Enabling Early Talent to Perform in a Modern Workplace

In our latest webinar with OnTrack International, we spoke with Matt McIntyre, Learning and Development Consultant, and Robert Alp, Development Partner, to look at how employers can prepare and empower their graduate and apprentice talent to excel in the modern, virtual workplace. As Vice-President for ISE, MyKindaFuture’s Strategic Lead for Talent, Simon Reichwald, was Key Note Speaker.

With the immediate impact of COVID, reports show over half of firms will now be inducting new hires remotely. 73% of firms report that they will increase the amount of learning and development delivered online. It is imperative for businesses to continue effectively pre-boarding to build engagement and prepare early talent in a virtual world, especially in such unprecedented times.

What’s needed during the pre- and on-boarding phases?

Through the wider Learning and Development journey, employers need to make sure they’re:

  • Nurturing incoming early talent
  • Reducing reneges
  • Minimising failed probation periods
  • Setting new talent up for success to deliver increased speed to value.

Preparing talent before they join

ISE’s annual recruitment survey found that successfully addressing Diversity and Inclusion continues to be the biggest challenge for employers over the last three years. Furthermore, they’re only spending 33% of their Levy, while graduate hires are down by 12% for the 2020 intake. Though apprentice hires are up 7%, 14% of graduates and 7% of apprentices decline or renege their offered role.

Employers can combat this with…

Work Experience 

  • Using internships and industrial placements as talent feeders — 40%+ convert to graduates
  • Growing schools-based work experience
  • The Kickstart Scheme – a six month work experience placement to develop talent and feed apprenticeships

Increase in pre-boarding to build engagement in a virtual world

  • Learning content
  • Digital buddies/mentors
  • Virtual chats
  • Forums/chatrooms

88% of employers agreed that students with work experience arrive to the workplace with better skills. We need to ensure our early talent gains the skills they need to not only survive, but also thrive in the workplace.

The Big Conversation: How do we prepare and engage our talent in a remote world?

The ISE survey presented powerful data to show the need and importance of developing emotional intelligence and resilience; 51% and 75% of employers said these were key skills and attributes, respectively. It’s crucial to build confidence within early talent to enable them to transition from education to work, and when real life ‘experience’ is hard to provide, employers have to evolve quickly to deliver this in a virtual world.

Communication and support are key. There’s a real need to do more and have regular check-ins through various means. Multiple touch points are essential, and take the form of:

  • Buddying up with peers
  • Active introductions to other areas of the business through networking opportunities
  • Virtual coffee chats
  • Having internal conversations — begin these earlier to get them used to this key skill they will need throughout their careers
  • Peer to peer support — get this set up as early as possible after an offer is made

Preparing and training leaders and managers to ensure they have the tools to support their new talent is crucial, too. Communication between managers and new starters needs to be regular and consistent.

How does our talent gain the business skills they need to survive and thrive in the workplace?

It starts with education. The more we do ahead of our early careers programmes, the more prepared young people will feel. Diversifying engagement practices through digital delivery will especially help underrepresented groups, and will help all young talent’s speed to value when joining employers.

Employers should be:

  • Setting expectations.
  • Giving real life examples or projects to support training.
  • Creating an effective soft skills training framework — with experts delivering soft skills training like time-keeping, communication, presentation skills.
  • Practicing reverse mentoring — this leads to more engagement and enlightened senior leaders.

Virtual training

Virtual onboarding and the use of gamification is essential for engaging and retaining young talent, especially in our era of remote working. Be sure to include wellbeing and mental health guidance and resources to support resilience. To build on pre-boarding communication, it’s useful to assign a mentor to provide additional support and guidance. If you need support with this, check out our online platform Connectr.

Make it immersive

Whatever we do and create for our early talent must be immersive, collaborative, and make them feel valued. To find out more about how OnTrack International are partnering with clients to support emerging and existing talent, please get in touch with Matt or Rob. If you’d like more information about our tech platform Connectr to build engagement or belonging, or for more insight into the ISE data, drop Simon an email.