When it comes to building a great team, finding top talent is only half the battle. Retaining that talent, whether it’s your entry-level employees or senior management, is extremely important, as high employee turnover is costly and disruptive to other team members. In addition to offering competitive pay and a great culture, making your employees feel valued in the workplace is an important part of retention. However, it can be easy to overlook this for your entry-level employees.
As a young person in the professional world, I’ve been reflecting on the simple ways that employers can make their entry-level employees feel valued in the workplace. Through my own experiences and by interviewing other professionals who have recently started their careers, I’ve narrowed down six ways you can make your newer employees feel valued, while also fostering enthusiasm and motivation in the workplace.
1. Connect Junior Employees with Senior Staff
While in my last job as an event coordinator for the New Economy Coalition, I supported the production of a large, multi day conference. I had never worked on such a big event so I found it extremely helpful to study the workflows of my coworkers who had planned a few of these events before to see how to best manage and arrange the large amounts of important data. I was able to do this because I worked closely with more experienced employees on individual projects and learned by doing.
Jill Hogan, a practice assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital also appreciates learning from more seasoned employees. “When I am given opportunities to learn from those who have been at the organization for a while or are in a position I aspire to be in, I feel valued because they see potential in me and want me to grow.”
It’s exciting to be able to envision where we might be if we continue to do the work we’re doing, and it helps us see a future for ourselves in the organization.
2. Show that There's Room for Growth
Tehya Noni, a teacher’s aide at a daycare, expressed that it motivates her to see that other employees who started at an entry level have grown with the organization.
“Knowing the organization promotes internally before hiring externally encourages me to stay.”
Show your entry level employees that their commitment and loyalty is appreciated by facilitating discussions about their path to upward mobility, and offer professional development opportunities to prepare them for that next step. If your entry-level employees only see external applicants being hired for higher-up positions, it will likely affect their willingness to stay with the company.
3. Take Us Seriously
When asked what makes her feel valued in the workplace, Tory Atkins, a Senior Consultant in Digital Execution at Booz Allen Hamilton said: “When the higher ups in my organization take me, my opinions, and my input seriously in meetings.”
It can be nerve wracking to put ourselves out there when we have less experience than our coworkers. Feeling like an asset to the team is a positive affirmation that we’re right where we need to be and should keep contributing.
4. Acknowledge Achievements
Consistent across each of the young workers I spoke with was the desire to receive recognition for good work. Jill told me, “As an entry level employee I feel most valuable when management and leadership acknowledge the areas I am excelling in and encourage my work.”
Lydia Andrews, a Retention Business Account Manager at Wayfair said, “For me, when I am complimented on my hard work, that goes the farthest. Not even incentives… I just like standing out and being told I’m an asset.”
A compliment is free and goes a long way–further than even bonuses or prizes in some cases.
5. Give Us Added Responsibility
Allowing us to take initiative on our own projects and offering us additional tasks shows us we’re seen as competent. Additional responsibility communicates to the employee that they are trusted and relied on by the company. This brings purpose to our work and motivates us to perform better to continue progressing in our careers.
While working as an intern for Depop, I was responsible for managing all of our VIP shops. I was given the space to set up systems that worked best for me to get the work done. I felt I was able to be creative, make decisions and could work at a more efficient pace since I wasn’t being micromanaged. Having the extra responsibility motivated me even more in my day-to-day work, and made me even more excited about the company.
6. Offer Wellbeing Activities
While freelancing for a small digital agency, my team worked out of a coworking space that centered around holistic wellness. There were yoga and meditation classes as well as a biophilic design which not only supported enhanced focus and productivity but created a soothing, nurturing and inspiring environment. I wanted to be at work and when my boss scheduled meetings around meditation, it gave me a welcomed reset during the day. When my overall wellbeing is taken into consideration, I feel as though I can bring my whole self without having to leave parts of myself isolated from my work life.
Simple initiatives can make a big difference in the work life of an entry-level employee. Not only does supporting young people in the workplace help the company save on recruiting and training, but also improves the office environment overall. Creating a space where newer employees are excited to come to work because they have opportunities for individual growth and learning will have a positive ripple effect impacting the entire team, and can eventually turn your entry-level employees into future company leaders.