When choosing your ideal graduate role you’re probably likely to be looking for a number of factors including a healthy salary, attractive offices and a good workplace culture. No one can deny that they’re all important things to identify, however one area that’s often overlooked is finding an employer that offers an effective training and development programme. But why is this so important?
Reports have suggested that more and more graduates are emerging from higher education without the right skills to make a mark in the workplace. This isn’t necessarily your fault, universities have long been criticised for not providing courses that match with the requirements of the modern working world. However, it does mean that more has to be done to get graduates to a ‘business-ready’ level when they’re taken on by employers. And, as you’ll likely be aware, being a student and being a working professional are two very different things and few people will be ready to make the step from university to the workplace without any additional coaching. Even if you’re not planning on staying with your initial employer for the rest of your career, it’s crucial that you find a company that can support your development and maximise your skill set.
So with all of this in mind, what does an effective training programme actually look like? Take, for example, the industry we operate in, executive recruitment. There’s a considerable amount of information to take in when starting out in recruitment. You need to possess softer skills like empathy and the ability to communicate at a professional level. You’ll also need to be able to write a job specification, run an interview, be able to pitch to businesses and many more. The list really does go on and on. In addition to this you’ll have to possess specific sector knowledge of the niche vertical market that you operate in.
The perfect training and development programme needs to address all of the above areas but in an interesting and stimulating way. A good employer will recognise that no one really wants to sit in a classroom taking notes for hours on end and will develop their programmes accordingly. We’re surrounded by technology in our daily lives so it makes sense to utilise this in one way or another. For example, here at Inward Revenue we provide all of our new starters with their own Kindle which contains our entire operations manual. This means it can be accessed whenever needed and avoids giving our employees a stack of intimidating information for them to work their way through.
Another crucial factor is finding an employer that continues to provide coaching throughout your time at the company. We all know that you don’t just stop developing after your initial testing period, so it makes no sense just to provide training at the start of an employee’s time at the company. Look to select an employer that provides ongoing coaching and, if you’re not sure, ask about this in your interview. In a similar vein, organisations that will provide you with a mentor are also likely to value your development. This gives you an individual to tap into who will have already faced the challenges that you will go through and will be able to provide support at a more personal level.
If you perhaps hadn’t considered looking for an employer that offers a robust and effective training and development programme, hopefully you will now. Yes, it will obviously benefit you in your time at that organisation but will also pay off in terms of career development and will widen your future employability options. It can also pay off - quite literally - in every sales role as your improved performance means you’ll take home more money. So if you’re looking for the chance to earn an impressive commission package, look for employers who can offer an effective training programme, you might be surprised how important this can be.