26 September 2023

Hire and higher: How to keep new team members from leaving too soon

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Stephanie Vozza* says it takes a lot of time and money to attract and appoint a new team member, but many will leave within a few months, so it’s important to know how to keep them happy.

Photo: mediaphotos

If you’ve just hired 10 new employees, chances are three of them will quit within the next 90 days, according to a new survey from Jobvite, who are recruiting software providers.

Why so soon?

Forty-three per cent say their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected, 34 per cent report that an incident or bad experience drove them away, and 32 per cent didn’t like the organisation’s culture.

“Thirty per cent is shocking, especially if you consider how much time and energy it takes to onboard them and get them producing,” says Rachel Bitte, Jobvite’s chief people officer.

“Unfortunately, too many have a horrible candidate experience and leave.”

“If they’re technical or skilled talent, they likely had two or three other offers when they accepted yours.”

Stop the revolving door by understanding what employees want.

Millennials and gen Z workers are purpose-driven, says Bitte.

“They want to be connected, and if the job isn’t working out, they’re vocal and they’ll walk,” she says.

“They’ve never had a layoff, and always had tonnes of choices.”

“This forces organisations to focus on culture.”

Avoid being blindsided by an employee who quits by paying attention to your candidate and new hire experience.


Create a partnership between everyone in the hiring process, from the recruiter to HR to the manager, says Bitte.

“The candidate builds the first relationship with the recruiter,” she says.

“The recruiter should regularly check in during the interview process.”

“Once someone’s hired, the HR team and manager own the experience.”

Make sure each person has conversations about expectations.

“Make time to build personal relationships,” Bitte suggests.

“Ask, ‘What has been a surprise for you since you took the job?’”

“If something’s just miscommunication, it can often be solved quickly.”

Assign a buddy

Assign new hires a peer buddy who can field questions and provide advice, says Bitte.

A peer is better than a manager because a new employee can find it intimidating to ask questions or share problems or disappointments.

“The buddy can be a good barometer for how the person is doing,” she says.

“They will have a good read of where they’re at during their first 90 days based on the questions the new hire asks.”

Have a culture of speaking up

Make sure you have a culture where everyone’s voice matters, says Bitte.

“Are employees able to speak up?” she asks.

“Culture makes or breaks someone’s experience, and 88 per cent of job seekers cite culture as a key component.”

Leaders need to understand the organisation’s purpose and how they operate.

“How are decisions made — slow or fast?” she asks.

“Are you data-driven or instinctual?”

“Bureaucratic or a gunslinger?”

“The answers to these questions help you understand your culture so you can find candidates who are a good fit.”

Daily interactions are also a good culture indicator.

“How do you respond when someone brings something to your attention?” Bitte asks.

“Do you listen or make it their fault?”

“The way you speak to things provides guidance and confidence to employees that things are going in the right direction.”

What to do when someone does quit

If an employee does quit within 90 days, assess the situation, says Bitte.

“It’s possible the person was a bad hire, and you missed something during the interview process,” she says.

“But most of the time, you should try to salvage it.”

Have a conversation about what the reason is for their leaving.

“Often it can be solved,” says Bitte.

“It might be, ‘Hey, I thought travelling was 20 per cent of the job and it’s 80 per cent.’”

“That’s a mismatch of expectations.”

“That’s why having those early touch points with a manager, buddy, HR, and recruiter really matter.”

Turnover is going to happen.

“Every industry and every job function tends to be different,” says Bitte.

“Know the benchmark for your industry, location, and job title, and decide where you’re at and where you need to improve.”

* Stephanie Vozza writes about productivity and leadership for Fast Company. She tweets at @StephanieVozza and her website is stephanievozza.com.

This article first appeared at www.fastcompany.com.

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