How to Improve Hiring and Retention in Entry-Level Jobs

To keep entry-level jobs filled, offer respect and opportunity … and get to know the communities from which you want to hire.

It’s natural for an organization to fear 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, this most basic level of human capital is what keeps the cash registers ringing, which makes entry level a very competitive market. If you don’t believe there’s a problem finding entry-level people, just swing by fast-food row and count the “We’re hiring!” signs.

That’s led HR consultant Astron Solutions to do some thinking on how to recruit entry- level workers and on how to improve entry-level retention.

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

The big challenges in filling entry-level jobs is the low pay and unglamorous work, says Astron. To counter these recruitment negatives, your company needs to offer opportunities for a better future to entry-level workers so as to offset 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 doesn’t hurt, either!)

To keep those entry-level jobs filled, Astron says look to the first 3 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 lack of respect,” say Astron’s experts, 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 have to be home with their kids, even at the expense of badlyneeded extra pay.

Supervisors would have a better chance to know that, says Astron, if they spent time in 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 identify your company as the one that cares, and the one to work for when you need a job.

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