Don’t Knock the Dreams Out of Your Grads

There is something incredibly powerful and even contagious about being around people who believe in the impossible.

The excitement of a graduate receiving their business card for the first time can’t help but take you back to that unique feeling. You had a business card with your name on it, your first step on the road to career success. You had a license to make a difference, and nothing was going to stop you.

Of course, with experience, we realise that there is plenty out there that is going to stop us, but the boundless energy and belief of a grad with their whole career ahead of them makes us think “well, if they think that they can do it, what made us decide that we can’t?”

Grads may lack experience in all sorts of areas, but generally they won’t lack a desire to learn and do the best that they can with what they have at their disposal. When you work in close proximity with a graduate, you can’t help but be swept up with their enthusiasm, and their innovative and fresh ways of thinking can provide solutions to the most stubborn of solutions, or at least stimulate others around them to do so.

It puzzles me therefore when I talk to recent starters in various businesses only to hear that their ideas are not welcomed, and they are told to listen and learn rather than get involved and contribute…. A grad who is muzzled quickly turns into just another corporate clone. You are hiring people for their talent and fresh thinking – why wouldn’t you give them the opportunity to suggest some “stupid” stuff? You never know, one of the seemingly stupid ideas might form the cornerstone of your business in a few years’ time? Dreamers think about a future that is not here yet – their ideas may currently seem a little far-fetched, but in a few years, they might be what keeps you in business.

Knocking the dreams out of your grads means knocking the future out of your business.

There have been many studies pointing to the fact that diversity is one of the driving forces of business. Diversity of backgrounds leads to diversity of ideas, and the acceptance of these diverse ideas is what gives an organisation the oxygen that it needs to grow and move forward. A business without ambitious grads is a business that is that little bit less diverse.

On this note, there has been an interesting development over the past few years. We have been increasingly approached by innovative smaller businesses who want to bring a graduate or two into their team, and value the bespoke recruitment approach rather than the spray and pray advertising method. When a grad is one of, say, a hundred employees rather than one of thousands, they can make even more of a splash with their fresh ideas, and if we are able to find the right people, this can make a surprisingly large impact.

Grads and dreams come as a package. Welcome both with open arms!