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Supporting new graduates in the remote workforce

October 2020

Thomas Seymour, senior director at mthree, suggests how employers can support new graduate recruits in an era of remote onboarding and home working

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, young people have been one of the hardest hit demographics. According to the July Labour Force Survey, used by the ONS in its monthly labour market bulletin, one third of 18 to 24-year-old employees have lost jobs or been furloughed because of the consequences of the pandemic.[i]

This statistic is troubling for recent graduates who fit into this bracket, faced with the struggle of applying for jobs against those with more experience, who have themselves been furloughed or made redundant. Equally, for the graduates who are lucky enough to secure a job in this time, new ways of working, such as remote schedules, can make the prospect of starting work even tougher.

Companies should be doing everything they can to support the younger generation both in the process of job hunting and rolling out an effective remote onboarding strategy. Below are some top tips for ensuring businesses can keep their new young staff engaged, supported, and informed when welcoming them into their new roles in the coming months.

The task of ensuring employees feel comfortable, safe and supported is increasingly challenging.

Cater for remote onboarding

With the government now recommending employees to work from home wherever possible, the home office set up is likely to become a relatively permanent measure. These changes to advice means that, for businesses, it is increasingly important that remote onboarding strategies are in place, before face-to-face meetings and office openings potentially become reintroduced.

When new graduates join the business, virtually introducing them to their whole team will be a great way for them to be welcomed into the business. Ensuring there is a virtual alternative for any face-to-face or introductory meetings will ensure that each graduate is given a thorough welcome to the team, as well as providing them with a remote onboarding package such as an electronic document filled with everything they need to know.

Have an effective wellbeing policy

Wellbeing is currently a huge concern for HR teams across all businesses. The task of ensuring employees feel comfortable, safe and supported is increasingly challenging with the ongoing changes posed by the pandemic. For those that are new to the workforce entirely and faced with a strange, potentially lonely, new way of working, a focus on wellbeing will be paramount.

A range of options are available to HR teams such as offering weekly check-ins with new starters, encouraging current employees to take up further supporting roles as well as providing wellbeing training to employees so there is greater understanding for how to support colleagues.

Another effective way of improving wellbeing can be through offering recognition for employees who have worked particularly hard. This can take the form of a virtual award ceremony or an employee of the month style reward. Here at mthree, we host a quarterly MVP awards where our staff can acknowledge their colleagues and the winners receive cash vouchers for some of their favorite online and high street stores. This has been a great way for new graduates to feel welcomed, supported and acknowledged for their hard work when they have started their role in the business.

While the job hunt is extremely difficult for recent graduates who are competing in a highly saturated market, for those that do manage to secure a job, it is up to businesses and HR teams to ensure they are welcomed and supported effectively into their new role. Prioritising the implementation of remote onboarding strategies, introducing initiatives to monitor wellbeing and creating ways to acknowledge employees' work, will do wonders to support those new to the business and will be essential in addressing any concerns that graduates may have.

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