Improving hiring and retention in entry-level jobs

To fill those entry-level jobs, offer an atmosphere of respect and opportunity,
and get to know the communities from which you want to hire.

It’s natural that an organization be nervous about the loss of a key
executive. But what really terrifies many these days is having their entry-level
people leave.

In today’s service economy, it’s this most basic level of human
capital that keeps the cash registers ringing, which makes entry-level a very
competitive market. If you don’t believe there’s a problem finding
enough entry-level people, swing by fast food row and count the “We’re
hiring!” signs.

That’s led HR consultant Astron Solutions to do some thinking about
entry-level jobs. On how to recruit people to fill them. And how to improve
entry-level retention.

Countering the low pay and unglamorous work of entry-level jobs

The big challenge in filling entry-level jobs is the low pay and often decidedly
unglamorous work. To counter this recruitment challenge, your company needs
to be able to offer opportunities for a better future to those in entry-level
jobs as a hedge against the realities of their lives today. Companies successful
at entry-level recruitment offer strong, readily identifiable career paths
and often the educational opportunities needed to follow them. (Having a wage
scale as far above federal or state minimums as you can get management to
approve of doesn’t hurt either!)

To keep those entry-level jobs filled, Astron says look to the first three
months of employment. That’s the critical period in keeping entry-level
employee retention high, and it’s not a matter of money.

“More often, these employees leave from such things as lack of respect,”
says Astron, declaring that, “how a person is treated during the first
90 days has more impact on retention than rate of pay.”

To keep entry-level retention high, keep overtime demands low

Another factor Astron has identified in improving entry-level retention is
control of overtime. Because it’s hard to find entry-level people, those
on the job are frequently asked to work extra hours. Explain to your supervisors
that, yes, that might be fine for a youngster saving up for that first car,
but these days, more entry-level people are likely to be single parents. They
want to be home with their kids, even at the expense of badly needed extra

Of course, supervisors would have a better chance to know that, says Astron,
if they spent some time among the prime communities that supply your entry-level
people. Astron suggests involving HR staff in community activities. The staffers
will not only learn about the people your company is looking to hire and retain.
They’ll also be walking billboards that your company is the one that
cares, and the one to work for when you need a job.

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