By Sarah Chatterley
If I knew back then, what I know now……
It’s been an incredible first couple of months in my new role.
My past career has seen me sat at both sides of the TA table (poacher come gamekeeper some would say) for over 20 years. Prior to joining Gradconsult, I created the Talent strategy from acquisition through to development and succession, as Head of People & Resourcing for a rapid scale-up infrastructure company.
My emerging talent/early careers strategy, however, was very firmly sat in the ‘apprenticeship’ groove and excluded any graduate consideration. I was blindsided by the need to achieve ROI from our (not insignificant) Levy payments, and the early careers focus was closely bound to the pot of cash which would diminish month by month if not spent on new apprentices or to provide additional qualifications and learning to existing staff.
I hadn’t truly considered the impact on innovation, energy, diversity, culture, affective-challenge and succession-opportunity for a business, that a well-considered emerging (graduate) talent strategy can bring. I’m not talking purely about the ‘art’ of graduate attraction and selection; although there is an art here in ensuring your attraction message and EVP is on-point and relevant to the selective personal and development aspirations of graduates. Moreover, since joining Gradconsult, my eyes have been opened to the commercial and intellectual value derived through embedding a graduate development programme.
Over the past two months I have had the privilege (and it really is), of designing graduate recruitment programmes for some dynamic and rapid-scale businesses. One such business has grown from 350 employees 12 months ago to over 3000 heads now. For them, the investment in new graduate intakes will be returned in the critical development of their core central functions. As well as being new hands-on-deck, they will enable and support the continued development of their business, bringing fresh thinking, new perspectives, and a platform for succession.
But an early talent strategy doesn’t end once you’ve recruited the right new hires.
No graduate, apprentice or other early career individual will join your business ‘oven ready’. I’ve had the opportunity to witness the scope and variety of development ‘tools’ our business creates and delivers. I am fortunate to be part of the Gradconsult facilitation team that ‘sees’ the graduates in all their glory at the end of their programmes and before being signed off. I am humbled with the sharpness and commercial thinking these young professionals exhibit; overwhelmed by their positive confidence to call things out; inspired by their professional development, in for some, what has only been two years. On one session last week, two of the graduate cohort had already been promoted twice.
The businesses that see graduate recruitment and development as one side of the same coin, have created emerging talent programmes which are results and people-based, are linked to commercial return and which make the ultimate investment in their overall Talent strategy. These businesses will reap the rewards for years to come.
If not now, when?........
In this time of pandemic bounce-back, of increasing skills shortages and with the ominous threat of the tidal ‘great resignation’, could a progressive and sustainable graduate talent programme be the answer?
Is it time to have a serious think about your emerging talent strategy?
If you’d like to chew some ideas over or start to think about what could be achieved within your business, do get in contact. We have plenty of ideas, some great case studies and a growing library of existing resources (pretty good at creating new ones too!).
"The delivery of the programme has been amazing and the feedback we received from our interns has been through the roof. Gradconsult truly understood us as an organisation, understood our culture and our needs and wants from the interns and hiring managers. As a result, they delivered an amazing programme called Future Ready." Jeff Lovejoy, SumUp
This post was originally posted on Sarah's LinkedIn, on the 5th October 2021. You can find the original link here.