Hiring students can be a positive for any organization.
Eric Johnson, an Executive Coach and Director of Graduate Career Services at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, says students are “are eager to contribute and have an amazing ability to learn quickly and be creative. And because they’re resourceful and well-connected, they often have great ideas to share, too.”
To make it work, however, employers need to adopt a coaching mindset, instead of a management mindset, says Johnson. This is best illustrated using an equation: B = Q x C, where “B” is the benefit of an idea, “Q” is the quality of the idea, and “C” is the commitment to the idea. The book, The Extraordinary Coach, by John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett, explains this in great detail. With older generations the focus of management has been on “Q” – helping new employees up the learning curve by teaching or advising them, thus raising the quality of their ideas. But with Millennials the focus needs to be on “C”; they are going to be more committed to an idea that’s their own.
“So let them think, let them create, and let them build – and coach them to think about implementation and how to overcome barriers,” says Johnson. “The great thing about (students) is that they’re not afraid of failure and they can learn quickly. So be a learning organization – after they implement their idea(s) take time to learn from the experience with them.”
Students and recent graduates can be an asset to any organization, says Beth Hendler-Grunt, President of Next Great Step, an organization that advises college students and recent grads on how to achieve career success. Below, Hendler-Grunt provides five reasons why employers should hire students and recent college grads:
1. Enthusiasm: Students understand how competitive it is to get a job and stand out from their peers. Students are willing to work extra hours and put in the effort if just given the opportunity. They want to prove to themselves and others that they can add value and they are willing to go above and beyond to do so.
2. Technology Savvy: Millennials may get a bad reputation for texting or using social media for communicating, but these skills can add value to your business. While companies are trying to figure out how to maximize social media to promote their offers, recent graduates who grew up with a phone or device in their hand are experts at this and understand how to connect with others using multiple types of media. Some know how to program and design applications from tinkering on their own. They also bring use of new apps and programming used at school to businesses such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Dropbox to create efficiencies in offices seeking change.
3. Willingness to Take Risks: Recent grads are prepared to take more risks in a new role. They may travel, relocate and try new opportunities. They are not held back by the same financial and geographic requirements as an associate with a family, mortgage or a specific skill set that they have focused on for 20 years.
4. Ability to Train: Organizations have an opportunity to mold young minds to complete work in a certain way. “There is a reason that students gravitate to companies with training or mentoring programs,” says Hendler-Grunt. “They want to build a strong foundation of skills that they can use to help them in their career.” Companies also have the opportunity to groom talent into leadership positions from early on.
5. Pay It Forward: At some point, someone took a chance on you. Not all jobs over a lifetime will remain memorable, but a first job is an important milestone. By giving a student an opportunity to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to a business, you can give back your time and teachings to someone eager to find their way. “Students have an entrepreneurial spirit that can energize other members of the staff,” says Hendler-Grunt.
Thinking about hiring students? Think about the reasons – and the positive impact it can make on your business.