During normal times, entering the workforce, finding the right career and establishing themselves in new roles are among the challenges graduates and trainees face.
However, as Covid-19's impact continues to be felt in every aspect of our lives, 2020 is even more challenging for those looking to get a foot onto the workforce ladder.
Equally, it is more important this year that employers do not neglect the opportunity to bring in new talent and make the most of the skills and energy they have to offer. It boils down to two key aspects: Why it is essential to keep investing in talent, and how to hire the right people and support their development amid an unprecedented global pandemic.
The 'why' tends to be easy. You know how important it is to keep hiring, as well as upskilling and developing employees through training. People are the pride of your company. They are why your clients continue to come back and build mutually successful long-term relationships. We are all absolutely committed to growing our businesses and strengthening our workforce - and to building the best version of ourselves, for now and the future.
Despite the global pandemic, we have remained committed to our graduate associate programme because we believe in providing business continuity by ensuring that we have junior leaders growing within our business. Our strong relationships with our university and college partners have made this commitment easier to execute. We continue to learn a great deal from our new talent and leaders, and this has proven especially true in times of crisis because they provide a fresh perspective and continue to push our company forward.
Using this 'why' as a motivational force across the industry is imperative today. We need to work together to ensure that we find and retain the very best talent. We must equip them with the experience and skills necessary to deal with the challenges they will face in their careers. They will be shaped by this crisis and mindful of the need for future-proofing-possibly even more than those who were established in their careers when the pandemic occurred. The generation coming into the workforce will have the life experience, crisis mentality and resiliency needed to propel our industry forward.
Along with the need to bring more talent into our industry, there is also the more practical day-to-day job to be done. And recruiting and training teams to be the best version of themselves is not always easy. Historically, companies have relied a great deal on building interpersonal relationships, connecting with each other and sharing career-long learnings through office-based interactions. All of these factors have become much bigger challenges in the remote workplace, challenging the 'how'.
Like many businesses, we pivoted quickly to employees working from home, and we are now taking steps to ensure we have virtual onboarding experiences ready for this year's associates.
Welcoming 28 associates within our US and the UK offices without in-person interaction is no easy feat, so we have designed the onboarding and orientation process to feel as close as possible to the in-person experience that previous classes have enjoyed. This year's group will receive its onboarding packs and welcome gifts in the mail. While we will not be working with our new class of associates on campus any time soon, we have developed virtual team-building exercises that enable them to bond with fellow associates and begin to soak up our culture.
Our new hires and associates actually do part of the 'how' themselves. Graduates entering the workforce tend to be quick learners-a quality that is supported today by their familiarity and comfort with new technology. This year's class will be no different. They will effectively rise to the challenge of starting their careers in a remote world.
When looking forward to what is next, it is important to consider what has already been achieved. We have been successfully running our associate programme for 28 years, providing diversity of thought and creative influences across our business. Covid-19 will not impact how we pursue the right talent. We are a people-centric organisation, and this crisis has only increased our commitment to our employees. Fresh perspectives cultivate new ideas, innovate future business improvements and bring fresh energy. No matter what the future brings, we have the talented workforce that can go beyond its demands.
Colleen Stratton is global leader of workforce development at SEI