It’s the time of year when new grads begin their careers with enthusiasm, excitement and likely some trepidation. This is a great chance for managers to get new ideas and perspectives on processes and operations. Remember to seize this opportunity for yourself and your organization!
When new employees start, we tend to look at onboarding for the new employee experience and, of course, determine how best to get them indoctrinated into the organization and learn their new roles. But this is also an opportunity for us as managers to gain valuable insight from individuals who don’t have pre-conceived notions as to how things “should” work. And while I’m specifically talking about new graduates, here, it goes for any new employees.
We are creatures of habit and it’s easy to get set in our ways. Many times, this is efficient, productive, and helpful. But there are times when something we do can become outdated or ineffective without us realizing it. When I ask questions in an organization, a red flag for me is any time I get an explanation as to why things are done a certain way and the response is “I don’t know, that’s just how we’ve done it.” It may still be okay, but it’s worth relooking at the process.
New graduates have few habits that can get in the way of innovation, so we need to take advantage of that! Lack of experience does not equate to lack of understanding or, even more important, new insight which can open our eyes to possibilities.
We’re all busy and it can be easy to dismiss someone coming into the organization as not yet understanding how we work, but in doing that, we’re shutting ourselves off to one of the most exciting things new graduates and new employees offer—diversity in experience/outlook!
Make sure you build in time for your new graduates (and/or any new employee) to meet with managers who are there to listen to the new employee to hear their take on what they’re seeing/learning. And if you find yourself saying “We tried that and it didn’t work,” think about how long ago it was tried and if situations have changed to make it feasible to try again.
This is an exciting time for those starting out and we can and should make it an exciting time for us as managers, too. Take advantage of their enthusiasm and perspective!