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Are Recently Hired Graduates Lost in Transition?

May 31, 2016
  • Workplace

We’ve all heard the negative stereotype surrounding Millennials…entitled, lazy, do-gooders who can’t put down their smart phones. We’ve also heard the positive stereotype of this generation….tech-savvy, adaptable employees who look for meaning in their work and openly seek to collaborate with peers. Millennials now make up the largest generation in the workforce, leaving employers scratching their heads as to how to attract and retain these workers who seem to challenge the traditional norms of “work”.

KI and HOK set out to answer just this question. After speaking with HR professionals, employers and recent graduates we uncovered one, consistent truth, recently hired graduates are ‘lost in transition’.

Collegiate Design is the New Driver for Workplace Design

What does ‘lost in transition’ mean? Simply put, young workers struggle when transitioning from collegiate to corporate environments. Young employees come from college environments where they spend 4-6 years studying on campuses that accommodate every work style imaginable. Fast forward to the corporate world and many are faced with inflexible work environments and a dissimilar culture. During our research, a first-year analyst at a top communications company put it plainly, “The thing that keeps me up at night is going to sit in my cubicle farm on Monday morning.”

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As the race for talent rages, organizations would be wise to step back and take a closer look at collegiate design; what we believe will become the new driver for workplace design. Here are several ways organizations can create workplace environments that take a cue from collegiate design:

  • Leverage technology. Provide workspaces that leverage technology and support e-learning. Young talent have come to expect the latest and greatest tech resources.
  • Incorporate shared workspaces. Allocate more square footage for collaborative, conference and third space areas. This allows employees to choose how and where they work.
  • Ask for input. When interviewing prospective employees, ask how they like to work and compare notes. This will be a key indicator as to whether or not the candidate is a fit for the work environment and culture.

For more insight into the work styles of recent college graduates, download KI’s white paper, “Collegiate Design: The New Driver for Workplace Design”.

by Jonathan Webb  Director of Workplace & Healthcare Markets

Jonathan Webb leads KI’s strategic business units for workplace/private sector and healthcare. Jonathan studies workplace and healthcare trends, uncovers product gaps, and develops solutions with the KI team. Jonathan takes part in advanced workplace and corporate training strategies and documents his findings through white papers, articles, and other publications. His recent publications, Understanding Active Design: The Rise of Human Sustainability and Collegiate Design: The New Driver for Workplace Design, have put Jonathan in the media spotlight. Partnering with thought leaders like AECOM, his publications cover diverse subjects including sit/stand benefits, designing training environments, and defining work styles. Jonathan holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh School of Business and is a LEED-accredited professional.


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