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What would you do if the majority of your entry-level, hourly workforce was planning to leave in less than a year? More than half of the 1,200 young people working in entry-level jobs we surveyed said that was their plan — and less than a quarter felt highly satisfied with their job. That’s expensive for business. Turnover can cost up to 200% of an employee’s annual salary, depending on the role. In industries like retail, customer service, and hospitality, entry-level turnover alone costs billions of dollars each year, based on voluntary turnover rates and annual replacement costs. Meanwhile, employee disengagement results in higher absenteeism, more accidents, lower business profitability, worse customer service, and a lower share price.

To understand how employers can improve engagement and retention, FSG worked with Hart Research Associates to survey over 1,200 entry-level, hourly workers between the ages of 17 and 24, and interviewed dozens of companies to find out how they have improved retention. The young people we surveyed worked in a wide variety of industries, including health care, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality. They shared five key insights for employers looking to improve retention and engagement, including how to improve manager training, diversity and inclusion, and scheduling. The good news is that multiple employers are already innovating in these areas.

Train frontline managers to support people and process. The job satisfaction of the young people we surveyed was driven in large part by how they thought their manager treated them. They said that being treated fairly and with respect was even more important than their income. Yet nearly 50% of the women and 40% of the men surveyed reported that they struggled at work because they felt they were treated unfairly by their manager. In fact, 32% of those surveyed said they lost a job in the past due to unfair or disrespectful treatment by a manager.

How can companies help their managers become more effective? One proven method is investing in specific training for frontline managers, who often are promoted quickly into that position and have never managed a team. MOD Pizza sends all frontline managers to “The School of MOD” within the first three to six months of their tenure. It’s an in-person, management-training program that coaches new managers on communication, people management, and building a good workplace culture. Ninety-six percent of managers who attended the training reported that it increased their confidence that they could do their job well.

While the majority of frontline-manager training focuses on topics like inventory, cash management, and customer service, more companies are recognizing that equipping managers to support their teams is also critical to their businesses. HMSHost, the largest provider of food and beverage services for travelers in North America, piloted its Engagement Training Program to help frontline managers provide authentic recognition to its employees, listen and solve problems, and deliver specific, actionable feedback to their teams. In the sites where it tested this training, it received enthusiastic feedback from managers and associates and saw early improvements in associate engagement and retention. HMSHost will be launching workshops on engagement across the entire company. READ MORE.

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