5 Ways to Support Recent Grads in the Workforce

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5 Ways to Support Recent Grads in the Workforce

Over 4 million college graduates are seated to enter the workforce in the next few months. Many of these graduates are first-time employees, first-time taxpayers, or first-time company shareholders. As they enter our organizations and teams, they will undoubtedly have questions about the professional world and all it offers. Amongst this bewilderment is the critical topic of compensation and benefits. As these new graduates enter the workforce, talent leaders, human resources personnel, and managers alike are tasked with helping their new employees understand their full-time offers and compensation.

To help you be the best companion to your new grad or intern, consider these five strategies as you onboard your recent college grad to your team:

1. Talk through compensation from the get-go

Conversations about compensation are no longer a “nice-to-have.” Set time aside to discuss non-monetary and monetary benefits with new hires, opening up space to have a dialogue and answer questions. While most companies would agree that salary transparency and openness are essential, this is the time to demonstrate that commitment.

To get your new hires prepared for the conversation, here are some articles you can send them in advance:

2. Connect with HR early in the process

All parts of employee onboarding should integrate HR teams. Increasingly, the value of organization-wide connection is being emphasized - with more significant contact being linked to lower employee turnover, higher morale, increases in productivity, and happier employees, according to Inc. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to suggest that new hires connect to HR personnel - consider facilitating the introduction! It also helps to share some questions folks ask HR so they know to reach out in the future. Here are a few examples:

  • Who makes decisions about raises and pay structure? (Manager’s discretion, fixed budget, formula based on past performance evaluations)
  • Do we do market adjustments to give people raises if the industry salary for this job increases?
  • How do bonuses work exactly? (Company performance, individual performance, level, targeted to be a percentage of salary)

3. Encourage new hires to do their own research

The world of compensation and benefits is complicated, to say the least. Often recent grads don’t know what questions to ask because they don’t have the correct information at their disposal. Support your employees by suggesting topics and resources to help them get their footing in these areas. Some ideas: Early exercise, vesting timeline, outstanding shares, 409A valuation, 401K matching, Employee Stock Purchase Program (ESPP), Paid Time Off (PTO), or Vacation Policy. Here is some content we would recommend as you break down these topics:

4. Build plans and goals together

Sitting down with employees to discuss financial planning and benchmarks is critical with new graduates who may be receiving a full-time paycheck for the first time. Keep in mind that this might be the first time many of the individuals are considering things like their retirement, health insurance, life insurance, and other near-monetary benefits. If your company offers financial planning assistance, loop in greater support with these conversations! As a part of this conversation, it’s important to also build goals for future career progression and tie them back to compensation as best as possible. Here are some trackers that can help you get set up:

5. Have a consistent and recurring time to walk through key decisions

The process of “closing a candidate” doesn’t end with a signed offer letter. Consider ways to continue integrating new employees into your organization. By setting up recurring check-ins (monthly, quarterly) you can stay in the loop with your co-workers. A few topics to consider in later-stage check-ins:

  • Growth, personal development and career progression
  • Alignment between expectations and reality of new role
  • Analysis of both team culture and greater organization

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