10x in the Press

How employers can support graduate wellbeing

9th July 2019


Ensuring the wellbeing of new graduate recruits should be a priority for all businesses, writes Nick Shaw, Chief Executive of 10x Psychology

The graduate labour market is an important area for business and needs just as much — if not more — attention than other parts of the recruitment landscape. It may seem obvious, but graduates that are well prepared, on-boarded effectively, and have their wellbeing carefully accounted for, will be more successful than those that don’t.

With graduates laying the foundation of the future workforce, it’s vital to make sure employers help them to get the best start.

Why graduate wellbeing is important

Workplace wellbeing is a commonly overlooked aspect of graduate engagement. Although these employees will share many of the same needs as a company’s wider staff pool, such as the need for regular catchups, opportunities to de-stress and constructive feedback on their performance in role, there are also other areas where graduates will need additional support.

According to Gallup, nearly two-thirds of millennials said that work-life balance and wellbeing in a job was very important to them — which makes sense. After all, making the transition from student living to working life can be challenging. Not only is there a whole new lifestyle to adapt to, but there are also broader issues to consider (like career development and financial security) which can put a strain on mental wellbeing.

Let’s also not forget the pressure of competition between candidates as well. With the number of graduates rising steadily over the past decade, far more applicants are in the job market than ever before. As a result, it’s no surprise that candidates will be measuring themselves against their peers.

“Giving candidates the encouragement to grow, with the reassurance that mistakes happen, is always the best method to follow”

Getting the wellbeing process right

With this in mind, a business needs to have a range of robust initiatives in place to combat these stressors and support graduate wellbeing. Employers should ensure they provide healthy environments, good training and proper support as early as possible to help graduates make the most of such a crucial time in their personal and professional development.

Giving candidates the encouragement to grow, with the reassurance that mistakes happen, and the business is there to help, is always the best method to follow. Avoiding the outdated ‘sink or swim’ approach is also vital to make sure graduates have the best start in the business and are less affected by these additional pressures.

This is where the induction process is so important. Companies that have good onboarding practices will ensure that any new joiner — graduate or otherwise — has the right tools to do the job well. Outlining the general procedures of the business and emphasising the support channels available from day one can make all the difference in how the candidate feels about their role.

“Graduate wellbeing is an area that all businesses should be looking to get right.”

 ‘One size fits all’ won’t work

However, even if candidates have a similar starting point, it doesn’t mean they require the same approach. It’s here the business needs deeper insights into its people to ensure the initiatives, coaching and communication style match the unique mindset and approach of each individual.

The recruitment process has a big part to play here. While some businesses want a graduate that can hit the ground running and take on a lot of responsibility from day one, others may be looking for a candidate that is willing to invest time in honing their skills over an extended period of time.

By effectively using data driven insights, leaders will be able to better understand each candidate, including their individual mindset, motivators and pressure points. This will ensure that the business can better assess how employees will fit into the role, as well as the style of working that needs to be established to give them the best chances of success.

Graduate wellbeing is an area that all businesses should be looking to get right and, while this can factor into a wider wellness strategy, there are certain nuances to consider. A deeper understanding of each employee, combined with effective initiatives that begin right at the onboarding stage will ensure that any graduates employed by the company will settle in quickly, perform well and help the business to thrive.

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