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Guest Blog Post: 5 Ways to Improve your Grad Programs ROI

Posted by Belinda Luby

This week at GradConnection we have a special guest post from Development Beyond Learning's Managing Director and author of The Graduate Edge, Josh Mackenzie on how to improve your graduate programs return on investment. 

Josh Mackenzie

About Josh 

At the age of just 31, Josh Mackenzie is Managing Director of Development Beyond Learning and author of The Graduate Edge.

A young, dynamic and passionate leader, speaker, author and graduate development expert (and former professional services graduate!) Josh is widely considered as one of Australia's foremost thought leaders in Australia's graduate development industry across the public and private sectors.

Josh is a regular presenter for the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) Annual National Conference and provides monthly online advice and thought leadership to the leadership development industry. Josh's insight and experience is built upon more than a decade of leading, speaking, training and working directly with all generations of people aged 16 through 61, travelling to more than 25 countries and consulting to an A-list of public, private and multi-national clients. Read on for the invaluable information Josh has for you on how to improve your graduate programs ROI, and like them on facebook here! 

5 Ways to Improve Your Graduate Programs ROI

Our team has been all over the country recently delivering workshops for a range of our clients, from 1st year to 3rd year graduates. While it appears graduates' enthusiasm and motivation has not diminished amid current economic conditions, graduates have been adamant that the "simple things" within their graduate development programs have made a huge difference to their first 8 weeks.

So with that in mind, here are five simple steps that through personal experience I've found can help to build high performance and engagement levels in the short and long term. These steps can also go a long way towards impacting on your programs ROI.

1. Bring graduates together regularly

Graduate relationships can last a lifetime, add to the cross-business culture of your company and help form the foundations of long term engagement. In times of change, strong relationships in these groups can also help to retain and inspire graduates when times get tough.

2. Develop and engage leaders in the graduate program

How engaged are your leaders in building strong graduate relationships and what can you do to equip your leaders to do so? Receiving quality one-on-one feedback has made a huge difference to graduates this year and has been spoken about passionately. Leaders work with graduates every single day. The majority of graduates' development rests in the hands of people in leadership roles in the business.

3) Skill and knowledge development 

We all want to develop and become more as people. Graduates are continuously looking to you to help equip them to stand out from the crowd and succeed in an increasingly competitive market. As is consistent each year, in 2011 the AAGE reported that 79% of graduates ranked Training and Development as the single most important factor in deciding who to apply for. The proof is in the data. 

4. Introduce graduates to senior leaders 

New employees buy in to leaders before they buy in to organisations, so involving members of your organisation's senior management or executive team in any activity or event with new Graduates can go a long way to seriously building levels of engagement. Additionally, quite often the very success of a graduate program itself rests on the support of these senior leaders, so it's just as important for the leaders to be involved as well.

5. Talk about change openly and honestly

Graduates have appreciated knowing exactly where they stand, the company's plans and how they are faring against their competitors. The graduates who have had this exposure haven't been overly concerned or distracted by the current on-goings in the outside world when information has flowed openly and honestly. They do however realise they need new skills to deal with a new world and have high hopes their graduate development program will provide this. Will yours?

Do you have any more steps to add? Please add them in the comments section below if you do.

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