Generation Y grows up: how to give today’s graduates the communication skills they need

Four generation y people taking a selfie

As the first group of young adults born in 1993 graduate, ‘generation Y’ has just about all grown up.

According to Deloitte, this group of ‘millennials’ is on track to reach 75 percent of the global workforce only ten years from now. Yet, a number of employer surveys have found that this generation is lacking in the soft skills – including communication skills – which they need to develop to thrive in the workplace.

PreparedU surveyed a group of 750 US managers and found only 19 percent find recent entry-level employees very competent in teamwork. Today’s graduates are struggling to adapt to the social skills business requires. How can you help them develop this lacking skillset?

Build on their strengths

The latest graduates will likely have had a social media account for the majority of their lives. This experience shouldn’t go to waste: social media can be a powerful tool in the modern workplace, which can help connect with co-workers and clients.

Harvard Business Review suggest there is a danger of millennials over-sharing, but don’t repress these digital natives’ social media talents, reshape them and make them an asset rather than a hazard for the workplace.

Allow time for development

New graduates will need time on the job to adjust to the communication requirements of the modern workplace, so set clear expectations for what they need to develop and help them attain those goals.

Don’t neglect training

If communication is an essential part of your business model, trusting graduates to come to the job and neatly fit your needs is an unnecessary risk. A newly-hired graduate might have a great deal of knowledge from their degree course, but they may not have the aptitude and experience to immediately make presentations and pitches to clients.

Udemy suggest that 68 percent of companies rely solely on on-the-job training, and 72 percent only provide training that is directly relevant to an employee’s role. If graduates are expected to succeed, dedicated training across all important communications skills is the safest and most efficient way to prep new them for important communications.

Don’t generalise about generation y

Really, the problems of generation Y’s graduates are no different to those faced by any generation before them. Business communication skills have always been a gap that hasn’t been filled by the education system.

Generation Y are caught in a deadlock between their detractors and their relentless ambition. 91 percent of them want to become future leaders, yet 62 percent of business stakeholders suggest that millennial graduates are not even prepared for the workplace. If new graduates are to fulfil their ambitions in the workplace, they need training, not the wide-spread criticism and stereotyping they are receiving.

Focus on training and develop graduate’s skillsets: generation Y need to start being treated as a developing solution, not the problem.

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