Advice for Businesses

How Businesses Can Retain Graduates and Attract Gen-Z Employees

The younger workforce who are beginning to start their careers in graduate roles are part of Generation Z. Although there are both positive and negative stereotypes about this newest generation of workers, organisations who are accommodating this growing workforce need to adopt a retention plan in order to maintain their competitiveness (Source).

So why do businesses need to implement graduate retention plans?

The cost of employee turnover is high and continues to grow. With many graduates showing promise of becoming great candidates for job roles, human resources need to develop strategies to remain competitive.

In the 2020 Deloitte Millennial and Gen Z survey, almost half (48%) of Gen Z respondents stated that they were stressed all or most of the time. So, what is the largest cause of that stress? Job and career prospects…

This data shows a need for organisations to value their Gen Z graduate workforce. Below are some examples of ways in which business may retain talented graduates.

Keep Graduates Engaged

To increase graduate satisfaction and retention, the need for businesses to create meaningful duties is of paramount importance.

Research previously conducted suggests that there is a relationship between meaningful work, performance, and retention of employees. Highly engaged graduates were twice as likely to remain and build a career at a business. So how can you keep graduates engaged in meaningful work? Here are some ideas:

  • Setup a weekly one-on-one where performance is evaluated
  • Support graduates on owning their own projects
  • Graduates have a passion for personal growth, let them shadow senior employees
  • Introduce them to other employees to grow their network

Mentor and Develop

Gen Z have also overtaken Millennials in being the generation most interested in leaving their companies, with 50% wanting to change their jobs within the next two years.

The top reasons why graduates felt dissatisfied, besides being poorly remunerated for their work was that there were not enough opportunities to advance their career, and there was a lack of learning and development opportunities.

A way to combat graduates being dissatisfied with their job is to incorporate a mentoring programme. The opportunities that mentoring programmes offer in the development of graduates may reap many rewards for an organisation by gaining the ability to shape and mould their graduates for filling future roles. Benefits of mentoring graduates include:

  • Increased confidence
  • Higher self awareness
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Increased aspiration for the future

These benefits help retain graduates as they set the employee on the path of development, building a strong foundation for personal growth and career progression.

Read More: Why Mentoring is Important

Offer Benefits

Research concluded that current graduates are amongst the worlds most worried generation for unseen financial risks such as illness, disability and uncovered medical costs.

As well as this, 49% of the millennial workforce said retirement was an important factor for selecting their current job (source). Therefore, companies could incorporate some of the following perks and benefit plans to retain their younger workers:

  • Medical plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Health and wellness plans
  • Mental health plans
  • Exercise subscriptions
  • Cycle to work schemes

It’s also worth noting that Gen Z are the most environmentally conscious generation, so organisations should consider eco-friendly benefits to help support a sustainable workplace.

These benefits will also contribute to supporting graduates’ mental health as there is an external support offering. Mental health of employees during COVID-19 must be of paramount importance for organisations whose employees are working from home.

Promote a healthy work-life balance

With statistics showing that graduates suffer from anxiety due to stress levels increasing, businesses must provide a healthy, flexible work-life balance.

This can be done by providing employees the option to work from home, create a platfomr to openly discussing mental health and stress, and bring attention to focusing on personal happiness and wellbeing.

With COVID-19 forcing many employees to work from home, companies are realising the change in productivity and the overall increase in employee satisfaction. Many organisations are planning to remain flexible by allowing employees to continue to work from home going forward.

Talk to your graduate employees to find out what is important to them, and what they value from a company culture. You can then implement work-life balance initiatives to keep your Gen Z employees happy and healthy at work.

It has always been of key importance for businesses to construct retention plans in order to attract and retain top talent. But with Gen Z offering a new set of values and priorities, and 2020 having shaken up the world of work, it’s time for organisations to revisit how they’re retaining their graduates.

Benefits of Mentoring 

5 Ways to Support Employee Mental Health While WFH

Only 6% of employees were working from home pre-lockdown, which quickly rose to 46.6% in April 2020, a huge shock to the system for the majority of people.

69% of UK adults are currently worried about the negative impact of Covid-19. There has also been an increase in adults who’ve never previously experienced poor mental health, now finding themselves struggling.

While the world is learning to adapt and respond to changes brought on by Covid-19, World Mental Health Awareness week 2022 is themed around ‘loneliness’ and serves as a reminder that we all need to take care of one another, as well as working on our own mental health and social networks.

Find out more about how to embed mentoring in your diversity and inclusion initiatives with Guider

This article explores how businesses can support their employees’ mental health, and continue on the track of positive growth and development.

1. Ensure Open Communication for Returning to the Office

CIPD found that employee anxiousness was lower when staff felt their employers adequately consulted them about workplace measures for their return. However, 62% of employees felt anxious about returning due to lack of consultation. The UK Government has put in place a series of guidance articles to help you decide which steps to take to ensure the wellbeing of employees.

CIPD suggests that employers should ask three questions before returning to the workplace:

  • Is it essential?
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it mutually agreed?

Fears can be reduced and alleviated when employees feel heard and employers clearly communicate why employees must return. Fears can also be reduced by putting in place effect measures. Some workplaces have made the process of returning gradual with flexible scheduling, allowing employees who use public transport to travel outside of rush hour and limiting the number of days inside the office.

Employees ultimately want to be heard. Acknowledge and empathise with their concerns and work with them to develop a plan of action that’s best suited for the workplace to help improve employee mental health.

2. Create a Supportive Environment

WFH has seen the end of the casual “water-cooler chatter,” according to Insider.

As humans are social, small-talk is good for us. It inspires creativity, leads to deeper discussions, allows us to share a connection and ultimately improves our mental well-being. Supportive work environments improve employee mental health by reducing stress and allowing creativity and productivity to flourish.

Employers can support employees by filling in these communication gaps with social events like virtual lunches, coffee breaks and drinks. Employing the use of instant messaging platforms such as Slack, Discord and Microsoft Teams, and setting up channels for a casual chats between colleagues and team members.

Appointing mental health champions gives employees a space to discuss and work through any issues. Their goal is to help you educate employees and managers on mental health, challenge the stigma, and raise awareness.

Another way to raise awareness and create a supportive environment is to put together a mental health training programme. Effective mental health awareness training educates employees and managers on mental health, they’ll understand how to maintain their own mental well-being, while also looking out for signs that their colleagues may need help.

Training doesn’t need to fall by the wayside because of lack of face to face interaction. Online mentoring software offers flexibility for staff and can be an effective way to track and monitor their growth and progress.

Ensuring you have effective and supportive training and onboarding programmes can also reduce the rate of new hires quitting, due to the level of guidance offered. Prioritising employee mental health from the offset can therefore benefit retention and loyalty.

3. Virtual Training & Mentoring

In the hectic move from in-office to virtual work environments, many workplaces found it difficult to keep track and ensure employee development.

Companies such as Marks & Spencer have improved employee engagement through virtual mentoring programmes, as mentees develop more self assurance. They’ve also experienced a positive impact on mental health of employees, feeling a sense of community and belonging through mentoring:

Creating a mentoring programme improves employee mental health by ensuring that isolated employees have an avenue to communicate with mentors, discuss how they are adapting, and even help them discover solutions to work related stress issues. This is particularly important in the case of mentoring graduate students who may be entering the workforce for the first time.

63% of adults in the UK are worried about the impact Covid-19 will have on their future. Mentoring helps alleviate fears by helping employees set and achieve development goals, giving them a clear vision of what they can achieve, ultimately boosting their self confidence.

Mentoring Software


4. Put Together a Wellness Action Plan

A wellness action plan sets guidelines on how to best support everybody’s physical and mental health. In this plan, you set objectives for employees to follow, and clarify the support and guidance available.It helps employees and management identify workplace or day to day triggers, and can be the push they need to finally identify and combat any personal mental health issues. These practical steps help you to create a company culture of education, support and empathy.

Action plans can include a list of definitions of relevant terms, such as ‘mental health’ and ‘vulnerable groups’, creating a universal understanding regarding discussion points. It should also contain tips on how employees can take care of their mental health, such as effective time planning and remembering to take a break.

You should talk about who they can contact if they’re experiencing any issues. Is there a mental health champion? Do they have access to an employee assistance program? Advice on how to bring up their issues with their manager and what to expect.

As mentioned in a previous section, people feel less anxious when they are heard. Discuss with employees where they think the company is lacking in terms of mental health support and education. Use this to inform an action plan for the company’s leadership. Let employees know what changes will be made, why, and what issues they will solve. have written effective wellness action plans for employees, team leaders and those working from home that you can download or use as inspiration for your own plan.

5. Remind your Employees to Take Breaks

Finally, with virtual working in place and entire offices being relegated to a corner desk, employees may be spending more time inside and sitting down.

We’re no longer stretching our legs around the office, or taking a walk to our favourite sandwich shop for lunch. Remaining sedentary takes a toll on employee mental health as it increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

Spending too long on the computer can cause eye strain. Talking a walk and stretching increases blood flow to the brain, improves moods and boosts creativity. Walking in nature especially reduces stress, this could be especially useful for employees with children who need time outside to blow off some steam.

Experts suggest setting a phone reminder every hour to 90 minutes to ensure that employees give themselves an opportunity to stretch, encourage blood flow and clear their minds.

As the world changes, we’re all looking for new ways to adapt. Technology can help to alleviate some of these issues but it’s human connection that makes it most effective.

While some people see work as a way to get through certain issues, others may find it hard to adapt. By encouraging open communication among employees, you can ensure that your employees will see a reduction in anxiousness.

This way we can create a more productive, communicative and happy workforce.

This article is summarised in the infographic below:

Source: NCC Learning
Advice for Businesses

How to Measure the Success of a Mentoring Program

Mentoring programmes in the workplace have many benefits, from increasing retention, to diversity in leadership, to supporting mental health.

But a business won’t know that they’re impacting any of those areas unless their mentoring programmes are measurable.

Learning and Development initiatives like mentoring are traditionally difficult to measure due to their qualitative nature. This can result in them either: getting de-prioritised in favour of more data-driven programmes, or businesses not really ever knowing the success of their mentoring programmes.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Before any business sets out to run a mentoring programme, they need to have their key objectives and KPIs outlined. In other words, they need to know what success looks like and what the key metrics are that will help measure that success.

If you’re starting out with workplace mentoring programmes, take a quick read of our step by step guide: How To Start A Mentoring Programme before getting into the metrics‍

Key metrics to measure the success of a mentoring programme

There are multiple things to track throughout a mentoring programme, and some metrics will vary depending on the organisation, and the type of mentoring programme being run.

The key metrics can be broken down into roughly three groups:

Engagement Metrics

Are people engaged with the mentoring programme? This measurement area would include metrics such as:

  • Number of sign ups
  • Number of active mentoring relationships
  • Number of mentoring sessions
  • Number of hours mentoring
  • Number of actions set / notes taken

Progress Metrics

Are participants making progress in the areas they set out to? This measurement area would include metrics such as:

  • Number of goals set
  • Number of goals achieved
  • Personal satisfaction score
  • External feedback (i.e a manager reporting an improvement)

Business Objectives

Has the programme improved the business areas you were aiming to improve? Such as retaining talent, or succession planning. This measurement area would include metrics such as:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Retention rates
  • Promotion rates
  • Performance ratings
  • Participation rates

All of these metrics are important to measure the success of a mentoring programme, and using a mentoring software will make it much easier to track each of them.‍

How to collect data from a mentoring programme

The metrics above require a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The most practical way of measuring these are with:


Utilise online surveys to get an idea of personal opinions and perceptions, such as levels of enthusiasm towards the company, or satisfaction with career development. Where possible use scoring systems for these types of questions to make your data quantitative, i.e:

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being very and 1 being not at all), how satisfied do you feel with your career development over time at [organisation]?

Writing survey questions like this will also make them quicker to fill out, meaning that more people are likely to complete them. The more data the better when it comes to measuring the success of the mentoring programme.

However for certain metrics requiring written data, such as personal improvement, or mentoring relationship feedback, a qualitative survey will provide a detailed overview to accompany the numbers.

Naturally, writing, distributing and collating survey responses in a huge task. And so using a mentoring software which incorporates feedback and surveying into the platform saves programme managers a lot of time.

Organisational HR Data

For organisational data such as retention and promotion rates, ensure you’re collaborating with the correct HR team to track participants journeys within the company.

These metrics naturally take longer to gather, and so it’s easy to forget about them after a specific programme ends. But if 90% of new joiners who are assigned a mentor stay longer than those who were not assigned a mentor, that is a clear indicator of success.

Ensuring the long-term organisational data is collected over time is crucial to measuring the success of any mentoring programme.

Mentoring Software

A lot of mentoring programme engagement metrics, such as number of mentoring relationships and sessions, are difficult to have visibility over without mentoring software.

It would require the programme manager to follow up individually with participants to find out how often they are meeting. All it would take is for a few people to not respond, to throw the figures out and lose sight of the success of the programme.

Guider Mentoring Software will automatically track these metrics, saving lots of time and resources. No spreadsheets needed.

The ROI of Mentoring Ebook download

Reporting success of a mentoring programme

The purpose of measuring mentoring programmes and collecting all of this data, is to report success and demonstrate the impact it’s had.

It’s also important to report this information in an accessible way. Sheets and sheets of data won’t mean a lot to a senior manager who’s had little involvement with the programme. Make sure to present this data in a way that’s clear and digestible to show ROI.

Loop back to the top objectives of the programme in the first place, such as ‘retain graduate talent’, and use the survey and organisational data to demonstrate the results. This can obviously be done manually by assembling graphs and infographics, but is much quicker and easier with the use of a mentoring platform that does it for you.

Reporting will vary depending on the type of mentoring programme. Some have a set timeframe to reach a set objective, while others are ongoing as a permanent feature of the company culture. Consider how this will affect the frequency and detail of reporting when starting your mentoring programme.

In order to make mentoring a crucial part of any organisation, we need data to back it up and demonstrate the value.‍

Before running your next programme, make sure you know exactly how you will measure its success, or book a demo to find out how Guider can help.