How to build a company culture that attracts graduate talent

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If you’re recruiting graduates or searching for new ways to attract junior talent, fostering a great company culture should be a process you are prioritising.

Employee morale and job satisfaction are of vital importance to today's graduates. Developing a corresponding business ethos is a sure-fire way to engage top graduate talent.

If you’re unclear on how to build business values that are attractive to graduates, we’ve put together a simple guide on corporate ethos to help you create an enticing company culture

Mentoring scheme

Building an employee-to-employee system of support is one of the most direct ways via which an ethos of care, highly sought after by recent graduates, can be developed.

A workplace mentoring scheme involves the partnering of an experienced member of staff with a new employee. For instance, a newly hired graduate may be paired with a senior employee who originally joined the company as a graduate themselves. 

The specificities of the mentor role will depend on the wider goals of the programme. Whilst the mentor may act as a source of formal training for some companies, other businesses may view a mentor’s duties only in terms of informal support.

However, the overarching theme of any mentoring scheme should be a partnership that provides new hires with guidance and encouragement to help them properly settle into the company.

In doing so, the mentoring scheme will help to foster a welcoming company culture of open communication, which prioritises the development of positive relationships between colleagues. 

Mentoring schemes provide graduates with solid evidence that there are systems of support in place at your company. 

Career development

Mentoring schemes are incredibly useful for onboarding new hires, but it is equally important to ensure that there exists a wider culture of support and development for all employees.

Holding regular end-of-month or quarterly reviews is useful for the development of team members and senior management. 

Reviews are a great opportunity to discuss performance, goals and wider ambitions. It’s also a great chance for both parties to gain feedback on areas for improvement and identify further training requirements. 

It is important to follow-up reviews with action. Putting employees forward for training programmes, workshops and online courses is a productive response to identified areas of weakness. 

Putting aside some budget for staff to gain further qualifications is also a great way to evidence that you are taking their wider development seriously.

It’s also worthwhile collating these efforts into a more formal progression plan. Providing employees with a solid outline of their career pathway is important in terms of setting expectations and building ambition. 

By providing employees with access to a framework of requirements for promotional opportunities, your company can foster an aspirational working culture.

Contrary to popular belief, the best graduates are looking for opportunities to advance their skill set over high salaries, so developing a culture that prioritises professional development is key to attracting top talent.

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Employee wellbeing

Whilst fostering ambition is important, it is of equal importance to ensure that work/life balance is prioritised. This can be achieved through various means:

Offering flexible working

Flexi-work and remote working options enable employees to work efficiently around their personal circumstances, easing stress and in turn increasing productivity.

Relatedly, it is important to encourage employees to adopt an ‘out of office, out of mind’ mentality and make proper use of their annual leave (check out our annual leave calculator for help with this).

Demonstrating support

Simple acts like offering to make your colleague a cup of tea or buying them a snack when picking one up for yourself demonstrates an ethos of care and consideration.

Holding casual conversations with your colleagues about how they are feeling personally, and professionally, is also an easy way of demonstrating that they are valued beyond the immediate responsibilities of their role.

Providing points of contact

Including wellbeing check-ins as part of monthly or quarterly reviews provides the space for employees to formally raise issues with their manager or team lead. Having a qualified mental health first aider on the team is also beneficial, providing employees with an alternative point of contact, should they not feel comfortable raising issues with senior management.

These are just a few examples of ways your company can incorporate holistic wellbeing practices to boost employee morale and recruit graduates who are increasingly prioritising work/life balance alongside career development.

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Work perks

Employee wellbeing and work perks go hand-in-hand. Having a standard set of work benefits on offer is a clear way of indicating to graduates that your company values its employees and their hard work.

Whether it be an early finish on a Friday, free office fruit, an 'Employee of the Month' award, birthday day off, or a subsidised gym membership, all job benefits work to signify an appreciation for the staff at your company.

Company-wide perks are also great for relationship building and boosting morale. Holding regular work socials will enable familiarity amongst your employees on a more casual basis, allowing them to foster friendships with their teammates. 

Whether it be at pre-organised social events such as team crazy golf, or at spontaneous after-work drinks, team bonding is sure to create an open and comfortable office environment that will be crucial in creating a positive company culture.

Providing extra rewards for good performance is also worthwhile. This may look like treating teams to away days or celebratory dinners if they successfully meet their quarterly or yearly targets. 

On a more individual level, this may look like providing an additional day off for winning ‘employee of the month’ and/or regular promotional opportunities. 

Recognising employee contributions will foster an ethos of appreciation that will both incentivise current staff and entice potential graduate hires.

Whether you are looking for support with cultivating your company culture or need to recruit top talent quickly, get in touch with the Give a Grad a Go team for award-winning recruitment services and business resources.