, leading to a productive and successful workplace for managers and new hires.

1. Recruiting based on coachability and professionalism over diploma/experience.

Turnover costs a lot. Invest in your hiring and recruiting process from the beginning, looking for the skills that make sense for your organization. Keep in mind that these are entry-level workers without much experience, so it’s critical that skills and culture match rather than hard skills. Here are a few scenarios to consider including in your interviews.

• To find someone who is coachable, ask, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake and had to tell someone about it. What steps have you taken?” Hear if they were honest and took ownership, how they solved it and how they recovered after that.

• To find candidates driven to succeed, ask, “Tell me about a time when you didn’t have a clear direction for a project and how you approached it.” Have they taken the initiative? Did they make the plan? They asked questions and got. This gives you an idea of ​​how resourceful they are.

• If you’re looking for someone who is organized, ask: “Discuss a time when you were managing multiple projects, tasks, or deadlines and then something appeared out of nowhere to surprise you.” Listen to how they handled themselves and note how they prioritized.

2. Increase your onboarding process.

Equip your managers with the best resources to successfully train and onboard new hires. Schedule tasks and projects before their start date and create evergreen how-to videos and guides with key onboarding logistics that anyone can consult on their own without assistance. Here are some basic onboarding essentials.

• Department phone book. Highlight numbers to call if a new hire encounters obstacles such as technical support, who to contact if they are running late or need printer codes, etc.

• Dress code. This is especially important as people transition from athleisure to office wear.

• Organization charts. Provide new hires with chain of command protocol charts appropriate to their role. Add extras like headshots and fun facts to help them get to know the team.

3. Understand their passions, talents and long-term goals and motivate them accordingly.

This generation seeks purposeful work, work-life balance, paid leisure, flexible schedules, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and impact. Take the time to explain how their day-to-day activities contribute to the larger mission of the organization and, ultimately, their world.

4. Follow best practices for managing Gen-Z employees.

Set up a clear work schedule. Set daily routines with work location. Most workplaces today offer flexible office hours, hybrid work or full remote work, but many are vague in communicating expectations. It is important to establish the standards for when your employees are expected to be available for phone calls, in-person meetings at the office, or other ad hoc project assignments.

• Communicate deadlines clearly. Provide a clear goal of what is expected by that deadline and explain why the deadline is needed. Once they understand Why timeline is important to the outcome, they will be more responsible.

Plan to check in on 30/60/90 days. Have the new hire write down their expectations for their first 30, 60, and 90 days. Part your expectations together so you can both see where expectations are aligned (or not) and plan accordingly.

5. Take the time to learn the basics of the office.

The hope is that by the time a young professional graduates, they should know effective communication skills and responsibility. However, many recent graduates completed their final semesters online in virtual classrooms and never had the chance to experience public speaking, personal team collaboration, job interviews, or even a traditional graduation ceremony.

While these communication skills will develop naturally over time, I recommend that managers accelerate and support these essential soft skills through coaching. Ask your HR department or hire a professional coach. You might recommend a leadership book or a movie or TV show. It might be helpful if you both go to the the same show or read the same book, because you can use it as a language or platform to discuss what they do well (or less well). Use character examples by referencing scenes and episodes that support an exemplary communication style – or show a poor communication method – and explain the character’s successes or mistakes.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to provide coaching is to share your own personal experiences and challenges. I will usually bring up a time when I struggled with direction, missed a deadline, made a mistake, or experienced impostor syndrome and discuss how I overcame that and improved. By coaching entry-level new hires with supportive mentoring and basic skills training, I found that new hires were more confident, loyal and driven to succeed in their tenure.

Companies that are thoughtful and efficient in their onboarding process for new hires, and that invest in developing key soft skills, will see more engaged employees, better results and better retention as teams feel supported in their workforce growth. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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