The Valedictorians have been picked, gowns have been ordered, and diplomas have almost all been printed. In a few months, hundreds of thousands of new graduates will enter the job market. Are you prepared for these entry-level employees?
Because according to The Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study, you’re not.
In fact, they found that only 1 in 7 graduates want to work for large organizations while the majority would much prefer working for medium-size businesses and startups. Concerningly, graduates have been avoiding large companies since 2013. And in more significant numbers every year.
What’s Entry-Level Employee Training Got To Do With It?
In the same study, Accenture found that 80% of graduates expect to receive formal training in their first jobs. Unfortunately, most of those graduates will never get entry-level employee training. This omission leads to a cohort of once passionate employees feeling disillusioned and leaving organizations within two years.
This state of affairs benefits no-one. Not these graduates and surely not the business world.
So, what is happening? Why are enterprises not investing in entry-level employees? Why are they not training workers that want to be trained? It all comes down to cost. Training can be costly, and the return on investment blurry. Instead, companies are quick to fill entry-level positions with an attitude of “if they can’t figure it out on their own, they’re out!”
But that approach is not a strategy for growth. And it’s not a wise financial decision either. Similar to onboarding, investing in entry-level training has been shown to save organizations money, and improve profits in the future.
The Benefits of Entry-Level Employee Training
1. Training from the bottom-up reduces turnover rates
According to Accenture, 56% of recent graduates don’t expect to stay at their entry-level jobs for longer than two years. This attrition isn’t good for business, especially when you consider that recruitment takes time and money. Instead, solid entry-level training programs geared toward developing skills can benefit a company in the long term.
Trained employees usually feel more confident about their abilities, are more engaged in their work and are more likely to want to stay in an organization and advance into leadership roles.
2. Training increases productivity
It’s extraordinarily telling that the definition of workplace productivity provided by New Zealand’s Labor Department includes this line, “There’s a willingness at all levels to keep learning and investing in skills.” That’s because study after study has shown that training increases productivity.
This is especially true with training designed to show employees new ways of working and new ways of thinking through problems. Soft skills like time-management or technical skills like learning a new program will make your employees more efficient.
3. Training attracts the right employees
Remember those graduates that expected formal training from an employer? Well, Accenture found they’re motivated, hard-working and passionate. By using your training as a recruitment tool, you will attract the very people that will thrive in your training program. The result? Both employee and employer will get what they want. And from there, the sky’s the limit.
What kind of entry-level employee training is valuable?
Now, not just any entry-level employee training can deliver money-saving, attrition-reducing, recruiting magic. The kind of content you include in a program matters too.
So if you already have a training program in place, it’s important to go back and check if you’re preparing your new employees with the right skills and knowledge. However, there are four types of entry-level training programs you should include:
1. Organization and cross-department training
In 2017’s State of the American Workforce report, Gallup found that most employees today want their work “to have meaning and purpose.” So instead of dropping your entry-level hires into the abyss, far removed from the mission of your organization, engage them from the beginning.
Create a training course that explicitly shows how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Consider cross-department training too. This type of training leads to better collaboration and highly engaged employees.
2. Soft skills training
Entry-level workers, especially those who do not have experience working within an organization, might not have honed their soft skills. And since your teams have to work with these green hires daily, it’s essential to arm them correctly from the beginning. Time management skills and communication skills will help entry-level employees grow faster.
3. On-the-job training
On-the-job training is often the most effective kind of employee training. The best way to leverage on-the-job training is to combine formal training courses with peer-to-peer training. Not only will your entry-level employees quickly pick up necessary workplace skills but they will also understand the organization’s culture.
4. Continuing training
In How Google Works, Eric Schmidt reveals that their recruitment strategy is to find and hire “learning animals.” The importance of dedication to continuing education isn’t a new idea. But it is particularly relevant to the current business environment.
As technology changes rapidly, and businesses try to be competitive, it’s employees who keep improving, keep learning who will be your best assets. And it’s an organization’s responsibility to keep training these workers. Whether it’s entry-level IT training or new systems training, foster a culture of education from the bottom-up and your organization will hold its edge.
Current research couldn’t be any clearer. Investing in entry-level employees has some essential benefits that large organizations can’t ignore. And while training can be an added expense, it is worth it. Recruitment efforts will be more efficient, your employees will be happier, and you’ll improve your bottom line. It wouldn’t be hyperbolic if we said that entry-level employee training is a win-win.
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