Towards a better understanding of graduate programmes and their organisational impact

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Graduate programmes grow in popularity amongst companies and individuals, and many companies use them as valuable HRM tools. Multiple studies are focused on graduate programmes, with many focusing on specific elements of these programmes or on the impact they have on the individual level, and to a lesser extent on the organisational level. Many benefits of these programmes are found for the individual participants, but still literature remains scarce about the benefits these programmes could have on the companies themselves. For this study, the graduate programme of a global logistics company is studied with the goal to analyse its impact on both the individuals, and the company as a whole, and therefore contributing to the scientific literature on the relationship between HRM and organisational performance. In order to achieve this goal, literature is reviewed on several topics. By analysing the current literature on the relationship between HRM and performance, a better understanding is developed about this relationship and its challenges. Furthermore, literature is studied on graduate programmes themselves and how they could be developed in order to be able to analyse the quality of a company’s graduate programme. Besides this, to be even better able to study the relationship between a graduate programme and its impact on the company, the four levels of evaluating a programme are reviewed. After this, interviews were conducted to gather data about the elements of the company’s graduate programme, the way it is structured, and about the impact it has on its participants and the company’s performance. When the data was collected, analysing it was the next step in order to answer this study’s research question. First the programme is described in detail to have a clear view of everything it includes and the factors that influence the programme. After this, all the benefits that are mentioned in the interviews are elaborated on in two parts. First the benefits are stated for the individual participants. It is found that the programme offers personal development, career development, extra opportunities, extra coaching, more networking, and a better understanding of the company. In the second part, the benefits on the organisational level are described. Four main benefits are found. First of all, the company is better able to attract talent. Secondly, the graduate programme contributes to the development of the entire workforce, therefore, as a third benefit, also playing a role in the enhancement of the operations efficiency. At last, the programme develops a pool of potential managers for in the future. After the benefits, critical comments given during the interviews are described as well. The report ends with the discussion of this research’s limitations and provides suggestions for future studies regarding the same topic.
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