How do I make my trainee program particularly attractive?

Today's trainees - tomorrow's managers! Here we present our top building blocks for successful trainee programs.

Author: Daniele Kilian

Published on: Last updated:

Categorie: HR Info

6 Min. Reading time:
Three young professionals stand bent over a statue and smile.

How do I make my trainee program particularly attractive?

In times of demographic change and a lack of skilled workers it is becoming important for employers to secure the next generation of employees within the company. “War of talent” and “Employer Branding” are important buzzwords, highlighting the outstanding challenges facing HR-departments today.

In order to appear as an attractive employer on the labor market and to meet the demand for executives, trainee programs have become an integral part of personnel development in many companies. The combination of theoretical studies and subsequent practical learning during a trainee program is an interesting concept not only for young managers, but also for the company itself. With the help of trainee programs, companies can fully exploit and further develop the existing potential of graduates instead of having to recruit suitable management successors at high cost.

Graduates often choose a trainee program rather than a direct entry in order to ensure a systematic career entry with attractive development possibilities and good career perspectives. However, there are no fixed specifications of how a trainee program must be structured, which is why they often differ greatly from one another. As a result, in addition to numerous good programs, there are unfortunately also a few black sheep, which in turn has had a negative impact on the reputation of traineeships. That’s why there is also the assumption that trainees are only better paid interns or cheap labor, who are offered few perspectives. It is therefore all the more important that a trainee program offers special incentives in order to convince potential applicants and win them over to the company.


Beine mit bunten Socken

But how can a trainee program be made particularly attractive?

Basically, a trainee program should be a balanced mix of day-to-day business, project work and further education. Participants should have the opportunity to get as many insights into the different areas of the company as possible and to find out their personal strengths. After all, today’s trainees are to become tomorrow’s junior executives!

In order to optimally combine professional and methodical competencies as well as personal and social competencies and at the same time to motivate the trainees during the entire duration of the program, we present here our Top 5 modules for trainee programs.

Ein Mann gestikuliert und erklärt seinem Team etwas.

Top 5 modules for trainee programs:

1. Integrate Job Rotation

In job rotation, employees perform different tasks in different departments in a given period. Before junior executives can become successful managers, they need to be well informed about the structure of the entire company.

Therefore, job rotation is a popular personnel development tool, especially in the hierarchical levels upstream of the management level. With this method, the employees get a better overview of processes and structures in the respective organization. Companies with several locations often also integrate a relocation or stay abroad into the trainee program.

This allows participants to better understand the interrelationships within a company and better track their business goals. Furthermore, the social behavior of the employees is promoted by constantly having to fit in and prove themselves in a new team.

2. Enable project work

Especially within the scope of trainee programs, project work is becoming more and more important nowadays. Usually project work is an on the job measure that is intended to encourage trainees to take responsibility within small, initial projects and to think across departments. Among other things, the following points play a major role:

  • The duration of a project should be adapted to the respective topic, but in practice it takes between three and six months.
  • During the project not only the project client should be in constant contact with the trainee, but also the mentor should be supportive.
  • The objectives of the trainee should be defined as specific, measurable, relevant and scheduled.
  • Achievement of goals after completion of the project can be discussed and evaluated with the trainee.

3. Implement mentoring

Especially for young junior mangers, such as trainees generally are, it is beneficial to designate a mentor as a personal contact person, who supports the trainees with any questions that arise and acts as an interface between HR manager and trainee.

The relationship between the mentor and the mentee should extend over the entire program and primarily develop and deepen the trainees’ skills. At the same time, however, the mentor should also provide support with personal and mental challenges and, in the best case, act as a coach. It is important that mentors, who are often managers at the top management level and thus “old hands,” are appropriately prepared for their task.

4. Offer further education training like business games

In addition to practical learning on the job, it is important to offer trainees additional development opportunities in order to further enhance their skills. Even if the technical studies have generally not been completed for too long, additional training should be made possible in which both technical and methodological as well as social and personal skills are trained and are thus an optimal supplement to the practical work. In general, it is therefore very important to be aware in advance of the goals to be achieved with a further training measure and what added value it offers in the context of the trainee program.

Business games are a good example of such training. Even if the trainees have already graduated from university and have received good technical training, a management game brings new opportunities and aspects for a good training.

Similar to the trainee program, a bridge is created between the theoretical knowledge acquired and its implementation in professional life. By managing their own virtual company, participants get to know different business areas and how they interact. They make content-based decisions for their company and recognize the benefits of these. Focusing on the company’s success, they are required to develop their own initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.

An online business game competition can therefore be easily integrated into a trainee program and offers career starters a challenging practical exercise for learning overall entrepreneurial understanding. Working in a team, they strengthen their management knowledge and experience the consequences of their entrepreneurial decisions in a realistic environment. They learn which internal and external factors have an influence on the economic success of a company. The focus is always on team-oriented, holistic networked thinking and action.

Since the participants compete against each other within a business game, a competitive situation is created. Within the team, decisions and considerations are made in such a way that all sub-areas of the company are included and the entire team takes responsibility for them. In this way, important networks can be created among each other. Creating networks is particularly important for trainees, who generally do not yet have such a long period of service with the company.

5. Pay a fair salary

A trainee should never be viewed as cheap labor. Since trainees are often future managers, the salary should rather be seen as a long-term investment. Of course, trainee programs are costly and also result in higher costs for the employer due to the often complex and costly development measures. In principle, however, the salary should not be more than five to ten percent below that of a direct entrant. After all, it is also primarily a matter of valuing the trainee’s work.

  • Excerpt from a book in which conflict is defined

    Published on February 29, 2024HR Info

    Conflict management in companies

    What is conflict management? How can conflicts be recognized and managed? And what does all this have to do with business simulations?…

  • A group of young people sit together laughing

    Published on October 8, 2023HR Info

    Learning motivation in business games

    The motivation of employees to learn plays a central role. Because those who learn with motivation and enthusiasm increase their learning success.

  • Hand turns over dice forming the words Change and Chance

    Published on August 24, 2023HR Info

    Managing change playfully Business games as the key to successful change management

    Effective change management is a critical success factor. Business simulation games prepare employees optimally for change.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.