5 Ways to Ensure an Awesome Graduate Onboarding Experience | GradConnection Asia

Posted by Tony Ye

5 Ways to Ensure Your New Grads Have an Awesome Onboarding Experience

It’s the new year, and it's never too early to start preparing to welcome a new intake of graduates. It’s important your grads have a positive onboarding experience, as it will influence their engagement and retention with your organisation.

Millennial graduates love feeling like they are part of a team contributing to organisation goals and objectives. Engage them early to show they are valued and trusted and are a welcomed new member for your team.

Here are a few of our ideas to help ensure your graduates have an awesome onboarding experience.

1. New Starter Automation

We’ve all been there. Showing up for work on Day 1 to find your team leader is still away on their New Year break, your allocated desk is buried under files and paperwork, and you still don’t have system access or log-ins to connect to email or the network. Fun!

Millennial grads don’t look kindly on these inefficiencies – a poor experience like this on the first day will negatively influence their engagement with you until they decide to leave (probably within 6 months).

Automate your new starter process the moment your grad contract is signed so that security checks, system access, email set up, and induction training is all scheduled B E F O R E your new grad begins.

2. Secure Vacation Work

The trouble with graduate recruitment is that it’s all finalised around six months prior to the graduate starting. Advanced placements increase the likelihood of your grad reneging on their offer and signing on somewhere else.

Which is why it’s so important to engage your new grad hire as early as possible.

Consider hiring them for paid holiday placements or part-time work (directly related to their graduate role or to train them up in another complementary area of the business), or offering them a course-credit project to work on while they complete their studies.

Before our Director, Dan, started his graduate role in IT with Westpac, he was offered the opportunity to spend 10 weeks working as a bank teller at his local branch - The benefit was he was given an introduction to the banking industry and Westpac’s tech systems and processes that he’d eventually be working on as part of his graduate role.

3. Ask Them to Contribute to Something Bigger

There’s no better way to engage your new grad than to make them feel valued and trusted by contributing to something bigger. 

Identify an organisation-wide product, project, or problem that your new grad hires can work on to brainstorm, build, and present to team leaders and executives.

Take a leaf out of Atlassian’s onboarding program and arrange a new starter ‘hackathon’ event to connect them to your brand and culture.

Another example is again with our Director, Dan, who was tasked with a special executive project during his graduate year at Westpac - the executive team listed a range of priority areas in the business for the graduates to work on with ‘fresh eyes’.

4. Pre-Start Mixer

Most millennial grads like to socialise and will relish an opportunity to meet fellow grads and colleagues prior to their big start day.

Whether you have a budget for entertainment, or you don’t, there are still simple and effective strategies to introduce your cohort to each other, team leaders, and key HR / onboarding players to make them feel more comfortable ahead of their first day.

A (brief) nationwide video link up from your main office will be just as effective as a ‘no-expense-spared bonanza’.

5. Connect New Grads with Former Grad Cohorts

Nothing guarantees engagement like connecting fresh starters with former grads.  Graduates love to hear and relate to stories from people who’ve been in their shoes; their exact position only a year or two earlier.


  • a formal/informal buddy arrangement,
  • creating a grad-cohort email group to connect them with former grads prior to starting, and/or,
  • arranging a meet’n’greet during the first week of employment.

Get Ready for Your 2018 Grad Recruitment Campaign

The graduate recruitment cycle is about to kick off for 2018 – make sure your Employer Profiles are up-to-date so you’re ready to start promoting your 2018 programs.

Keep on top of current graduate recruitment trends and let potential candidates know what they can expect when they join your organisation (consider incorporating video stories or highlights from former grads to help you).

Get in touch if you need help completing your campaign template [email protected]


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