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First Year Turnover: An Opportunity for Employee Retention

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Earlier this week I was talking to a friend who was reflecting – not so fondly – on a previous employment experience. When he eagerly walked into his office on his first day, he was abruptly disappointed to find only a desk – not even a basic ball point pen to begin writing his journey as a successful part of the team. He tracked down a manager to help him forage for basic office supplies, but the damage was done. He felt like the company did not value him and his perception of his new employer was irrevocably tainted from the first few minutes on the job. Ultimately, he left just a few months later, just as many workers are doing today.

As evidenced by the 2017 Retention Report, which revealed that 34% of turnover is from employees within their first year on the job, I assure you my friend’s story is not an anomaly. Furthermore,this statistic echoes one of the most common workforce issues that human resource managers express to me each day. I hear company after company detail the effort and cost invested in hiring and training employees, only to have them leave within the first year on the job. Frequently, an employee will leave in the first few months, before the organization recoups any of the hiring expense or adds any value to the bottom line, making first year turnover a very expensive problem.

There are direct and indirect costs associated with losing any employee, but the soft costs around losing a newly hired employee are the greatest. Existing team members are forced to bear a larger workload and are faced with the demoralizing revolving door of new hires. They may begin to question their own future at the company – if no one else wants to stay, why should I?

My friend’s story shows us how the smallest actions can have significant, lasting impressions on new hires. If his manager, like many others, had just taken a few minutes the day before his start date to walk into that office and create a more welcoming environment, this organization may have been able to retain this valuable employee for the long term.

As more than a third of new hires are choosing to leave their new jobs, it’s critical to know why your employees are leaving.  Exit interviews are the best place to begin to understand why employees leave. This allows you to understand what you can improve to get employees to stay longer. If you are experiencing first year turnover challenges, you should evaluate your onboarding experience to understand the real experience for your new hires and know where to make improvements.

It’s critical to know what your employees want and need in a workplace. When those needs are met, employees feel valued and do their best work. And you–you are not foraging for new team members.

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