Six Steps to Take in September for Creating the Perfect Graduate Onboarding Experience

First Day

Alex Hattingh, CPO and Employment Hero

After rounds of interviews and many applicants, you’ve now found your star candidate and you’re ready to hit the ground running. Onboarding a new graduate should be handled a little bit differently to those who have years of experience. You want to make them feel comfortable and not overwhelm them on the very first day. 

Before they start you’ll need to ensure that their contract, policies and paperwork are all up to scratch. There should be a proper induction plan in place to ease them into the business, especially if this is their first full-time role. We all know that first impressions count, the last thing you want is for your new hire to wait for hours for their manager to turn up or sit there twiddling their thumbs. Make sure that when your new graduate’s first day comes to an end, they know they’ve made the right decision in becoming part of your business. To help you get organised and give your new graduate an amazing first day, week and month, we suggest following these simple steps. You want to show that you’re organised and excited for them to make a real impact in the business:


Before the first day

Work Space
  1. Prepare your new employee’s work area and office space and equip it with supplies
  2. Order appropriate access keys/security cards and make sure they work
  3. Order business cards, if applicable
  4. Arrange for parking, if required


Technology Access
  1. Order technology equipment (computer, iPad, phone) and software
  2. Set up their system in advance and assign them to a printer
  3. Arrange for access to shared drives
  4. Add their name to relevant email lists


General Communication
  1. Share the news about the new starter with everyone in the business
  2. Assign a buddy or mentor to the new hire


The first day
  1. Have a small gift waiting for them such as your company t-shirt, mug or keychain
  2. Give them a tour of the office or workplace and introduce them to key team members
  3. Present them with their onboarding pack, containing important information like account info
  4. Ensure they get a proper induction
  5. Meet with them and their manager to explain the expectations of their role
  6. Have their manager assign some initial tasks
  7. Organise for them to have lunch with their new manager and/or team


The first week
  1. Introduce them to employees from different areas of the business
  2. Follow-up to ensure they’ve accessed, read and acknowledged your company policies
  3. Check-in with them and their manager regarding initial tasks
  4. Have their manager assign them their first project
  5. Ask for first week feedback


The first month
  1. Hold regular check-in meetings and evaluate their progress after a month in the company
  2. See how they’re getting along with the rest of the team and whether they’re enjoying their work
  3. Assess and action training needs
  4. Check in with their manager on how their one-on-ones are going


With these steps, you’ll be on your way to giving your new graduates a recruitment and onboarding experience they’ll remember for many years to come. Remember, the key is to be personal, be upfront, and tailor your process to suit them. So go on, go find your gold star grad!6. Encourage graduates from all backgrounds and experiences to apply

When it comes to hiring graduates, you need to be inclusive. Be conscious of framing your workplace as an accepting and inclusive place to be. Consider putting a statement on the end of your job ads that invites people of all backgrounds and identities to apply. 

If you would like, we can provide further insight from Alex who has over 15 years of experience in partnering with business leadership, establishing company culture and improving employee experiences on an international scale.

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