Most business owners understand that the success of a company depends on the success of the people. And it takes all kinds of people to run a business, from experienced high-level managers to entry-level workers. But no matter how much your company has to offer, you’ll probably still run into retention problems sometimes.

Often, the most difficult employees to retain are those in entry-level positions. Many employees look at entry-level jobs as temporary work — something they can add to their résumés before they apply for higher-level jobs. While this is understandable, it can be a difficult and costly philosophy to employers. But there are things you can do right now as an employer to create an atmosphere where entry-level employees want to stay.

To improve your company’s retention, consider the following suggestions.

Develop an engaging onboarding program.

It’s hard for a new hire to envision themselves with your company long-term if you don’t make the right first impression. Use your onboarding program to make new employees feel like part of the team right away. New hires need to know exactly what’s expected from them, and how your company operates. Plus, the onboarding process is the best time to show new hires your company mission, values and culture. Make sure your onboarding program is engaging, inspiring and motivating.

Offer flex time and work from home options.

Many part-time and entry-level employees have obligations that make it difficult to get to the office during regular business hours. For example, they may still be taking classes, have other jobs or have family responsibilities. As an employer, being sympathetic will win you more loyalty than cracking down with inflexible work schedules. If you can, offer work-from-home positions and flextime. This is a good idea for retention across the board, because many workplaces are rapidly moving toward a more flexible work model.

Give more responsibility and expect your employees to improve over time.

Employees who feel empowered and engaged in company decisions are more likely to spend their time at work focused on achieving company goals. Let your entry-level workers plan company events, lead projects and set their own goals for career development within the company. If they feel like cogs in the machine, they’ll have little reason to stick around. But if they feel engaged and appreciated, they’re more likely to develop loyalty to you as an employer.

Be involved with career development for new hires.

Ask each new hire, “What do you want to do with your career?” Then, you can understand their perspective about how your company fits into their plans. Even if you think they’ll only be with you a short time, you should still invest in their personal and professional development. You may be able to promote them internally, so they don’t have to look elsewhere to advance their careers.

If you hire a great employee and let them toil away in entry-level positions for years without promise of growth or a promotion — well, then you shouldn’t be surprised when they leave for greener pastures. Create valuable growth opportunities to convince your employees that staying is good for their careers.
Hopefully these tips help you implement practices to retain and engage entry-level employees. Even the highest executives were once entry-level job seekers looking for a chance to succeed. Train and hone that talent, and you might find much more potential in your entry-level employees than you ever realized.