Creating a balanced approach to developing Graduates
While much of the amendments made to the scheme affecting the overall principles and approach, this also meant several significant updates to the actual training programmes were required. The bulk of the ‘formal learning’ offered to the graduates centred on developing personal effectiveness skills. The training focussed on the following themes:
Developing followership - Whereas some organisations focus on leadership development for graduates, as a result of conversations internally and benchmarking with competitors it was acknowledged that in the majority of cases graduates will not be pursuing leadership positions within their first few years, and importantly not everyone will want to. In addition to this it was recognised that in order to be a good leader an individual also needs to be able to follow business leaders effectively, and for the benefit of their future progression, it was agreed that the focus of the training should be on followership rather than leadership at this stage.
Understanding self – related to the overarching theme of followership the primary focal point for the first year of the programme addressed the development of the personal understanding. By running sessions looking at resilience, self-awareness, and communication styles, and using tools such as psychometrics, 3600 feedback and mentoring graduates are encouraged to consider how their personal approach effects their success in the business. Indeed, at the graduate induction, where TLD runs a 2 day experiential learning based communications programme, new graduates commented how useful this training would have been at university, to have prepared them for the workplace of today.
Relating to others – building upon the skills developed in the first year of the programme, the second year focusses on enabling the graduates to better understand others and build better relationships to ensure wider team success. This is completed via a number of different methods including formal learning sessions, workshops, and feedback sessions. In addition each graduate is offered an in-depth feedback session with their line manager to allow them a chance to discuss their progress and desired career path, and explore what further development they may need to achieve this. To conclude the training each graduate will undertake a development centre at the end of the programme which will help them define their future career goals and pathways in the company.
Diverse training methods – using a mix of classroom based sessions, experiential learning and digital approaches, the graduates are presented with a wide range of ways to enhance their skills and develop their potential. Some of the activities have included the use of role play with professional actors, online business simulations and mental and physical problem solving tasks. The last task graduates complete in the final stages of the programme is a challenge linked to corporate responsibility and STEM activities.