Press "Enter" to skip to content

Wary about employing entry-level staff? Don’t be!

Hiring first-time work-seekers can appear to be a little tricky for employers. Young, inexperienced staff seem to be a business risk because of the time and money needed to train them up, which can result in them leaving for a bigger, better opportunity that’s now attainable because they have experience.

But the opposite can be true too: young workers who’ve been given a career-start often become extremely loyal and prized employees who can make a big impact to the success of your business.

In South Africa employers often struggle to find entry-level staff with the behaviours, ability, interest and attitude needed to perform well in their specific business. But through a tried and tested model, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator has successfully found a way to help companies find, identify and employ motivated and valuable employees while also improving retention rates and lowering HR & training costs.

Harambee’s model sources, trains and matches first-time work-seekers to a network of over 300 top South African employers, from SMEs to large corporates. Since 2011, Harambee has placed more than 30,000 young work-seekers into employment and given thousands more the skills to find their own employment.

Here’s what’s great about young first-timers!
First-timers can be moulded and taught how to be the ideal employee if you set clear guidelines of what they’re expected to deliver. They are curious and want to learn, and their questioning can lead to new and better ways of doing things in your business. Young staff also understand technology and social media and believe they can do anything! With the right encouragement, their enthusiasm can be channelled into positive and productive projects.
It’s one thing finding young talent, but keeping them happy and motivated is also an area that requires some consideration.

Here are Harambee’s top four drivers for retention and performance of young workers:

  1. A basic salary and contract is essential – given the high transportation costs and social pressures, providing a basic salary is a key driver of retention; commission only jobs do not work.
  2. A thorough on-boarding period is essential – an environment where the young person is given an opportunity to shadow a peer or a manager and receive some on-the-job practical support improves retention.
  3. Good team leaders – a good team leader who provides coaching, feedback and creates a positive environment for young employees improves retention, especially during the first 3 months.
  4. Regular feedback – providing a young employee with clarity on where he/she stands at work regularly (once a week) as well as some positive reinforcements drives retention and integrity in the workplace.

And the most important factor in retaining young people at work?
Transport is a major challenge for many young employees; 57% of first-time employees are forced to borrow money to cover their transport costs in the first month of employment. Employers who acknowledge this challenge and seek ways to help their employees – such as an up-front transport payment, staff transport or helping to create a car pool – will ensure they become employers of choice with loyal, more productive first-time staff.

To learn more about Harambee go to
Candidates can apply using their cellphones on
Harambee logo

Share on...