September is starting, and that means, among other things, one thing – fresh university graduates are starting to look for offers on the job market, who will probably become new blood for your company in just a few weeks.
For recruiting, this often means bittersweet news. They must prepare for a phase of waiting to fill the personnel holes and strengthen the teams with much-needed junior positions. And a phase of disappointment, during which they will – just like every year – miss each other in a lot of things with the graduates.
Today’s graduate is probably a zetkar. Expect to
What is good to keep in mind this year? First of all – this year’s graduates will most likely be from the years 1998-2001. That is, “stitchers like embroiderers”. In addition, they will be entering work with a rather fundamental handicap – two years of their lives were cut off by the coronavirus crisis, the effects of which are not only being fought by Czechs – and now the focus is primarily on the social sphere. On the one hand, remote work, digital communication and hybrid working mode are the norm for them, on the other hand, they may lack very basic communication and social skills. They may struggle with discipline, resulting in poor work organization, low efficiency, and pervasive frustration.
This is demonstrated, for example, by research by the Mary Christie Institute, according to which the current generation of graduates is not at all prepared for a “nine to five” job. Primarily due to anxiety and depression, which 53% of the thousand undergraduate students had to deal with. But what is more important – 39% of them blamed the school for failing to adequately prepare them for social life and responsibilities.
Why is this important to mention? Because it is likely that Czech graduates will feel the same way and will expect the employer – as an authority – to participate in solving even such personal problems.
That’s why we’ve prepared a simple guide for your new colleagues – recent graduates – that will help them navigate situations that may seem banal to you, as “freshmen”. And you can customize it and provide it, for example, as part of a pre-boarding onboarding package.
1) I don’t know how the first days will go, I’m terrified
It looks different in every company. There’s no point in stressing. An HR employee or a sparring partner – i.e. one of your colleagues – will guide you through the beginning. They should simply explain to you what is expected of you and how the onboarding process will take place. Basically, one thing is wanted from you – don’t pretend you understand everything, if you don’t. On the contrary, ask if something is not clear to you. And also arm yourself with patience, sometimes it happens that some things do not go as quickly as both parties would like. If you get the impression that onboarding is not “paying off”, for example, you are waiting a long time for the technique or the establishment of approaches, do not be afraid and draw attention to it.
2) I got on, but I feel like I’m like a fence post
In a company with a built-in corporate culture, this is unlikely to happen to you. And if you do, it’s wrong and it’s not your fault. In that case, it’s likely that one of these scenarios has occurred: Either you’ve had a misunderstanding with your onboarding colleagues, and they’re under the impression that you know exactly what’s wanted of you. In that case, contact them saying that you probably missed the deal. It’s natural and it can happen.
The second option is that the onboarding is “stuck” in one of the technical phases – perhaps you are waiting for technology or approaches. In that case, clearly ask for the date when everything should be done, and if it is not, sound the alarm.
Hypothetically, it could happen that they didn’t assign you an onboarding partner, but that’s a gross mistake that you shouldn’t have to deal with. Therefore, ask the person you spoke with last time – most often it will be someone from HR – about the next steps.
And how long is it “normal” to be blind? When we consider that in principle it is not normal, you can forgive one slightly confused day. If there is no change the next day, try to solve the situation according to the instructions above.
3) Colleagues are not enthusiastic about me and only have fun with me out of necessity
Your supervisor or personnel officer will introduce you to your closest colleagues. If no one did and they just “threw you in the water”, it can mean two things. Either this is a targeted – albeit insensitive – strategy of the company, or it simply has not mastered this part, and that says something about it.
Don’t blame your colleagues for not socializing right away – they may have a lot of work, they need some time just like you to get used to you as a new colleague. You can establish contacts in the simplest possible way – try small talk in the kitchen, when you go to make tea or coffee, ask if someone wants to too. You can also try to bring some goodies from the pastry shop around the corner, most people will cover that.
Take the fact that you yourself can’t remember other people’s names with a grain of salt. No one is perfect, it will get better in a few days. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with the onboarding manager, he can help change the situation based on this – for example, by better describing your role to the team and speeding up introductions at an informal event, for example.
4) I didn’t fit into the team, and I don’t have anything to say to my colleagues either
If you have only been with the company for a few days, it is too early to make assumptions of this type. Wait until the first major team building and for your colleagues to open up to you a little. But if you have the same feeling at the end of the trial, then it may be the overall setting of the company culture, which is simply different from what you are used to.
In this case, make an appointment with the HR or your senior manager and discuss everything with him even before you decide to leave, for example. However, if your conversations are going nowhere, then it’s time to admit that you’re not in the right place. Start looking for a new opportunity. In the long run, such a state will not bring you anything good at all.
5) We have pricks, the time spent on work is monitored and I have to report where I am going
Monitoring time – not only arrivals and departures, but also the time spent on a task – does not need to be taken as dictation and snooping. It is very important data for the company, with which it continues to work, and if it knows how to handle it, on the contrary, it will use it to your advantage. In some types of workplaces, it may also happen that movement registration is required, especially from a security point of view and the nature of the space. Also, don’t forget that the company has an information and reporting obligation towards the state.
On the other hand, every company should have mechanisms to avoid unnecessary administration. The same applies here – ask and warn. For example, if the agreement was that you can go to work in a more relaxed mode and the main focus is on getting the job done, but you are afraid of what the turnstile will say about you, then just make sure that both parties understand that correctly.
6) Everyone expects me to know and be able to do everything after the initial onboarding, but I’m fluent in the basics
Whether you’re missing whatever skill you should have picked up during onboarding, or you can’t do the advanced computer and software work you were tempted to do in the interview, it’s not just about admitting it to yourself. You shouldn’t be vague in your CV and in an interview, but if it happened, discuss it with your senior manager or HR. Your company can offer a number of courses that will relieve your fear and help you catch up on shortcomings.
It is normal not to be able to do all things and control 100% all the programs that the company uses. Often it only takes a few weeks of practice and you will soon be more confident. If your shortcomings in working with software are greater, you can catch up on basic technological literacy after work or on weekends by self-study, all you have to do is want to.
7) Superiors and colleagues feel that I have to know everything from the beginning, they are unreasonably strict
Unfortunately, this is a matter of setting the company culture. In a healthy company, you won’t encounter this approach much, although some pressure may be part of the company’s strategy. However, it should never turn into criticism or a feeling of inadequacy.
Of course, it can happen that your management has exaggerated expectations, but then it is necessary to quickly open the question of whether you are really the right fit for the given position – a junior person with limited experience and therefore competences.
At the same time, it is possible that you and your colleagues are human and what you perceive as criticism, they think completely differently. Ask the HR department for possible simple mediation – often the problem can only be in intergenerational communication.
8) I can’t find my way to clients and customers, they criticize my mistakes
Such a situation can happen, but again, it is not your fault. In the first stages, you should only get a job for which your competences are sufficient. If the manager does not do it directly for you, do not be afraid to indicate to the client or customer that you are still in training. This is because you will reset his expectations and prevent most unpleasant comments. Of course, don’t be afraid to mention to your manager that you are uncomfortable with such a situation, and feel free to come up with a proposal on how to solve it yourself – for example, so that clients or customers will be better informed for some time that you are just starting out.
9) The assigned work cannot be completed. Deadlines are very short
Fix an important rule. If you nod to the deadline, you assume responsibility for the implementation of the work in the given time. As soon as you find that you are not keeping up, let them know and analyze together with your senior manager what the problem is.
The main mistake can be in making high demands too quickly. And it’s also possible that you don’t yet know the precision with which you have to complete the tasks – if you have an hour to complete the assignment, but you feel like you need a day, try to go through the task step by step and find out where your time allocation is unnecessarily inflated.
But at the same time, make sure that you yourself manage to plan your time and priorities sensibly. It certainly won’t work without it. Definitely don’t try to procrastinate, because you’re only delaying the problem, not solving it. Learn that procrastination is more like your brain calling for help – you don’t enjoy work, you don’t know how to start, or your goals seem unrealistic from the start. So address these things rather.
10) Salary and benefits are different than I imagined
One thing is the idea, another thing is what you agreed on when you started. If the company does not fulfill your impression of what you expected in terms of salary and benefits, then the dissatisfaction is more likely to come from you. Likewise, if you have agreed to the terms, but you already know in advance that you are not satisfied and the frustration is clearly felt.
The situation is different when the company does not fulfill the promises you agreed on. Have the HR department confirm in black and white how your salary will develop after the trial period and what benefits you are entitled to. If they are conditional on something, have those parameters clearly defined as well. In this way, you avoid the disappointment that the thirteenth salary and five weeks of vacation are not yet paid for you and that you will take the same money in the fourth month because your team did not meet the set KPIs.
Where there is no man, there can be an application
Do you know yourself that your onboarding is not perfect and that it will not be easier in the future? Think about whether you are really only spending your precious time where it makes sense. For a number of steps, it is possible to rely on an assistant in the form of an HRIS system and conduct complete onboarding through it. It will not happen to a new colleague that he does not know what to do, he will always have all the information with him. And you won’t be reinventing the wheel.