Professional Behaviours for Graduates

Steps worked with a global investment bank to develop an interactive programme focusing on professional behaviour, engaging graduates to live organisational and individual values and principles.


The programme was designed to help the graduates understand what it means to be professional in the workplace. The sessions were based on the values and principles addressed in the Bank’s Code of Conduct and the objectives of the programme were to ensure the delegates:

  • Understand that behaviour is equally as important as the financial targets.
  • Recognise the impact and consequences of their actions.
  • Are able to take control and responsibility for their actions.
  • Become aware of how their individual behaviours impact on how they come across in writing and also in person.


The introduction to this workshop had a new and innovative approach, the graduates were asked to work in pairs and create a social media profile for the ‘most professional graduate’. This opening allowed the delegates to work together and explore differing perceptions of professionalism. The majority of the graduates described very similar characters but there was a distinct lack of diversity, demonstrating the inherent assumptions we make and biases we hold as individuals.

What Next?

The steps team developed the workshop to individually tackle each of the objectives and they designed a programme with three scenarios. Each scenario presented a different dilemma which challenged the graduates to question their individual behaviour and to also recognise the impact of this on other colleagues. A facilitated discussion after each scenario focused on the different issues arising within each scene and meant that the graduates recognised their responsibility to be mindful of certain behaviours. The bank wanted the new cohort to recognise the issues and explore suitable solutions, and the power of a drama based approach gave them the ability to do this. Each discussion enabled the graduates to challenge other people’s opinions as well as question their own judgement.

To ensure that the scenarios were beneficial and reflective of the company, research was carried out so that the behaviours seen in the scenarios resonated with the graduates. Designing the scenarios to match real experiences meant that the workshop was more inclusive because the delegates noticed similarities and began to question behaviours they had genuinely seen within the bank. By moulding the scenarios to suit graduates the Steps team created a platform for new ideas and perspectives, encouraging different and unique points to be brought up and in turn stimulating the discussion to grow and develop.

The workshop will be held within the first three months of a graduate’s time at the bank and could form part of the induction programme, requiring the sessions to be welcoming and relaxed as well as highly professional. By holding the workshops early on in their career establishes the expectations of the bank in terms of conduct as well as giving delegates a clearer understanding of appropriate work place behaviours and the merits of combining professionalism with integrity.


The workshop was received very well by our client and the delegates and feedback was resoundingly positive. Delegates were energised and engaged and at the end of the session each individual committed to their own personal actions inspired by the course content. The delegates rated the scenarios we designed to be 93% relevant to them and they felt 85% confident that they would apply this learning to their working practices.