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Toby Goor, Graduate Consultant - WCA Solutions

Help – It’s performance review time!

My fellow graduates and I feel unsure about how well we will fit into a new workplace, and how other employees and management will treat us. Most organisations strive for a productive and effective workforce, requiring graduates to fast-track their learning and perform at a high standard quickly, thereby adding further stress. It should therefore come as little surprise we graduates approach a performance review with fear and trepidation.

According to the Australian Industry Group, millennials make up just 21 per cent of today’s workforce. However, it is estimated that by 2020 this will rise to approximately 50 per cent. As the workforce continues to age, organisations will need to employ millennials and, as such, it is imperative the culture within organisations is upheld in a way that nurtures and develops graduates.

Statistics from the Graduate Satisfaction Survey 2017, conducted­ by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching, show that over 31 per cent of graduates selected not well, not at all, or unsure when asked if they believe their tertiary degree has prepared them for employment.

With nearly a third of all graduates considering themselves to be of a standard less than what they believe will be expected of them in their newly found direction in life, the thought of being performance managed is one that brings a sense of angst and unease, and begins to make us question the performance management process. 

Will my manager be constantly looking over my shoulder?

What are the consequences of me not meeting set performance expectations?

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for both graduates and businesses; there are a few simple considerations that can grow our confidence and, in turn, retain and engage us so we are kicking goals for you.

Help me set clear goals

The most effective way a manager can help to settle the performance review nerves that my fellow graduates and I have, is by assisting us to create short and long-term goals. By taking a collaborative approach to setting these goals we will not only begin to understand what is expected of us but, in addition, we can start to appreciate the link between our role and our employer’s broader company objectives.

Communicate with me frequently

Talk to me! And talk to me some more! As all good managers will understand, communication is imperative for high levels of productivity, career contentment and overall success of any group. By talking to me regularly you can begin to build the necessary professional relationship and gauge an understanding of how I, and my fellow graduate workmates, are settling in to the organisation.

To further support my fellow graduates and I, many companies also encourage multi-tiered communication through mentor and buddy programs for graduates (and, in fact, all new staff).  This provides a shared communication that will foster strong working relationships throughout the organisation, and encourages collaboration and greater accountability.

Provide me with feedback, often

Formal performance appraisal processes may dictate employees and managers meeting only once or twice a year. However, taking the initiative to meet with my fellow graduates and I on a more frequent basis can be of great benefit. Providing us with frequent informal feedback will assist in growing our motivation and productivity within the organisation and mitigate the risk of unexpected surprises arising for either of us in the formal performance appraisal meeting.

By communicating with my fellow graduates and I on a regular basis, an opportunity is presented for not only you, the management, to raise any concerns or deliver praise, but also provide a channel for us to ask questions or raise concerns we may have.

As a graduate, I understand that my performance feedback won’t necessarily always be that of praise and commendation. However, I appreciate receiving such feedback in real time, so that I can adjust and re-focus on the next task at hand.

Having only recently entered the real world, my fellow graduates and I will strive to continuously improve, mature, and never underperform. I promise that with defined goals, open communication, regular feedback, and some patience from our managers, we will be some of the most motivated and enthusiastic employees that have ever walked through your door! 

Contact WCA - People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with your Culture, Human Resources and/ or Industrial Relations requirements on (08) 9383 3293 or admin@wcasolutions.com

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