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Nurturing graduates to become high performing team members

Divina Paredes | Jan. 22, 2015
Aderant kicked off a graduate program five years ago. William Davis, head of NZ operations for the legal software provider, talks about lessons learned on how both sides – the graduates and the enterprise – benefit from the program.

William Davis, Aderant

"Start them in projects that can progressively get more complicated depending upon their capability," he says, is another approach that works.

"The reality is with good mentors and good guidance, people cope with everything else," he states.

"If you hire smart people, they quickly adopt patterns of what they are stepping into," he adds.

Davis compares the graduates to the new kid in school. They walk in and absorb what is going on, so they become effective reasonably quickly.

"I have had many people in that program effectively reinvent parts of our organisation as a result of the projects they take on," he says. "They then become resident experts in that area of the business."

This is unlike the classic approach to internship where he says, "you might do six months carrying bricks, [and] after that you are allowed to pick up a hammer".

"After six months, I expect them to be fully functioning members, and I can transfer them between teams.

He says taking in the graduates also encourages a different team dynamic.

"You end up with more senior people interacting more with the whole team and that has really helped with the whole agile team behaviour and everything else."


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