Find out how to support your Sussex Graduate Associate while they work with you.
Create an induction
Although our graduates may be familiar with the University and campus, it is essential that a full and comprehensive induction is planned. A well-designed induction process can make a graduate’s transition into the workplace a smooth and enjoyable experience as well as helping you integrate your new member of staff into your team as soon as possible.
See our induction checklist [PDF 30KB] for graduate staff.
Plan their workload
During their time working at the University, graduates should be treated with the same degree of professionalism and duty of care as all other employees. It’s essential that the staff member is given as much responsibility and diversity in their work as possible and as a recruiting manager, you need to ensure that you are utilising their skills, ideas and providing them to opportunities for professional development.
Create a suitable work plan for the graduate with clear objectives, deliverables and timescales. Spread their workload across a number of areas or assign a particular project. The work plan should not be a static blueprint but a living document, regularly reviewed and revised. This should act as a guide at the beginning of the opportunity and subsequently merge with any goals and objectives throughout the year.
Remember, graduates are with you to learn while working, so it is important to keep them engaged throughout the programme to ensure that your department/school/division and their career can move forward.
Offer guidance througout their employment
This may be your graduate’s first professional job, and they may need support and guidance to succeed. Make sure they have regular meetings with you or their supervisor and receive constructive feedback on their work. We recommend that you have monthly one-to-one supervision meetings – in the first 6-8 weeks, this may be weekly or every fortnight. They should also have an identified “buddy” in the school/department/division. This is someone that they can go, ask questions and get some informal support.
Make sure you allow time for the graduate to explore professional development activities and access support from Careers and Entrepreneurship. As the programme with the University draws to a close, the graduate may need time to access further job search advice and attend job interviews.
Set a presentation task
Towards the end of the programme, as manager, you could arrange for your graduate to make a ten minute presentation about their experience to invited staff.
The presentation will be:
- a chance for the graduate to reflect on their experience (e.g. how did their degree course prepare them for the programme?)
- an opportunity to highlight learning points for the University.
Arrange a final review meeting
As the programme draws to a close, it is good practice to arrange a final review meeting with the graduate.
During the review, you can discuss:
- what the graduate has learned and how have they developed during the programme
- how well you think they have met your objectives (set either at the beginning of or during the programme)
- their biggest/proudest achievements
- the projects have they completed or contributed to
- in what ways they feel better prepared for the jobs market after completing the programme (this can include ‘soft’ skills as well as specific projects)
- their strengths and weaknesses
- areas of development they can concentrate on in future jobs.
Make sure that the review meeting is constructive and focuses as much as possible on the strengths of the graduate and positive elements from the programme. Similar to the appraisal process, it might be easier to give the graduate the review questions in advance to give them time to think about the topics that you will be discussing.
Your graduate can also book a one-to-one development discussion with a careers consultant towards the end of their contract. They can arrange this by emailing Emily Huns at firstname.lastname@example.org.