In ISE’s virtual roundtable, early careers recruiters shared their best practice for a new graduate onboarding approach.
The pandemic changed the workplace landscape as we knew it. Face-to-face interaction was largely replaced with video screens. Our lives became virtual, both at home and professionally.
At this virtual coffee morning, leading early careers recruiters in the built environment, came together to discuss what the future looks like for their next phase of onboarding and development for early years individuals.
Julie Broad global early careers specialist, Met Office.
“In this new world of work, we have changed the way we deliver onboarding to our early years individuals. From September we will maintain a blended (hybrid) approach, virtual and in person.
“It’s important to create connections and that ‘cohort’ feeling. So, we will be creating a freshers’ week environment as it works well. For week one, we are office-based for meet and greets where our early years individuals can truly embrace the company and the culture.
“However, we are mindful of the cost-of-living crisis as well as our carbon footprint. Whilst it’s important to try to get our new joins together, it’s equally important that they don’t feel pressurised into lots of travel and we will be moving towards smarter types of virtual training and interactive teaching.
“We have a key welcome session with our senior team. Covid is still present, especially among young people, so again this will be a hybrid approach and then a monthly hybrid meet up.
“We have all had to adapt to a new way of working. Flexibility around contact is key. We arrange regular social events, coffee mornings, lunches, drinks, Again there is no pressure to attend.
“Microsoft Teams has been invaluable. Being able to record training sessions for new starters adds to the hybrid flexibility. Especially when many will be in the process of relocating and face-to-face may be difficult.
“As recruiters we need to consider all elements. Line managers need to have support. It’s all about making the best use of peoples’ time.
“The pandemic obviously impacted on face-to-face working and as such we have adapted our development and support offering.
“Some of our early talent might need help with overall presentation skills and in different types of styles, such as presenting virtually.
“Socialising, striking conversations and a back-to-basics approach works well.”
An early careers talent partner at a global construction specialist adds.
“We have moved back to our pre-pandemic approach. Our industry placements are very much site-based and face-to-face training is crucial.
“However we absolutely respect our team leaders’ discretion when it comes to health and safety.
“Candidates have reacted well to our virtual assessment centres, however any technical training we find is better delivered in person.
“We have our apprentice programme and then candidates move into our year two graduate programme. We’ve aimed to create a broader early year’s community. It helps networking, and given our industry is based largely onsite this really helps with interaction.
“I think it’s important that the offering works for the business and for the graduates. We aim to factor salary increases in to allow for the current cost-of-living and any future increases. There is no one size fits all however.”
Katie Pinder, emerging talent lead at Mace, a global construction consultancy.
“As a business there is no better way to inspire new talent than by showing them the company’s assets. Not only can they see our historic projects and learn about our buildings, but they can also network and meet stakeholders across the organisation at all levels.
“In the past this would have been delivered separately over a number of days. However post-pandemic we have accepted a new global working culture and introduced an agile working policy.
“Our new approach is more informal. At the same time, we need to ensure people thrive.
“We have blended the way we offer our training from face-to-face and in person. We’ve also considered delivering this more regionally to take the pressure off people needing to travel.”
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