You are currently viewing Amazon’s new social benefit is weirdly awesome.  It’s a master class in how to keep entry-level staff happy.

Amazon’s new social benefit is weirdly awesome. It’s a master class in how to keep entry-level staff happy.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced its new partnerships with Kaplan and Beyond 12 to expand its Career Choice program with academic and career coaching services. The seemingly uninspired collaboration with education companies geared towards Gen Z and those without established careers isn’t exactly groundbreaking. But at its core, it just might hold the key to giving people what they need to work happily in entry-level roles.

The nationwide hiring shortage continues to leave thousands of businesses unstaffed and shuttered, reports the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Although small businesses have felt the worst consequences, they are not alone. The trillion-dollar e-commerce conglomerate that relies on thousands of lower-level employees is also under pressure. And his notorious reputation as a bad employer only adds fuel to the fire.

While Amazon isn’t too big to be immune to the widespread effects of staffing shortages, it’s too big not to seek a viable solution. Amazon’s recently expanded benefits program is designed to help staff in lower-level positions succeed and stay happy along the way. It’s not just about offering more pay, it’s about offering more than just pay to keep staff happy.

No expensive gimmicks or perks required.

What’s great about Amazon’s Career Choice program is that it’s not the program itself that other companies have to replicate. But it offers three major underlying lessons that any company will want to replicate in order to keep its staff happy, especially those just starting out in their careers.

1. Be realistic about staff roles

The reality is that not all jobs are dream jobs. Yet people work because they have to. For this reason, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a large majority of people feel trapped, and more than 40% of people feel like they’ve lost control of their careers, LinkedIn reports. A key aspect of Amazon’s program is that it recognizes that employees may want a career beyond their current role, and even beyond what Amazon might have to offer.

Psychologically, this recognition alone can help staff not feel stuck. In turn, this can help them stay happy in their role, which allows them to spend more time.

2. Recognize that every role has a lifecycle

The hiring and training process is expensive, entry-level positions included. When good help is hard to find, keeping it becomes the goal. But that may not be the goal of your employees themselves either.

While companies should always work to be good employers, they should loosen the reins by trying to keep workers in a position they may not want to be in, according to Deloitte. While you may not necessarily be able to provide tuition assistance or career coaching like Amazon, you can understand that every role has a natural lifecycle. And when fighting means retaining staff, no one benefits.

3. Provide a springboard in the right direction

Every work experience offers something of value beyond a paycheck, from a skill set to a larger network. There is tremendous value to be gained from almost any job or work experience. And many forget that every job is a step in the right direction.

It’s a common misconception among those early in their careers that you have to do what you want to do to get where you ultimately want to be. When in reality, that job in the call center or waiting tables brings the skills and experience that will help them down the line no matter what they really want to do.

Although employers may not always be able to help staff understand the transferable skills they are learning on the job, they can help employees perform at their best. For example, rather than having adequate salespeople, train your staff to become the best salespeople possible. When people become the best they can be, they begin to understand their value and the transferable value they have to offer.

Ultimately, keeping entry-level staff happy comes down to treating them well and preparing them for something beyond the position they’re in. In other words, like any other staff member of their level of experience or job title.

It’s offering your people more value than a paycheck and valuing them for more than what they can do for your organization, but as people. It won’t necessarily help retain staff for years, but it will help your business become the type of organization people seek to work for, even if only temporarily, for a long time.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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