Updated: Apr 23, 2019
New employees in our company undergo a six-month probationary period. During this period, some employees may decide to discontinue working for us. How do we determine an "acceptable" rate of attrition for new hires? If they leave after only three months, should we assume this is because of faulty recruiting? Conversely, if they depart after four/five months, should we evaluate our training? Finally, what if they leave after six months: Is that a reflection on their direct supervisor? Please help us understand how to interpret the meaning of our rapid turnover.
—Can’t Keep Them, senior team leader for talent acquisition, finance/insurance/real estate, New York
Dear Can’t Keep Them:
Let’s face it: Sooner or later, everyone terminates their employment. But companies cannot afford to be cavalier about turnover, especially when it occurs before the employee has had a chance to be productive.
With early turnover, the recruiting process, your training program and the manager’s coaching generally share the responsibility. The investment you make in filling a position—simply the recruiting and training costs—goes down the drain when a new hire leaves. So understanding and addressing the causes of early turnover will have a definite impact on your bottom line.
Here are three steps HR should put in place to improve retention of new hires:
Conduct an exit survey after each termination. Use the sample exit survey attached as a template. Be objective and take the employee’s feedback seriously. Track and analyze the information to see where you have the greatest opportunity for improvements. Share your findings with senior management. Click here to download a template for a sample exit survey. Be realistic and truthful throughout your recruiting process. You should match the needs of the organization to the expectations of the new employee. Don’t oversell the job. The employee who evaluates the pros and cons of your offer is more likely to have a positive experience and long-term employment relationship.Strengthen your onboarding process. Implement a "countdown 8-7-6" program, as follows: Check in on day one (8 hours) to be sure the basics are in place … phone and computer are hooked up, office supplies and business cards are available, etc. Make sure the employee has a "point person" for questions and that the supervisor has welcomed the employee. Check in again at a week (7 days) to be sure the employee has been introduced to key team members, as well as internal and external customers. By now the employee and supervisor should have discussed preliminary goals and initial training needs. Check in again before the probationary period is over (6 months) to address early performance issues. Be sure the employee and supervisor have established a healthy bond. Intervene with coaching, if necessary.