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Rejuvenating the organisation with a trainee: what are you getting yourself into?

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By Hetty van Ee

Managing Director ORMIT

Young talents are an incredible asset for your organisation. How do you select them and give them a challenging development path? And how do you keep them from spreading their wings and leaving your organisation upon finishing their traineeship? Hetty van Ee knows the pitfalls.

There's no such thing as forever young.

But organisations that recruit young top talent do show that they take change seriously. In this blog, I will address three common assumptions with regard to how trainees can help future-proof an organisation. Do you recognise them?

Future-proof. Sounds good, but what's it worth?

Traineeships are a well-known way to draw in young talent. Make sure to watch out for these two successive pitfalls. The first pitfall is selection, and the second is not investing enough in the development of your talent.

If you still select candidates based on their CV, knowledge or experience, you have to be careful. Our experience has taught us that it is not knowledge, but character and behaviour that will determine how successful your employees will actually be. After all, success always means being self-aware, taking one's responsibility, connecting, being driven and decisive, working well with others and inspiring others with your own enthusiasm and commitment. These character traits are great predictors of success, but they don't show on a CV!

An ideal trainee develops personal leadership skills

That's the compass that will let them connect with other people and the organisations they work for. This manifests itself in asking questions rather than making assumptions, involving colleagues, getting things done and encouraging people to go along with necessary change.

Developing personal leadership skills starts with self-awareness. Good traineeships will mainly help trainees develop this attribute, and well begun is half done. Our assessments are mainly focused on learning ability and other personal qualities that we know to be important for success. You might well call that a future-proof approach!.

"Developing personal leadership skills starts with self-awareness. Good traineeships will help trainees develop this attribute in particular."
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By Hetty van Ee

Managing Director

If they want to, they'll fly out again right away

That's all well and good, but do those top talents stay on after completing their traineeship? That's another question we hear regularly. On average, talents who start as a trainee remain at organisations for a longer amount of time than young professionals who were brought into the company in some other way. At ORMIT, we see that over 90 percent(!) of all our trainees enter into employment with one of our participants after their two-year traineeship. We also see that they continue to grow and develop within organisations after completing their traineeship. Another major plus is that they can bind others to the organisation as well.

Leadership, isn't that a tall ask?

That just depends on how you define leadership. For us, leadership lets people get the best out of themselves and challenge and encourage other people to do the same. They connect people to themselves, to the organisation's objectives and to each other. The formal role in which you develop these leadership skills isn't as important to us. A thorough traineeship lets people's leadership potential shine. The key ingredients for a good traineeship are challenging assignments, peer-coaching with other trainees, reflecting on one's own behaviour and personal leadership & coaching skills. Last but not least, a good employer, a real role model, is also needed. These elements reinforce each other and stimulate the personal and professional development of the trainees, and also create the so-called steep learning curve. This, in turn, has an infectious effect and brings organisations into motion.

Good traineeships are preferably co-created by the organisation and the traineeship specialist. This is the final success factor for creating support in the organisation and for the traineeship as a whole. Now you know what you're getting yourself into!