Entry-Level Talent is Vital to Business Success: FSG Report

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – From restaurants to retailers and from manufacturers to hospitals, Americans working in entry-level positions contribute to economic growth for companies and society. However, most companies focus all their energies on retaining senior executives, while they accept high entry-level employee turnover as the cost of doing business.

The mission-driven consulting firm FSG has now published a research report, Investing in Entry-Level Talent: Retention Strategies that Work, which highlights the importance of retaining entry-level talent and suggests four key strategies practiced by companies with proven success in this area.

FSG’s research identified companies that are unlocking value by investing in the retention and advancement of their entry-level workforce. In addition to reducing recruiting and training costs, these companies are able to develop a stronger talent pipeline, increase employee productivity and engagement, offer customers a superior experience, and even improve the culture and employment brand of their companies.

The four key strategies presented in the FSG report include:

Provide Purpose in the Workplace

FSG identified three specific best practices for providing purpose in the workplace, each with evidence of direct impact on retention: personalized recognition, entry-level employee training, and a clear connection between the entry-level role and the company mission.

The report cites the example of Southwest Airlines, which has been consistently recognized for low employee turnover (between 2 and 5 percent) and has historically outperformed competitors on revenue, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.

Southwest celebrates employees who receive recognition from customers. This is done across multiple settings and venues, such as company newsletters, videos featuring the accomplishments of the employee, and company dinners in their honor.

Create Opportunities for Learning and Growth

FSG found three types of growth opportunities that have the most impact on retention: educational assistance programs, mentorships, and support for career advancement. It quotes the example of Verizon Wireless, where nearly 80 percent of the workforce is entry-level.

To improve engagement, productivity, and retention, Verizon offers all employees access to a comprehensive tuition assistance program. Verizon also emphasizes the importance of finding a long-term career, starting on day one with a career pathways discussion called Launch Your Success Story. After instituting both of these programs, Verizon saw its turnover rate drop by 50 percent.

Invest in People Centered Management

According to FSG’s findings, companies that have higher entry-level retention rates invest in internal capabilities, including training and development for frontline managers, creation of employment pathway programs, innovative scheduling systems, and dedicating resources to specifically focus on retention in target areas.

FSG gives the example of Wegmans Food Markets, whose Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) program provides wraparound supports and mentorship to at-risk youth, while Wegmans provides a part-time job that gives youth the tools to help them succeed in their first job and in their chosen career.

A third-party study of early program results found that employee retention was 15 percent higher than other similar employees who did not go through HW-SC. Wegmans credits Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection with helping to reduce its annual turnover of employees under 18 from close to 100 percent to 30 percent.

Make Employee Benefits Relevant

FSG found in its research that large numbers of the entry-level employees, particularly Millennials, are unaware of company benefits or do not feel that existing benefits address their needs. To begin to address this gap, it suggests that companies can communicate more clearly and frequently about total compensation to their entry-level employees.

The report cites the example of Rhino Foods, which partners with a coalition of approximately 10 other employers and Working Bridges, a local nonprofit based at the United Way, to provide on-site weekly resource navigation to all the employees of member companies.

Interested Rhino Foods employees can meet with the resource navigator during their shift for 15–20 minutes. Since it has started working with Working Bridges, Rhino Foods’ turnover rate has decreased from 37 percent to below 15 percent company-wide.

Source and Image: FSG