It’s no surprise that companies are under siege with all sorts of drivers for a critical, fresh perspective. Leaders are increasingly pushing for a major change in implementing a digital strategy aided by new forms of technology, such as robotic process automation, sophisticated analytics functionality, or cloud ERP platforms. Yet not many put enough focus on how a successful new graduate hiring strategy can help set the course for acquiring the kind of talent who can aid in pushing forward new thinking and new boundaries to support this digital strategy.

New Graduates Know How to Learn

Continuous education has always been a corporate emphasis, but this younger generation of talent has had access to tutorials and the latest insights on new technologies right at their fingertips, without ever having to leave their homes. And what’s more, they take advantage of it. FastCompany cites the Harvey Nash Professional Recruitment study that states “64% of 18-24-year-olds were taking free courses or reading in their own time to develop new skills, compared to only 56% of 30-35-year-olds.”

With this generation’s digital exposure, continuous access to learning coupled with their desire for it, it’s no surprise that the National Association of Colleges and Employers forecasts a 4% increase in college hiring in 2018.

They Have an Appreciation for Trials

Every organisation is learning that failure is inevitable, and a lot are trying to change their culture where failure no longer has a negative stigma attached to it. But the business reality is that failure costs, and so while there’s a lot of learning to be derived from it, it has to happen quickly.

As a result, companies are adopting a “fail fast” culture, and there’s no other group of potential hires who can understand and appreciate a good test run than new graduates.

All Talent Management heads–whether at a tech start-up or a well-established enterprise–are looking at the best ways technology can help them predict quality hires and reduce their recruiting costs while still offering a best-in-class candidate experience.

Because a lot of organizations hire this group in waves or seasons, this can be a great pool of candidates to try out new hiring strategies. They’re tech-savvy enough to get it, and they provide the perfect opportunity to test, assess and then improve upon the process for the next wave. Just keep in mind that they’re deserving of a quality recruitment experience as well, and their feedback can impact your employer brand just as much as any other potential hire’s.

They Are the Culture Change Everyone’s Been Talking About

There’s no doubt that the latest generation of graduates have different employment expectations than their predecessors, but it seems that their ideas about work/life balance and the type of work they want to be a part of is more aligned with the future of work.

Employee wellness programs that make a positive impact on employees’ lives is what they’re after. They’re done with trend predicting and are the trend setters that HR teams have been talking about. They’re less interested in lifetime employment because they know it doesn’t exist and hasn’t existed for at least a couple of generations now. They want to make a bigger impact than spreadsheets and reports; instead, they want organisations with a social conscious, a boss who understands that their job is only one aspect of who they are, and a mentor who can help them achieve their goals inside and outside of work.

Retention Through Engagement

One can’t deny the turnover rates of new graduates. Organisations struggle to keep them engage and often see their investments and newly trained staff walk right out the door. The reasons for this are many, from cultures that aren’t the right fit, unmet expectation, sink or swim management styles… The list can go on. But one thing is certain, this new generation of graduates are the living embodiment of digital–be they undergraduate- or graduate-level.

Give them a seat on the projects where they can add value. They may not have much work experience or they may have loads, either way, an organization’s ability to tap into their strengths and their thirst to feel valued and useful will definitely impact retention rates.

Design and advertise new graduate jobs that are broad enough to encompass flexibility for future change, yet remain transparent with where the organization is at on its transformation journey.

In this era of talent wars, leaders need to use all the resources available to them to help current and future business needs. Recent graduates are motivated and enthusiastic, agile and masters of technology, they’re more diverse than any other generation before them, and when an organisation has structured itself to allow them to flourish, they are a great source of raw and untapped talent.