3 Ways to Increase Retention of Early Talent

For an employer, it’s a great moment when new candidates get through the screening process and start employee onboarding. Finally, recruiting season is over and every spot is filled with early talent that’s ready to work. But what happens when less than a year later, retention rates begin to spike and employers are left scrambling for candidates to fill the spots they thought were secure for the foreseeable future? 

There are plenty of reasons why candidates, particularly those fresh out of college, decide to leave a job prematurely. As an employer, it’s in your best interest to figure out what you can do differently and learn the best way to increase retention of early talent. 

Here are 3 ways to do that.

Focus on Training Your Employees Well

It all starts at the beginning. Your chances of increasing early talent retention improve with adequate training and development. The onboarding process, as well as the training and development of the role new hires will be performing, play a huge role in the likelihood of candidates staying and successeding at their job. 

As new employees, candidates want to feel like they have enough preparation to succeed and perform as expected by the company. It may seem obvious, but if new hires don’t feel they were sufficiently trained for the job at hand, they’re likely to look for other opportunities that place a stronger emphasis on their training. Every person that works at an organization wants to feel like their contribution towards the overall success of the company matters. In order for that to happen, they need to have enough guidance from the beginning to perform at the best of their abilities.

Encourage a Work-Life Balance From the Beginning

It’s true, this generation of college graduates value work-life balance more than other generations. The average American only devotes about 15 hours of their day to personal care, including eating, sleeping, hobbies, and socializing with friends outside an office setting. The average Gen-Zer doesn’t feel this constiututes as a healthy work-life balance. Our own student survey earlier this year showed that 88% of students ranked work-life balance as “important” or “very important” in their search for full-time positions or internships prior to graduation. 

Full-time positions that offer generous flexibility with working hours are more likely to retain a higher percentage of new hires than positions that demand strict adherence to traditional working hours. It’s key for companies to be able to recognize when employees are feeling overworked and overly stressed. Incorporating policies that allow for personal days and work-from-home options have the power to alleviate problems with retention, while encouraging employees to feel their best so they can perform their best. 

Offer Competitive Career Advancement Opportunities

New employees want to know that they have options to further their career with growth opportunities. Career advancement opportunities instill motivation and productivity in employees. It gives them something to look forward and work towards to. Unfortunately, a lot of companies advertise career growth at the beginning of employment and never follow through with their promises. This disappoints candidates, especially those fresh out of college, and they pursue other opportunities in which they can better sustain their long-term career plans.  

One way employers can better communicate growth opportunities to new hires is by incorporating quarterly or annual charts that clearly project the employee’s trajectory within the company. Charts like this can include ways to reach milestones, necessary certifications, and other knowledge needed to transition into another position. 

Another option for employers to offer competitive career advancement opportunities is to implement training programs within the company that help prepare internal staff for higher positions and incentivize employees to stay at the company for the long haul. By doing this, employees feel like the company is investing in them and gives them a sense of value that makes them want to stay committed to their current roles.


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