Ambition isn’t the only quality that a new grad brings with them on their first day, but that desire is often what will get them through those initial few testing months. They are starting out on a successful career, with no intention of failing.
Such an attitude can be a little intense for those around them, and in their enthusiasm to make a difference can sometimes overstep the boundaries of their place in the organisation. Some clients are nervous about taking on grads for this very reason – they fear that their ambition will destabilise teams and unsettle harmonious relationships.
Does this happen? Well, yes.
Is it a problem? Not necessarily.
When the people ecosystem within the team is well-balanced, any disruption might be seen as a hindrance. However, as with any stagnant pond, stirring things up every now and again is not always a bad thing. When our behaviour is challenged, we tend to be that little bit more introspective.
The raw enthusiasm of a new grad can often cause an established team to look at the way it functions. Certain things won’t be broken and won’t need fixing (so the grad needs to judge when to keep their mouth shut), but there will be more aspects than you think which could do with a slightly different approach. The famed millennial generation are digital natives, and many of these “new ways” are somehow bound to the use of technology.
If managed correctly, rocking the boat can take a team to the next level.
The difference lies in how this ambition is channelled. If the graduate is only put for themselves at the expense of others, then this disruption will almost certainly be harmful to the people around them. If, however, they have the needs of the team at the front of their mind, then any number of their ideas could prove to be the missing link to help everyone work that little bit better. Ambition doesn’t have to be about the self, it can also be channelled towards the needs of the collective.
You can tell a lot about the approach of a grad when you chat to them at interview. The classic first person / third person speech clues still ring true. If they are talking about themselves a lot, they probably think about themselves a lot. If they talk about how they have made an impact on those around them, they will be more likely to be team players. We employ thousands of students in the hospitality industry, then place them into their first roles, so we know the importance of team players.
It is natural that certain grads will join a business and start a meteoric rise. That is why you hire them in the first place. However, in the best-case scenarios they will also take any number of their colleagues along for the ride, helping them to raise their game to heights that they would not have reached without the grad pushing them further.
Hiring a few grads every year is a great strategy for a growing business.
What impact did your last few grads make?