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Craft a winning early careers strategy for graduates and apprentices with video storytelling

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Demand for graduate and apprenticeship programmes is growing but is your early careers strategy enough to keep up with the competition? 71% employers see graduate retention as their biggest challenge over the next decade and with continuous growth in the market, now’s the time to level up your early careers recruitment and retention.

Most organisations understand the need for an early careers strategy. But as the talent landscape evolves, relying on the same old approaches won’t get the results your organisation or your young talent needs. The best graduate and apprenticeship development strategies use employee video stories to attract and retain the next generation.

These digital natives are savvy when it comes to video, even more so with user-generated content. It’s a format they’re familiar with in their personal lives. And, by bringing in video stories and experiences from past, present and potential employees into the early careers journey, organisations can build trust and authenticity in their professional lives too. Whether it’s early careers engagement, advocacy, learning, career development and more, this peer influence leads to better outcomes in your early careers programmes.

Interested to see how video storytelling can help you craft a winning early careers strategy? Let’s dive in!

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Why organisations need an early careers strategy

The transformation of the workforce and a global count of 75 million baby boomers retiring sooner rather than later accentuates the need for a strategic focus on early talent acquisition. Doing so now will make sure you have a dynamic and sustainable workforce for the future.

To understand the importance of a comprehensive graduate and apprenticeship development strategy, it’s essential to examine this from those at the start of their career journey and from an organisational perspective.

 

Benefits of an early careers strategy for job seekers and new recruits

Job seekers and new recruits significantly benefit when an organisation has an effective early careers strategy:

 

      • Better career development: a good apprenticeship or graduate development strategy provides a structured environment allowing employees to develop essential skills and knowledge for their chosen career path.
      • Gain relevant experience: work experience, internships, and apprenticeships offer people the opportunities for real-world experience.
      • Increased engagement and satisfaction: recruits who feel more supported and valued are more likely to achieve job satisfaction.
      • Visible career progression: obvious paths for career progression help recruits envisage and work towards their goal.
      • Mentorship: guidance from an experienced colleague provides the support many new recruits need to thrive and achieve long-term career success.

Benefits of early careers strategies for organisations

Establishing an effective early careers strategy yields myriad advantages for organisations, influencing both internal dynamics and external perceptions. While they are multifaceted and bespoke to each organisation, these benefits mostly fall into three categories:

 

      • Attract top talent: organisations draw in exceptional talent, essential for their future growth and success. It also helps create a pipeline of skilled employees aligned with the organisation’s future talent needs.
      • Increase retention: investing in early career development can increase loyalty, reduce turnover and lower associated costs.
      • Enhance reputation: showing commitment to future talent makes a huge positive impact on an organisation’s reputation, making it more attractive to prospective new recruits.
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Diagram of the benefits of early careers strategy – The career innovation company

Challenges faced by organisations in attracting and retaining early careers talent

According to ISE research, graduate vacancies grew 6% in 2022/23 and jobs are forecast to grow by a similar rate (5%) in 2023/24. But intense competition means many companies are struggling to make their early careers programmes stand out.

Some of the typical challenges organisations must address to attract and retain early career talent include:

Career growth

While early careers programmes offer immense potential, fostering true career growth within them can be tricky. Challenges like limited exposure, inadequate learning, unclear guidance, and even budget constraints can leave promising minds stuck in silos. Without tailored development programmes, transparent career paths, and regular feedback, organisations risk stalling their brightest talent.

Learning and development

Generic training, mentorship mismatches, vague career paths and data blindness fuels skill gaps, hinders improvement and limits opportunities. Providing career-aligned pathways, data-driven optimisation and a culture of learning can ignite the potential within early talent and illuminate the path to future success.

Workforce priorities and expectations

Lots of research indicates younger generations have different priorities. Concerns about cost of living, unemployment, work-life balance and climate change are top of mind. Graduates and young talent are also prioritising diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a job seeking factor. According to HR World, early career candidates want to see and understand company values and commitment to DEI to help how they make career choices.

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Showcasing culture

Organisations often struggle to authentically convey their true company culture in a manner that resonates with early careers talent. As a socially conscious generation, they seek genuine insights and are sensitive to perceived inauthenticity or marketing spin.

Effective onboarding

New starters often want an onboarding experience that is not only informative but also engaging. And, the need to balance comprehensive training and integration processes with these expectations is essential. Organisations must create a sense of belonging and connection, especially for those who work in a remote or hybrid environment.

Wellbeing

Stress and anxiety levels remain at an all-time high, and burnout is on the rise. Particularly among young job seekers. Nearly half of Gen Zs (46%) and four in 10 millennials (39%) say they feel stressed or anxious at work all or most of the time, according to the 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey. This not only impacts productivity of the employee but also an organisation’s ability to retain talent.

Organisations need to rethink how they tackle these challenges. And one impactful approach companies are turning to in order to succeed is employee video storytelling and early careers stories.

 

Tackle these challenges with employee video storytelling

Storytelling transcends the simple exchange of information. Grounded in behavioural science and neuroscience, storytelling is a strategic tool. Stories help us make sense of our world, transform knowledge, hone skills and unify us around a shared purpose, helping us to thrive in the face of change.

And, when it comes to sharing these stories on video, the messenger is really important. Hearing from someone relatable, who we trust is more likely to influence our behaviour. This is why employee video stories are so impactful. They show the way. They provide context.

Captured in the form of user-generated video, it’s a key tactic to developing effective early career strategies that benefits job seekers, new starters and organisations.

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Video storytelling benefits for early careers talent

Including employee video storytelling in your early talent strategy has several benefits for new starters, as well as those looking for graduate and apprenticeship positions. The main benefits include:

Building authenticity and trust

Sharing video stories from employee advocates is an excellent way to demonstrate authenticity and build trust through real experience.

Creating connection and channelling peer influence

People relate to the real experiences and stories shared by their peers, making the content more meaningful and relatable. And stories from employees who have recently been through early career programs can offer relatable guidance and tips, making the transition smoother for new recruits.

Real insights into company culture

Provides authentic insights into the work environment, helping people better understand the company they’re joining.

Learning and development

Employee storytelling can be an effective tool for sharing knowledge and experiences, providing new hires with valuable learning opportunities with real-life scenarios and advice from experienced colleagues.

 

Video storytelling benefits for organisations

When it comes to including video storytelling in your graduate and apprenticeship development strategies, organisational benefits include:

Young talent retention

Using video storytelling sparks curiosity, fuels engagement, and supercharges knowledge transfer, fostering a dynamic learning culture where young people flourish. The result? Lower attrition, increased engagement and a brimming talent pipeline.

Internal mobility

With a diverse range of stories, employee journeys, day-in-the-life snippets and testimonials, you allow people to envisage their future career with your organisation. This helps boost internal mobility as employees look to move from their early careers onto more senior positions.

Young talent recruitment

By showcasing authentic employee stories and demystifying career paths, video storytelling reduces candidate anxiety and increases excitement. It can also paint a vibrant picture of your organisation, showcasing company culture and attracting top minds who align with your values.

With the right tools, user-generated video can also help lower recruitment costs – if more employees stay because they can see and access the right opportunities for growth, retention will be higher resulting in less need to recruit.

 

Top tips for creating impact with video storytelling in your early careers strategy

Levelling up your early careers strategy with video storytelling requires a purposeful approach. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Have a clear goal in mind

Starting with a clear goal makes sure your stories are focused, relevant and directly addressing specific objectives such as employee engagement, onboarding effectiveness or communication. This focus helps in creating impactful narratives that resonate with the target audience.

Engage existing early careers participants to share their stories

When asking your early careers participants to share their stories on video, focus on giving them a reason to share as well as the confidence and means to do so:

 

      • Tap into what people care about – communicate the ‘why,’ provide context and outlining the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).
      • Help them overcome imposter syndrome – show them they have what it takes.
      • Give them the tools that will guide them into sharing something that’s valuable.

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Provide scaffolding

Provide people with scaffolding to help them create on-topic, concise video stories that hit the mark. This is where technology makes a big difference. Tools like StoryTagger provide prompts and frameworks to enable your creators to deliver relevant stories.

Keep scalability in mind

Stories from your people are powerful and it’s likely you’ll want to scale how you capture stories so you can use this most effective tactic time and time again. Use the right technology to allow you to capture stories from anyone, anywhere whilst saving time and money on traditional production costs.

Be inclusive

Promote real stories from employees with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, not just those who shout the loudest. With DEI issues top of mind for your early careers talent, this makes sure your company’s commitment is reflected and everyone has a story to relate to.

Support your strategy by leveraging technology that can be tailored to early careers, such as StoryTagger. The platform allows you to build custom narratives from scratch or choose from ready-made templates that fit perfectly with your early career goals.

 

How to use stories in your apprenticeship and graduate development strategies

Many of our customers use video storytelling to support early careers. Get inspired on how you can incorporate them into your strategies with these two customer stories:

Kennedy’s Law – employee stories to attract early careers talent

Kennedys, a global law firm, effectively utilises video storytelling in their early careers and apprenticeship programs to attract and develop diverse talent. Capturing real stories from their second year paralegals, they leverage public campaigns like National Apprenticeship Week to share stories around the apprenticeship experience, industry insights, skills learned, and future goals.

These stories are then shared across their platforms, including social media channels to connect with the next generation of apprentices in a powerful and authentic way. See the stories they share.

Having used StoryTagger to support our early careers and apprentices, it’s user-friendly and a great way to show what it’s like to work and progress at Kennedys
Abbie Pople
HR Assistant, Kennedys Law

The British Library – making the candidate journey more inclusive

To create an inclusive candidate journey, the British Library utilised StoryTagger to capture authentic video insights and experiences from current and past apprentices, as well as managers. Employee stories gave early careers candidates a glimpse into what it’s like to work at the British Library by hearing about the learning on offer and meeting the team plus interview tips and more.

This helped level the playing field for each candidate leading to higher quality interviews, a more inclusive and informative recruitment process, and most importantly the successful recruitment of a new cohort of apprentices. Read how the British Library did this.

Final thoughts

As the search for skilled young professionals becomes more competitive, organisations are forced to use innovative approaches to make their early careers strategies work.

Whilst video storytelling isn’t new, capturing employee stories on video is fast becoming one of the most effective ways to elevate your early careers programmes. It builds authenticity and trust through relatable, peer-influenced narratives and has the power to improve retention, recruitment and more.

To find out how your organisation can attract, retain and empower the next generation of professionals, book a demo.

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