Will your new grads sink or swim?

Your graduate induction programme may well need to evolve in terms of supporting their professional interpersonal and communication skills.

In today’s hybrid work environment, the need for the ‘soft’ skills that enable us to interact and build relationships with others is more crucial than ever before.

This is glaringly apparent when we consider that most of our interactions are online – video calls, chat platforms, and email. Face-to-face encounters with colleagues, bosses, and clients/customers have become less frequent. This places an even greater emphasis on our ability to express ourselves in a way that achieves the desired impact. The way in which we communicate and interact with others is absolutely critical to our success in the modern workplace.

With the upcoming wave of new graduates about to enter the workforce, this potentially presents a very real and deep concern when it comes to these essential skills. This recent article from the Guardian explains why:

“Recent university graduates had years of their tuition affected by coronavirus lockdowns, which for long periods prevented face-to-face learning and socialising. The negative effects on students’ mental health at the time were well documented, and some researchers have expressed concerns that young people have been left with skills gaps.”

And so, now we are seeing the repercussions of this in the workplace. As a 2023 report published by McKinsey & Company has highlighted, 73% of employers surveyed faced difficulties due to new graduates’ inadequate soft skills. In the report it states that employers expressed concerns about the graduates’ ability to adapt to workplace culture, work effectively in teams, and communicate clearly and persuasively.

Due to this it is likely that the demand for communication and soft skills training is set to soar. The Guardian article also states;

“Two of the UK’s big four accounting firms are giving extra training to younger recruits after finding that those who spent large parts of their education remote working during Covid lockdowns struggled with communication and teamwork tasks. Deloitte and PwC said they were offering newer recruits training on skills that may have been neglected during the pandemic such as giving face-to-face presentations and participating in in-person meetings.”

Suffice to say, in a post-pandemic world, emotional intelligence (EQ) has never been more important and yet many organisations struggle with how to develop their team members (especially those new to the workplace) in an area that can sometimes feel abstract and nebulous.

Service Animals™ is perfectly placed to provide a highly effective, practical, and actionable skills boost to those entering (or re-entering) the workplace.

By focussing clearly and succinctly on how you come across to others and how to read the communication preferences of others, it enables those joining the workplace to build strong working relationships (with colleagues or clients/customers) right from the outset.

Specifically, Service Animals provides 3 important benefits to your graduate onboarding activities:

  1. Service Animals uses an incredibly memorable (we like to say ‘sticky’) framework which acts as a simple heuristic. Regardless of cultural or academic background, the Service Animals framework has been proven to resonate with everyone so it can be applied instantly. It is sophisticated in its depth but practical in its use.
  • The foundational building block for Service Animals is a 20-minute bespoke interactive video learning experience. This video is different for each single person who accesses it, so learning is entirely tailored to the individual. This video (which follows the completion of a short and simple questionnaire) can be completed any time anywhere so your potential new recruits can develop themselves prior to their first day on site. On completion of the video, they’ll then receive their individual report that recaps what they have discovered about their own communication style, as well as the guidance and tips on understanding (and adapting to) others.
  • Beyond the video, there are various self-directed or facilitated team learning interventions to further enhance team dynamics – enhancing collaboration and general workplace effectiveness. In other words, the learning keeps going.

By incorporating Service Animals in your organisation’s graduate onboarding programme, you can better equip graduates with the skills that’ll help them to successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of today’s workplace. And with investment levels starting at £20 per person, what’s not to love?

Visit us at serviceanimals.com to find out more.