Best Practice Graduate Development Strategies - Part 3

Best Practice Graduate Development Strategies

In a four part series, the team at DBL have put together a comprehensive ‘best practice’ guide to graduate development. Although by no means exhaustive, the series is a great resource and useful ‘how-to’ for graduate managers both new to the industry, and for veterans looking for new or fresh ideas to enhance their existing program, enjoy!


The DBL Team

Part 3 – Your Graduate Development Framework

Great programs are designed on great frameworks.

There are some fantastic graduate development frameworks in our industry. We only have to look at diverse employers like Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), BHP Billiton, Brisbane City Council and Orica who were nominated in 2011 for best graduate development program in the industry (congratulations again to the team at APSC for the award!) as well as so many others to see awesome examples.

Our exposure to so many graduate development programs has told us one thing: successful programs are designed on a framework that strikes an ideal balance between the needs of the graduates, and the strategic requirements of the organisation. But beyond this, a clear framework provides graduates with a clear development path that enables them to track their progress as they make a successful transition into a professional career. At DBL, we call this process or ‘philosophy’ Enlighten, Engage, Empower.

We believe in the applicability of this philosophy and framework across industries so heavily, that it formed the basis of the hugely successful book "The Graduate Edge – how to make a successful transition to a professional career" released last year, which I’m sure the well read of you will instantly recognise; but don’t worry this isn’t a plug! Rather, some free advice from graduate development experts (we do this every day!) as to what a best practice framework should look like. Obviously some graduate programs will already have elements of the below in place, so take this our suggestion or thoughts on graduate development frameworks.

This philosophy is now used as the graduate training and development framework by more than 20 leading graduate employers around Australia.

So what is the framework?

Enlighten: to inspire graduates with the need and skills for self-awareness, understanding and growth.

Engage: to equip graduates to take ownership of career, relationships and influence within an organisation.

Empower: to prepare graduates for future leadership capability and success.

Based on this framework, here are 9 best practice graduate development areas with associated topics designed to enlighten, engage and empower your graduates in 2012.

Enlightening Graduates

1. Understand

Increasing self-awareness in the new working environment.

  • Understand self
  • Understand the organisation

2. Communicate

  • Communication styles
  • Communication methods

3. Connecting...

Connecting with people to start strong relationships at work.

  • Networking
  • Business etiquette
  • Communication in business

Engaging Graduates

4. Drive

Taking full responsibility for career and day-to-day success.

  • Performance reviews
  • Leveraging coaches and mentors
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving
  • Personal Productivity

5. Relate

Working effectively with leaders, managers and peers of all ages and backgrounds across the organisation.

  • Multi-generational mindsets at work
  • Having difficult conversations
  • Working in diverse teams

6. Influence

Increasing ability to influence individuals, groups and the wider organisation.

  • Developing a powerful personal brand
  • First-class presenting
  • Managing up

Empowering Graduates

7. Develop

Embracing change and innovation in the workplace.

  • Commencing the development process
  • Increasing personal and interpersonal awareness
  • Being a champion of change

8. Lead

Becoming an emerging leader with the right skills, beliefs and behaviours to go to the next level.

  • Leadership fundamentals
  • Today’s CEO’s and leadership
  • Developing the leader within
  • Choosing a leadership path
  • People vs technical leader

9. Excel

Equipping managers and leaders to lead graduates effectively in order to build strong relationships and retention.

  • First-class stakeholder management
  • Career resilience
  • Making authentic career decisions
  • Putting it into action…the 90 day challenge

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