From Wingspan Guest Blogger Lisa McGill, VP of Human Resources:
An article titled The Curse of the Class of 2009 published in the Wall Street Journal caught my particular attention recently. As the VP of Human Resources at Brocade, I am very empathetic to those individuals who are ready to enter the workforce. The article does a nice job of highlighting their challenges.
However, I believe that the most successful companies need to continue to invest in talent while executing to long-term business strategies during economic slumps. Our University Program enables Brocade to do both. Last year we launched our University Program to help execute on an ambitious company initiative to supplement our employee base with the best and brightest college graduates coming out of the top universities. Despite the tough economic climate, we are bucking the trend that the Wall Street Journal article talks about by continuing to consider, hire and develop amazing talent. Brocade immediately optimizes its talent through an intense, month-long development program that features customized training, mentorships, as well as very competitive compensation to ensure that these recruits are hired and retained for the long-term. And it’s working. In the program’s first full year of inception in 2008, we added 75 new college grads. In 2009, our goal is to continue to consider, hire and develop qualified college graduates as part of the University Program.
With all of the talent that’s currently available out there, why hire college graduates? Simply put, we view it as a strategic initiative to continue to foster innovation which enables us to grow and stay ahead of the competition. We certainly do not view new college graduates as unskilled, or “cheap labor”. Nor do we subscribe to the philosophy that lack of work experience renders a candidate "unqualified." We believe we are as fortunate to hire these talented, motivated individuals as they are to work for us.
In fact, Brocade’s ability to buck this negative employment trend caught the attention of KGO-TV (ABC Channel 7) this week and they were more than eager to report some good job-related news for a change. Camera crews spent several hours onsite at Brocade filming Brocade’s college new hire class on their first day on the job and Brocade’s CEO welcoming the new hire class. Click here to see the full version of the clip.