Almost all (100%) managers value reliability, ability to collaborate, and a learning mindset as the three core skills that a new employee must have in order to be successful at work. However, in contrast, an astonishing 97% of new employees believed intelligence to be the top skill they needed, with resilience cited by 83%, and honesty by a distant 60%.
These are the findings of the Great Expectations survey, conducted by Harappa, an online learning institution for behavioural, social, and cognitive skills.
The survey, which covered 56 reporting managers and 72 young professionals across seven industries, indicates the considerable mismatch between the skill expectations of managers and freshers.
For HR leaders and reporting managers, hiring new employees has a unique set of challenges. This is especially true when they are recruiting young and fresh graduates into their companies.
Whether a new recruit will be able to meet the job requirements and justify what is on their CV, whether they will be able to emotionally integrate into the larger culture of the company – such questions are a constant source of anxiety for HR personnel as well as reporting managers.
For a young employee just entering the job market, the transition from campus to career is a massive change, too. Undoubtedly, they carry with them certain notions about the skills that are essential to achieving success at work without having them validated through a reality check.
From the point of view of reporting managers, that none of the new recruits cited eagerness to learn among the top 10 must-have skills was a glaring miss.
Among top five attributes mentioned by both managers and employees, only intelligence, reliability and collaborative ability were found to be common, with the other two being eagerness to learn and resilience by managers, and honesty and cheerfulness by fresh recruits.
Managers prioritised certain attributes over others depending on the nature and functional area of the sector they worked in.
For instance, while IT and manufacturing put a premium on intelligence, startups gave more importance to resilience. In fact, 100% of reporting managers in GIC/GCC, pharma, services and startup sectors valued resilience in a new employee.
Importantly, problem-solving was considered as an essential prerequisite by 75% of managers in retail, 63% in manufacturing and 50% in FMCG and GCC/GIC sectors.
When asked how confident they were about meeting their managers’ expectations, 43% of employees displayed confidence at work, while 37% of managers admitted to being confident about bridging the skill gap in their fresh recruits. Notably, 51% of women expressed more confidence over only 29% of the men.
“Understanding and accepting this mismatch of expectations between managers and new hires is the first step to creating pathways for a more productive workplace for new employees from day one. Now that we know that eagerness to learn or the lack of it has been that big disconnect between managers and employees’ expectations, companies would do well to fine-tune their hiring and onboarding strategies accordingly. This would help them make that perfect hire, thereby leading to workplace productivity from day one itself,” said Shreyasi Singh, founder & CEO, Harappa.
“The fact that young women professionals have exuded higher confidence in meeting expectations as compared to men also shows that as a society we are evolving for the better,” she added.