Asking ‘Why? Why? Why?’… irritating or enlightening?
In many HR teams across Australia, this year’s graduates are just starting to settle in – they’ve learned everyone’s names, are beginning to relax and have a joke, and are even (probably) getting the hang of all the acronyms!
There are so many reasons to get excited about having new graduates in your team; it’s not just that they’re another set of hands bringing with them the latest industry knowledge and best practice approaches. And it’s not just that they bring a new burst of energy that can energise the whole team.
One benefit that’s often overlooked is actually a graduate’s propensity to ask questions – including the dreaded ‘Why?’ that can trigger a shudder in any veteran parent. But if we can wrestle that impulse to provide the obvious answer to the ground and sit on it, and instead try to be thoughtful in our responses, we may just uncover little nuggets of wisdom. Why? Because their questions can be the catalyst for seeing something in a new and different light.
Working closely with the same systems and processes day after day, it can become difficult to recognise where there’s room for improvement. Because of this, welcoming teammates with little-to-no background knowledge, fresh perspectives and child-like curiosity can be a fantastic opportunity to identify unnecessary irritations and take action on these areas.
Take the APS HR Graduate program – questions and feedback from the 2020 cohort drastically changed how program training was delivered. It prompted testing to find the right balance between theory and practice, and guest speakers and graduate discussions, to keep energy and engagement levels high. It also resulted in the training evolving over the course of the year from a full-day online session to two three-hour segments broken up over two days. Not bad, right?
So why not make the most of these valuable new additions to our teams as we warmly welcome all 36 of the 2021 HR graduates to the public service and our Stream? Working across Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Geelong, our new team members are based in 19 different home agencies that represent the valuable and varied services that the APS provides: from finance to agriculture, defence to education. They will all have a lot to learn. But with our combined guidance and support, we can be justified in our high expectations for how the graduates contribute to the service and the profession.
Congratulations to the 2020 graduates for completing the first ever cross-APS graduate pilot program, and to the graduates of 2021 – welcome!