For a moment, let’s put aside the urge to give fresh graduates, or even new teammates, our two cents worth of advice or nuggets of wisdom on how to make it in their new surroundings. In the Philippines where the hierarchical culture in companies still exist, executives tend to believe that they know better than entry-level employees. However, this may not be necessarily true. There are a lot of things that young, fresh and open minds can bring to the table and to the culture of a company. This time, as company “veterans," we can ask, “What lessons can these newbies, particular fresh graduates, teach me?”
Just in case you are worried that the opportunity to receive some fresh sense of perspective won’t stop anytime soon, chances are you're right. Your organization will be in on yet another big batch of graduates to learn from, if last year’s total number of graduates – 553,706 graduates according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – are any indication. That can answer your need for continuing education, right?
The Muse’s Avery Augustine runs down a number of lessons that can potentially boost your career standing:
1. Never stop asking the hard (and obvious) questions
Working in the same organization for years can make one accustomed to the process that the company has used all those years. It’s as if employees have gradually stopped asking important questions of the evaluative nature, with everyone apparently deciding to “just go with the flow.” Newbies, particularly new teammates and/or fresh graduates – can approach, or more appropriately, see things with a “beginner’s mind.” These folks ask the most obvious questions due to curiosity. Yes, you can throw around the “Filipinos are usually the shy type when it comes to asking questions” card but the bigger lesson here emphasizes that even tenured workers must maintain the mentality of “What could our team be doing better?” as a means to improve their performance and processes.
2. Don’t be afraid to take risks
Fresh graduates can be idea generation programs by themselves. They can offer new ideas and when given the chance, can share it to the team and their bosses. Commonly, once people get used to their role and its surroundings, Augustine suggests that things like innovation and creativity take a vacation. Fresh graduates, when given empowerment, can deliver the element of approaching a project without any preconceived rules or biases in mind, making them open to more possibilities and solutions. Filipinos have a lot of potential to be crazy good leaders, but a lot of them are too afraid to oppose their bosses' ideas since the culture is indirect by nature. They should be given the right environment to speak up and to express what they think without being criticized. Who knows, they might come up with an idea crazy enough that it would work.
3. There’s no time to waste
Filipinos are well known to be hard-working, but years of working at the same company may take its toll on a person. Beware of the dangers of complacency and increasing lack of productivity. Fresh graduates are usually on fire, and work their tail off, especially because they are initially trying to prove that they can contribute to the team. They check with their teammates if help is needed to accomplish certain things once they have wrapped up their own list. The lesson, according to Augustine, is to stay hungry (and not in a be-early-at-the-canteen kind of way). Be on the lookout for new ways to share your talent to the company, especially for added tasks and responsibilities available for the taking. It’s that kind of initiative that can still get you noticed.
Ready to take them in? What other lessons do you feel can fresh graduates impart to experienced employees? Let us get the discussion going in the comments below. For now, school is in session, not only for the fresh graduates at your office, but by these same people who can serve as your teachers as well.