Plagued by Employee Turnover? Here’s Why You’re Losing New Hires

By Robert Half April 17, 2018 at 11:30am

Considering the amount of time that you invest in searching for new employees, you don’t just want to hire a star candidate, you want to hire a star who will stay. Still, employee turnover is pretty common.

In fact, recent Robert Half research shows 42 percent of all workers and a whopping 68 percent of millennials plan to look for a new job within the next 12 months. With unemployment at a 17-year low, professionals know their skills are in demand and increasingly have the confidence to look for new opportunities.

What’s more, employers are reaching out to people who are currently employed to see if they can woo them away. No doubt, some of these targets are your own employees.

Why new hires leave

The reasons for employee turnover can be personal, such as a new hire realizing that the commute is too straining or that they were happier at their old job. But sometimes the workplace itself is the problem. Consider these stories from people who left a new job within the first three months:

  • “I briefly worked at an advertising agency and thought it would be my dream job. But what I found was abusive executive leadership and people openly weeping at their desks. Somebody threw a computer at a coworker. The work environment gave me panic attacks.” — Mary, San Francisco
  • “I quit a job I had really wanted. Basically, they overhired and didn't know where to put me. So they kept moving me around to teams that already had too many people. I had nothing to do, so I decided to leave.” — Meg, Pittsburgh
  • “The job I was offered was not the job I was given the first day I showed up. It was supposed to be creating sponsorships and events for a radio station, but when I showed up, they told me I would actually just be selling ads. Two months to the day, I was out of there.” — Mike, Washington, D.C.
  • “I had a job calling people at home with clearly skewed political surveys. It was so miserable. We were in a poorly lit basement of a small business building, and you had to raise your hand to use the restroom. I left after the first four hours.” — Tina, Provo, Utah

Obviously, a toxic work environment will drive a new employee away, but there are other key ways you can lose somebody even before the first 90 days are up. Take insufficient onboarding and support. It’s naïve to assume a new hire will hit the ground running without any guidance.

Here are some ideas to prevent new hires from turning around and walking right back out the door.

What to do before the employee starts

  • Be clear about company culture. When you’re interviewing potential employees, make sure you discuss the company’s culture. Some people prefer casual environments while others like to work in a more formal business. But no matter where your business falls on the spectrum, you should be up front about it. The point is, a clash between expectations and reality could cause new hires to change their mind.
  • Check references. If a string of new hires turn over quickly, something could be going wrong in your hiring process. Make sure you’re calling references to get a full picture of your top candidates.
  • Get the tech set up. Before your new hire’s first day, set up the employee’s email account, phone and computer equipment, and collect the login information, company info and security key cards they will need. These are small details that have a big impact.
  • Set them up for success. Make sure their work area has all the necessary furniture, resources and accessories. Personalize their space with the employee’s name and a welcome banner or some treats. Making a new employee feel welcome will reassure them they made the right choice in signing on with you.

What to do after the employee arrives

  • Make an announcement. Send out a welcome email introducing the new employee, and make personal introductions to the team that first morning. Sometime during the first day, tour other key departments with the newbie. Gather the team for lunch or coffee that first week so they can get to know each other in a social setting.
  • Re-clarify goals and responsibilities. You’ll have touched on the job’s key goals during the hiring process, but now is the time to go into detail about assignments and expectations. Go over the protocol and timing of annual performance reviews so the new employee knows exactly what to expect.
  • Conduct a formal orientation. Most firms already have a procedure for onboarding new employees. Use it to give an overview of the company’s mission, values, products and services, organizational chart, benefits, and other key information from human resources. If they’re left wondering about these things when they go home after the first day, they may also start thinking, “This outfit doesn’t have their act together. Is this where I really want to be?”

After the first day, remember to check in with your new employee regularly. Many managers spend only a short time onboarding, but it may take several months for new hires to fully acclimate. Even highly experienced candidates will need some time to adjust to the new work environment. Make sure you take the time to listen to any concerns, answer questions and give feedback. By focusing on providing a thoughtful onboarding process, you should be able to reduce employee turnover and keep your team strong.

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