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In 2016, the U.S. retail industry lost approximately $9 billion dollars to voluntary, entry-level turnover. Such losses are expected to climb as turnover rises across industries from health care to banking. While many companies accept high entry-level turnover as a cost of doing business, some companies are changing that reality by investing in the retention and advancement of their entry-level talent. Their investments not only improve business outcomes, but also provide new options for individuals who face barriers to economic opportunity. 

Investing in Entry-Level Talent: Retention Strategies that Work highlights 4 evidence-based strategies for effective retention and advancement, backed by 14 practical suggestions for implementation as exhibited by companies like The Container Store, Verizon Wireless, Gap Inc., Wegmans Food Markets, and many others.

This research was funded by Walmart for the benefit of nonprofits, workforce organizations, and employers. It will inform our Impact Hiring Initiative, a learning community for those interested in innovating and driving best practices in hiring, retention, and advancement of opportunity youth and other populations facing barriers to employment.

Top Takeaways

  1. Investing in entry-level retention and advancement helps companies reduce costs, develop a stronger talent pipeline, increase employee productivity and engagement, offer customers a superior experience, and strengthen the corporate culture and employment brand of their business.
  2. Staying on the job is important for youth who are beginning their careers. If a person in the United States doesn't find steady employment before they are 25, they will earn 44 percent less over their lifetime as compared to their peers.
  3. When integrated with a company's culture and business model, and implemented with an eye to what employees and the business need, the practices outlined in this report can create significant long-term value for businesses and society.
When companies invest in the retention and advancement of their entry-level employees, they can improve business outcomes and ultimately contribute to a more economically vibrant and equitable society.