Giving New Grads a Fast Start in Their New Job

The WSJ recently published an article on how our new grads need guidance on professional behavior in today’s workplace. The article was titled, “New Grads Have No Idea How to Behave in the Office”.

And I must tell you, I am experiencing the same news here at The American Academy of Etiquette.

We are hearing from universities as well as companies this generation needs help – especially in the areas of communication and building relationships with clients as well as co-workers.

The WSJ journal notes students that were freshman in college in the spring of 2020, are the ones who need assistance mainly due to the pandemic.  They spend the rest of their college years in the virtual learning space.  

Students were not in a position to learn and practice soft skills.  Many missed out on internships as well. 

Universities, companies and recruiters are looking for business etiquette speakers to train new hires and  provide clear advice. 

And here is the best part – the new hires/grads are soaking it up.  They know they need it! 

Business Etiquette Programs for New Hires

In a business etiquette program,  new graduates (as well as seasoned employees) are learning email etiquette, the importance of dressing well, aligning with their company’s mission and values. New hires learn what is it is like to work with in-person at the office.  

Many companies offer a dining tutorial to learn how to  have a conversation during a business meal, how to navigate a table setting, how to butter bread, which fork to use and how to hold it, who pays, how to entertain a client and much more.

We are hearing that many students are so ready to get rid of meetings over Zoom and work face-to-face with co-workers. 

The disrupted college experience might also mean they need to hone their emotional intelligence skills. The new graduates struggle with how to read colleagues’ cues or navigating a meeting. 

Workplace readiness is critical in today’s work environment – for our workforce in the US but also in to function in a global economy. 

According to the WSJ article, “new hires need to learn nuances of, how do you actually create enough connection, visibility, ability to maneuver”.

Companies are noting young professionals are stiff, talk too fast and rely too much on filler words such as overusing the word “like”. 

Presentation skills are lacking as well. Many students presented virtually in classes and often kept notes near by, on a screen or separate device. 

This is not reality when presenting in-person. Many students find this more difficult than expected. 

Email etiquette is still key when communicating at work. I am still amazed when I speak with HR directors how many employees do not know how to effectively write an email.  Written communication skills are paramount at work.

Networking provides many opportunity for both new hires and companies. Our business etiquette training modules goes step by step on how to network -from prepping prior to the event, initiating conversations, what to wear to how to follow-up after meeting someone.

Professional presence is another popular topic.  Students especially need help for many reasons.  One important realization is that companies need to offer clear guidance and spell out exactly what is and what is not acceptable.  This varies across industries.  I have heard about and seen so many mistakes on how professionals are dressing at work. Skirts are too short, wrinkled shirts and unkept beards top the list.
We live in a casual world and yes, life has changed but there are so many reasons to be professional and raise the bar on how you dress when going to the office.  

Many employees are showing in athleisure, flip flops and weekend attire and this often leads HR having to send people home to change.

Here is the good new and my experience as a business etiquette speaker, you will see an immediate change.  And when delivered well, this topic is fun way to build rapport and offer your employees a beautiful lasting gift.

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