It's no surprise employees in retail, fast food, and trade industries don't consider their hourly job a long-term gig. Often young, underpaid, and lacking motivation, the retail and QSR labor force frequently takes jobs without thought or hope of a future career. And it seems execs in these industries have not only grown accustomed to this type of attitude among their workers but have subconsciously condoned it as well. Finding loyal and long-term employees simply hasn't been the priority for these employers-until now.

In retail and QSR, where annual turnover tops as much as 50 percent, lack of engagement is the ultimate barrier to an employee's success with a company. To keep staff engaged, help workers realize their full potential. More employers are realizing the benefits of training staff for continuity, implementing training programs, and promoting higher education. Employee development efforts create valued company partners and end costly turnover rates. When companies invest in their workers, employees consequently become vested in the well-being of the company. And, employee satisfaction becomes apparent through enhanced performance and quality of work, which is valued by clients and consumers.

Raising the potential of your employees not only reduces turnover, it also increases employee satisfaction. Complement your business offerings with equally worthy associates. The more engaged workers are, the more likely they are to exude happiness in the form of improved customer satisfaction. Start reaping the benefits of engaged, empowered, and motivated employees in four easy steps:

1. Set the Stage With Induction Training

End the turnover cycle by engaging new employees through induction training. Rather than offering mere job options, induction training employs a long-term vision for the organization, one which workers consider themselves a "part of." For many hourly workers, advancement within a company is not considered a viable option. By explaining a clearly defined career path to workers, managers and owners can inspire employee enthusiasm for the company. To elicit specific positive behaviors, walk employees through detailed expectations based on core values and goals and explain how meeting or exceeding these expectations can take them from a kitchen position to management and beyond.  

2. Motivate With On-the-Job Training and Mentoring

Now that you've captured their attention, keep the momentum going with leadership development programs. On-site job training sessions and workshops on career-related topics' not only help workers achieve their professional goals, but they also prove the company's commitment to their future aspirations.

Continual training keeps the wheels of motivation turning by eliminating potential roadblocks due to both on-the-job frustrations as well as personal issues. Mentor programs provide companies with an inexpensive option for dual training opportunities by allowing experienced employees to give new staffers practical advice on daily job functions.  By working hand-in-hand to excel in essential job functions, both the mentor and the mentee gain valuable knowledge from each other. Additionally, through positive employee interaction, a mentor program strengthens company culture.

3. Encourage High School Completion

A lack of education, specifically not having a high school diploma, is often a hindrance for hourly employees and a barrier to advancement opportunities in the workplace. For many high school dropouts, jumping from one job to the next in hopes of a slight salary increase is the only form of advancement they know. When employees can't move up to other positions because they don't have a high school diploma, they are likely to jump from job to job. If your organization has spent the time to recruit and train productive employees, don't risk losing them. Instead, give them the tools they need to gain the necessary skills to continue to thrive within your organization.

Consider offering a high school completion program. Programs like Penn Foster's blended learning curriculum provides students with accessible training opportunities to help workers gain the skills needed to further their careers. A high school completion program can work hand-in-hand with on-the-job training for added results. Or, opt for other training solutions that hone in on career-specific fundamentals to help increase employee confidence and satisfaction their chosen careers.

4. Introduce Life Skills

Demonstrate your commitment to supporting work/life values with added benefits that help employees achieve personal goals. For example, companies like Valassis treat workers to lunchtime seminars that educate hourly employees about the best ways to save for retirement or purchase a new home. Other features like gym memberships and wellness screenings encourage positive habits that enhance home life that translates into on-the-job productivity.

Which step resonates the most with you? Let me know below, or on Twitter.