Fresh Off The Bus Commerce Essay

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Getting the right young hire into an organization is no easy task. Many employers say there is a talent gap at present, with studies also indicating that although graduates have valuable vocational skills, they need to improve on other general employability skills.

A recent UK study by Ernst & Young that tested 1,000 university students for their employability skills revealed that graduates were not willing to take risks and needed to build resilience in order to really excel in a work environment. The students were also found to be weakest in skills such as time optimization and the courage to overcome fears or changing situations.

All organisations have specific skill-sets that they want from their new hires, particularly graduates, to have in order to fit the work environment but they are willing to give these 'newbies' time to adjust. As a result, companies have various learning and management trainee programmes to continually develop these young employees.

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In a recent survey by the NUS Career Centre in Singapore, it was revealed that the top attributes employers in Singapore look for are good communication skills, a desire to learn and adaptability. Also, good emotional intelligence and cross-cultural communication skills are qualities that are required to work in the global environment.

Max Loh, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, says that making a transition from school to career can be an overwhelming experience for graduates. "It's about relearning all over again, that is immersing oneself in a different culture and working environment, and learning how to work with people of varied backgrounds and experiences," he explains.

He adds that some graduates are more sought after than others for specific capabilities, in particular those who are fast learners and are adaptable, and those who have demonstrated the willingness to try out different opportunities.

Alice Lim, HR Director, L'Oréal Singapore, explains that most organisations are looking for graduates who have a sense of accountability and are proactive. "They must also be motivated and have an open mind. Specifically to L'Oréal, we look for graduates who are creative and operational - able to think out of the box and be willing to work hard."

Melissa Gee Kee, Leadership and Organisational Development Director, Southeast Asia and Australasia (SEAA), Unilever, says that the organisation looks for new hires that, besides being commercially aware, are also driven and energetic. Furthermore, Unilever looks closely at extra-curricular activities that might highlight traits such as a global mindset as well as leadership and team experience.

However, there are also traits and skill gaps that can turn employees off graduate candidates. Gee points out that business and commercial acumen are something graduates typically do not have much knowledge about. "They tend to know the theory but not the application, or have never studied business or finance before. In today's world of work this is an imperative skill to understand how your function can influence and impact the bottom line." She advises graduates can take an internship during their pre-graduation years in order to help develop this acumen. They can also attend talks or seminars from corporate leaders, and participate in business challenges.

Diana Low, Director, Michael Page International in Singapore, says that graduates can work towards being an attractive catch for a company. "It is important for graduates to have a positive attitude to increase their appeal over the recruitment process. This includes a willingness to learn, ability to be adaptable and flexible in any situation and possess commercial acumen," she says.

Testing the waters

Experts and employers say that as much as organisations want a young hire who is the right fit, graduates too have their interests and will be testing potential employers on what they can offer. As a result, companies need find out what interests this group of workers so that they can successfully attract the best graduate talent.

Loh states that Ernst & Young holds regular networking sessions with its interns and undergraduates to stay close to the ground and understand what they look for in a desired employer. "Consistently, we get responses like 'continuous professional and personal development', 'fair starting salary', 'good work-life balance' and 'conducive working environment and culture'. These priorities have largely stayed the same over the years though they may have ranked differently each time," he says.

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Lim states that graduates want to work for organisations that have strong employer branding; companies such L'Oréal that can provide a fast track career progression as well as international exposure. Other factors that are attractive to graduates include attractive remuneration, a working environment that embraces work-life balance, and strong commitments to corporate social responsibility, she notes.

Low of Michal Page says that graduates will most likely apply for positions within companies that offer them the ability to develop their skills and broad industry knowledge that will equip them for future career growth.

In order to attract and retain young employees, Loh advises organisations to focus on designing a sustainable career package that supports a graduate's continuous professional and personal development. "It is important that an organisation keeps track of each individual's changing needs and priorities. This will be down to the job of a coach or a mentor who should carry the long-term and important responsibility of coaching and mentoring the graduates. Being new to the organization, graduates require continuous feedback and coaching to help them to assimilate well and be successful in their role," he explains.

Besides campus talks and seminars, companies are now coming up with different ways to attract creative young talent. Lim says that L'Oreal places high emphasis on employer branding on tertiary education campuses by engaging students through campus activities. Besides workshops and recruitment talks, the organisation also offers business games such as the well-known L'Oreal Brandstorm competition. Graduates from around the world can take up the opportunity to come up with a marketing idea for one of L'Oreal's products. "Through these activities, we are able to share our experiences and introduce L'Oréal as an organisation to the graduates," states Lim.

Unilever too places emphasis on its employer branding to attract graduate talent. "It's about continuous on-going engagement, delivering consistent messages, following a segmented approach, and diversifying the media we use to communicate with the graduate community," explains Gee. Aside from conducting campus talks and attending career fairs, it has a digital media strategy using Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook to improve the awareness of company. Also, Unilever also offers the UL Business Case Challenge and an internship through the UL Internship Programme.

Developing green horns

Hiring the cream of the crop is all well and good but what are organisations doing to develop their young workers in terms of skills and business acumen?

Loh says that Ernst & Young offers graduates a number of ways to develop their skills. He says that due to the size of the company, which operates in over 140 countries and has a 152,000 strong workforce, employees will be exposed to working on a global scale as well as experience different cultures. "They will also learn to manage a diverse work portfolio and serve global clients ranging from conglomerates to fast-growing enterprises. They also gain traveling opportunities for work depending on the project assigned to them."

In addition to its daily work practices, Ernst & Young has a global development programme called EYU to equip graduates with technical competencies as well as leadership and other relevant soft skills. "The programme is a structured framework for everyone in the firm to obtain the right in-house training, on-the-job learning, and coaching and mentoring by seniors to accelerate their career development," explains Loh.

Unilever offers new hires the Unilever Future Leaders Program (UFLP), which is a management trainee scheme. Gee says that the programme helps them learn about business quickly while they are supported with training, mentoring, and career development. This three-year scheme is way to help fast track a person's career into a management position. At the end of the programme, the successful trainee will be offered his or her first management position.

In addition, the organization provides talks and workshops to constantly better the skills of young hires through various development programmes such as 'how to' sessions and technical skills sessions that focus on understanding Unilever's brands. These are run both virtually and on campus.

Questions

What are the top skills organizations want from graduates?

What is the gap analysis and how do organizations map the job analysis to requirement of resources?

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How organizations .plan to retain the talent pool as identified in the market?

What are the top skills organizations want from graduates?

All organization requires different specific skills from graduates to work in the global environment so that new hires can fit into the new environment and companies can give them time to adjust. As here are the companies

NUS Career Centre in Singapore

Ernst & Young LLP

L'Oréal Singapore

Unilever

NUS Career Centre in Singapore

good communication skills

a desire to learn and adaptability.

good emotional intelligence and

cross-cultural communication skills

Ernst & Young LLP

relearning all over again

immersing oneself in a different culture and working environment

learning how to work with people of varied backgrounds and experiences

fast learners and are adaptable

willingness to try out different opportunities

L'Oréal Singapore

accountability and are proactive

motivated and have an open mind

creative and operational

able to think out of the box

willing to work hard

Unilever

commercially aware

driven and energetic

extra-curricular activities

Other skills which a company wants from graduates, they are:

Positive Attitude

A hiring manager wants an employee who has a positive attitude about work and is highly motivated to outperform for his manager. A positive employee should also have the skills to elicit a positive attitude in others.

Responsibility

Employers are looking for people who take their work seriously, arrive to work on time and meet project deadlines on time and on budget. When an employee encounters an obstacle or a problem, a good manager will want to hear about this and address the issue.

Communications

Good communication is important in the workplace. A manager wants an employee who can represent his department by communicating clearly and professionally. Good listening skills are another important attribute.

Analytical Ability

If the position you are interviewing for requires analysis, the hiring manager wants someone who has demonstrated an ability to review a problem, consider the alternatives and recommend the optimum solution.

Computer Knowledge

Many jobs require a working knowledge of computers and computer applications, such as spreadsheet programs, word processing and presentation software. Proficient typing skills are also a plus.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Markets, competition and methods of operating change rapidly. To address this environment, a manager wants an employee who easily adapts to and is not resistant to change. He also wants someone who can quickly grasp new concepts and improved methods.

Interpersonal Skills

Because most jobs require working with others in a department or as part of a team, interpersonal relationships are important. An employee must relate well to others and have the benefit of the company in mind rather than solely his own goals.

Integrity

Employers value people who gain the trust of others and who are honest and ethical. Only through mutual trust and respect can an organization maintain a positive image in the marketplace and within the organization.

Willingness to Learn

An overriding interest in growing professionally is appealing to an employer because self-development provides increased value to an organization and supports the organization's growth.

These are the skills which graduates must have to work with the company, to stay and for their own growth.

What is the gap analysis and how do organizations map the job analysis to requirement of resources?

Gap Analysis

The process through which a company compares its actual performance to its expected performance to determine whether it is meeting expectations and using its resources effectively.

Gap analysis helps the company in knowing "where we are" and "where we want to be".

Specialist's points out that graduates don't have much knowledge about business and commercial acumen.

Graduates know the theory but not the applications, which are a necessary part which can make an individual, understand how functions can influence and impact the bottom line.

Graduates can improve by taking internship during their pre-graduation years and can attend seminars from corporate leaders and participate in business challenges.

Organizations want to hire young graduates who are the right fit for their organization and graduates should also have the potential so that they can also test the employers on what they can offer. By this companies get to know what attracts the graduate talent.

The experts of companies need to find out what interests the group of workers so that they can successfully attract the best graduate talent

Expert named Loh of Ernst & Young

Regular networking sessions with its interns and undergraduates so that they can be in touch or can interact to understand what exactly are their wants which they want to get fulfilled by an organization like:

continuous professional and personal development,

fair starting salary,

good work-life balance, and

Conducive working environment and culture'.

These are the priorities which can fill the gaps between an employee and an organization.

To retain young employees Loh advises to focus on

designing a sustainable career package that supports a graduate's continuous professional and personal development

keep a track of changing needs of employees

mentors or coach should carry the responsibility of coaching or mentoring the graduates.

Should provide continuous feedback and coaching to help the graduates to be successful in their roles.

The expert of L'Oreal states graduates wants to work with the organization which provides strong employer branding. For which L'Oreal provides

international exposure

attractive remuneration

working environment tthat embraces work life balance; and

strong commitments to corporate social responsibility

To fill the gap between employer and employee Unilever put emphasis on its employer branding to attract graduate. Unilever offers an internship through the UL Internship Programme. Unilever expert Gee states that they provides :

continuous on - engagement

delivering consistent messages

segmented approach

Diversifying media which is used to communicate with the graduates.

Low of Michal Page says that graduates will most likely apply for positions within companies that offer them the ability to develop their skills and broad industry knowledge that will equip them for future career growth.

In this way companies suggested their ways to fill the gaps between employees and organizations.

JOB ANALYSIS

Job analysis is a detailed and systematic study of jobs to know the nature and characteristics of people to be employed for each job. It is a process of discovering and identifying the pertinent information relating to the nature of a specific job.

The process of job analysis is essentially one of data collection and then analyzing that data. It provides the analyst with basic data pertaining to specific jobs in terms of duties, responsibilities, skills, knowledge, degree of risk etc.

Job analysis is the formal process of identifying the content of a job in terms activities involved and attributes needed to perform the work and identifies major job requirements

Job analysis is primary tool in personnel management. In this method, a personnel manager tries to gather, synthesize and implement the information available regarding the workforce in the concern. A personnel manager has to undertake job analysis so as to put right man on right job. The two outcomes of job analysis are Job description and Job specification

JOB DESCRIPTION is an organized factual statement of job contents in the form of duties and responsibilities of a specific job. The preparation of job description is very important before a vacancy is advertised. It tells in brief the nature and type of job. This type of document is descriptive in nature and it constitutes all those facts which are related to a job such as :

Title/ Designation of job and location in the concern.

The nature of duties and operations to be performed in that job.

The nature of authority- responsibility relationships.

Necessary qualifications those are required for job.

Relationship of that job with other jobs in a concern.

The provision of physical and working condition or the work environment required in performance of that job.

JOB SPECIFICATION is a statement which tells us minimum acceptable human qualities which helps to perform a job. Job specification translates the job description into human qualifications so that a job can be performed in a better manner. Job specification helps in hiring an appropriate person for an appropriate position. The contents are :

Job title and designation

Educational qualifications for that title

Physical and other related attributes

Physique and mental health

Special attributes and abilities

Maturity and dependability

Relationship of that job with other jobs in a concern

PROCESS OF JOB ANALYSIS

Identification of Job Analysis Purpose:

Well any process is futile until its purpose is not identified and defined. Therefore, the first step in the process is to determine its need and desired output. Spending human efforts, energy as well as money is useless until HR managers don't know why data is to be collected and what is to be done with it.

Who Will Conduct Job Analysis:

The second most important step in the process of job analysis is to decide who will conduct it. Some companies prefer getting it done by their own HR department while some hire job analysis consultants. Job analysis consultants may prove to be extremely helpful as they offer unbiased advice, guidelines and methods. They don't have any personal likes and dislikes when it comes to analyze a job.

How to Conduct the Process:

Deciding the way in which job analysis process needs to be conducted is surely the next step. A planned approach about how to carry the whole process is required in order to investigate a specific job.

Strategic Decision Making:

Now is the time to make strategic decision. It's about deciding the extent of employee involvement in the process, the level of details to be collected and recorded, sources from where data is to be collected, data collection methods, the processing of information and segregation of collected data.

Training of Job Analyst:

Next is to train the job analyst about how to conduct the process and use the selected methods for collection and recoding of job data.

Preparation of Job Analysis Process:

Communicating it within the organization is the next step. HR managers need to communicate the whole thing properly so that employees offer their full support to the job analyst. The stage also involves preparation of documents, questionnaires, interviews and feedback forms.

Data Collection:

Next is to collect job-related data including educational qualifications of employees, skills and abilities required to perform the job, working conditions, job activities, reporting hierarchy, required human traits, job activities, duties and responsibilities involved and employee behavior.

Documentation, Verification and Review:

Proper documentation is done to verify the authenticity of collected data and then review it. This is the final information that is used to describe a specific job.

Developing Job Description and Job Specification:

Now is the time to segregate the collected data in to useful information. Job Description describes the roles, activities, duties and responsibilities of the job while job specification is a statement of educational qualification, experience, personal traits and skills required to perform the job.

The process of job analysis helps in identifying the worth of specific job, utilizing the human talent in the best possible manner, eliminating unneeded jobs and setting realistic performance measurement standards

How organizations .plan to retain the talent pool as identified in the market?

Organizations hire cream of the crop is all well and good and organizations plans accordingly to develop their young workers in terms of skills and business acumen.

Here Ernst & Young, Unilever mentioned about keeping the employees for long with an organization.

Ernst & Young expert Loh says we offers graduate a number of ways to develop their skills. As company has a wide workforce so employees get the exposure to work on a global scale and experience different cultures. Employees manage a diverse work portfolio and serve global clients ranging from conglomerates to fast-growing enterprises. They also gain traveling opportunities for work depending on the project assigned to them."

They adds daily work practices, has a global development programme called EYU to equip graduates with technical competencies as well as leadership and other relevant soft skills. This programme is a structured framework for everyone in the firm to obtain the right in-house training, on-the-job learning, and coaching and mentoring by seniors to accelerate their career development.

Unilever offers new hires the Unilever Future Leaders Program (UFLP), which is a management trainee scheme. Gee says that the programme helps them learn about business quickly while they are supported with training, mentoring, and career development. This three-year scheme is way to help fast track a person's career into a management position. At the end of the programme, the successful trainee will be offered his or her first management position.

Organization provides workshops for better skills of young hires through various development programmes such as 'how to' sessions and technical skills sessions that focus on understanding Unilever's brands.

All this done by organization to retain the pool of talented employees so that company growth will not get affected and employees can also work well with an organization.

In this way organization mentioned about the skills wanted from graduates, filling gaps between employees and an organization, and how organizations retain the pool of employees to keep them with organizations.

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