Many from the matric class of 2015 are now entering the South African workforce. Their energy and enthusiasm, together with their recent history of learning, matriculates make appealing employees for South African businesses.
This is according to Kay Vittee, CEO of Kelly, who says: “Given that matriculants’ lack workplace experience, combined with their needs as millennials, companies hiring these new labour pool entrants need to ensure that they provide sufficient and specialised on-boarding. Effective on-boarding can help employees be productive faster. Plus, the more they understand the company’s culture, how to do their jobs and what’s expected of them, the more likely they are to stay with the company.”
She shares some suggestions for successfully on-boarding the latest crop of matriculates:
* Express your expectations: Ensure that you inform new employees about what is expected of them. While you may believe they should already know certain things – such as not wearing tatty jeans and a funky T-shirt to a client meeting – such assumptions can come back to haunt you. Take the time to outline issues such as appropriate dress, social media policies, appropriate behaviour, performance expectations and workplace attitude. You should also put these in writing to diminish any confusion.
* Pay attention to what they have to say: In the age of social media, millennials have become accustomed to making their voices heard. Ensure that you connect regularly with the new employee to provide them with opportunities to raise concerns, gain clarity and share ideas. You can do this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
* Make the transition from learner to employee easier with mentors: Up until now, matriculates have had teachers, coaches and tutors to guide them, telling them exactly what to do. Assigning mentors to new recruits as an information source allows them the opportunity to better navigate the work environment.
* Use appropriate information sharing channels: Millennials are not strangers to consuming video as a way of learning. Since video is something familiar, it will be a welcome tactic for efficiently providing information on company culture, internal hierarchy and any office how-tos. By condensing information in this way, it is more easily digested and the viewer will be more attentive and retain more. Plus, they can watch the video over and over to ensure they get a good grasp on the content.
* Put fun into acquiring the fundamentals: Millennials look for effective and interactive experiences that can motivate and engage them in their learning process. Gamification is an emerging discipline that allows learners to explore, learn and receive feedback on their performance immediately, in terms of scores or rewards. Why not offer game-based training to help new hires quickly attain knowledge?
* Socialising is essential: Millennials want to feel that they belong. They want to like their co-workers and get to know them as people. It is therefore important to provide opportunities which enable new and existing staff to become better acquainted through informal get-togethers. You could also look into setting up an internal social network to support networking. A tool like this can help newcomers build a relationship with their superiors and co-workers as well as become more comfortable working with the team.
* Evaluate progress and provide feedback: Give new hires immediate and regular feedback on what they need to work on and what they’ve done a good job on. Recognition for good work will give them a sense of accomplishment and make them feel appreciated.
“With the shortage of spaces available at tertiary education institutions, matriculates are a growing part of the workforce. When equipped with proper on-boarding to integrate them into your company’s culture and get them off on the right foot, these young workers can bring their creativity and assist in driving your company’s success,” Vittee says.