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Quick Exit: Employers Have Tough Time Keeping New Hires

Quick Exit: Employers Have Tough Time Keeping New Hires
Credit: Karen Roach/Shutterstock

When hiring new employees, finding the right candidate can be a difficult task in itself for many organizations. However, new research shows that hanging on to them after they're hired can be even tougher.

A study from Futurestep, a division of Korn Ferry, revealed that 90 percent of executives believe their organization has a problem retaining new hires.

More than half of those surveyed said between 10 and 25 percent of new employees leave the company within their first six months of employment, with 12 percent of executives saying as many as 50 percent of their new staff quit shortly after being brought aboard.

"With low unemployment rates and [an] increased need for specialized talent, keeping new hires is a critical issue,” said Bill Gilbert, president of Korn Ferry Futurestep North America, in a statement.

The primary reason why many new employees leave so quickly can be attributed to expectations. Nearly 40 percent of the executives surveyed said the main reason new hires left their organization is because their specific role was not what they anticipated during the hiring process. [See Related Story: Welcome Aboard! How to Get New Hires Off to a Good Start]

"It's incumbent upon recruiters and hiring managers to paint a clear picture of what will be expected of the candidate in his or her new role, and make sure promises of resources, job structure and reporting relationships are fulfilled," Gilbert said.

Company culture has also been an issue for new staff members. Close to 20 percent of those surveyed said new employees are leaving because they don't like the company culture.

"Especially for millennials, company culture is key to job satisfaction, and companies must ensure they are correctly portraying the culture during the recruiting and onboarding processes,” said Tim Powell, managing director for Futurestep's ANZ business.

Not seeing how they can advance, not liking the boss they work for and generally feeling that working for the company was not what was presented during the hiring process are among the other reasons executives say new hires are leaving so quickly.

Having a comprehensive and effective onboarding process is one way to keep new employees. The research found that 98 percent of executives believe onboarding programs are a key factor in retention efforts.

Although 69 percent of the organizations surveyed currently have formal onboarding programs, 23 percent of those have programs that last only one day and 30 percent only last a week.

"Onboarding must be about more than just the basic administrative processes, such as entering time, submitting paperwork and logging onto the intranet," Gilbert said.

"It should be an in-depth process that introduces the new hire to company culture, vision and strategic priorities, and should also help new hires understand available development opportunities to help them succeed in the organization."

In addition to developing a strong program that acclimates new employees to your organization, it's also important to provide new workers with someone they can turn to for guidance and advice. The study found that while 98 percent of executives think having a new-hire mentor program would be valuable, less than half actually have one.

"Mentor programs are not only beneficial for new hires to learn about an organization, they also benefit existing employees by helping them understand the viewpoints and experiences of those new to the company," Gilbert said. "This allows them to have different insights and encourages them to become more agile as they go about their jobs."

Another way for organizations to get a better feel for their recruiting process is to interview new hires on their experiences. The research shows that less than 30 percent of employers currently survey new hires about the recruiting experience.

"Candidates are the best source for insight into the recruiting process," Powell said.

"Asking them how to make the experience better is an easy, direct way to enhance the ways companies source and attract the best and the brightest."

The study was based on surveys of 1,817 company executives.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.