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5 Steps to Successful Employee Retention in the first 90 days

Just imagine that you have been interviewed and taken to dinner by a company with big promises of salary and opportunity.  You are excited to start this new chapter in your life with a great company that seems to have a strong team environment.  On your first day you are shown to a temporary desk in the hall with no computer or phone.  Besides a few minutes with HR and a stack of paperwork to fill out, not one person has come by to talk with you or give you direction.  Obviously the honeymoon is over and reality just hit you squarely between the eyes.  Unfortunately this scenario or something similar happens all too often with new employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 4% of employees leave their job after a disastrous first day and a significant percentage leave in the first 90 days.  After dedicating countless hours and dollars to attract top talent to your organization, you certainly can’t afford to lose them due in the first 90 days. Below are just a few ways that you can get a new employee started off on the right path with a positive company experience.

  1. Develop a Training Plan. Even in a small office, a new employee can feel overwhelmed by the new environment, tasks and reporting structure.  Getting other employees involved in the training process is a great way for the new employee to bond quickly with the team and leverage resources.  Cross-training is also a very useful way to help the employee meet people in other departments, while giving them the tools to be successful.
  1. Communicate Expectations. Clear communication from human resources and the hiring manager is critical.  You can’t hold an employee accountable for expectations that you haven’t communicated.  We often see companies making quick termination decisions over very small things that they believe the new employee should instinctively know.  Clear and consistent communication about company policies, manager expectations and job duties will help the new employee understand the boundaries and eliminate unnecessary frustration for all parties.
  1. Schedule Periodic Reviews. Plan periodic informal and formal meetings with the new employee throughout the first 90 days. This will give the hiring manager and the employee an opportunity to discuss what is working and what isn’t working.  You will often gain invaluable feedback from the new employee and be able to quickly address training issues or mis-communications that may arise.  You will find these meetings not only increase retention, but also productivity.
  1. Plug Them In. Most employees determine in the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organization, according to SHRM.  Ensure the new employee gets connected with their team.  Social events or pre-scheduled luncheons are a great way to encourage new bonds to form.  Providing a designated high performing team member to partner with for daily questions or problem solving is another way to keep the new employee connected. 
  1. Lay out the Goals. Typically top performers are driven by goals and objectives.  By providing short and long term goals, you are encouraging high performance and getting them committed to the path.  Far too often we hear the words “no growth opportunity” as the reason employees leave their jobs.  Typically this is only the employee’s perception because the company has neglected to share the career path with the employee.  Providing a career path and training assistance to get there, will often pay off with committed and productive employees.

For more information about successful on-boarding techniques or retention statistics, visit http://www.shrm.org/.  For more information on recruiting and attracting top talent, visit www.talisgroup.com.


Susan Foster Woods, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Director of Recruitment, Talis Group, Inc.