Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Employee Retention: The First 90 Days

Source: Small Biz Daily

Chip Cutter of the Wall Street Journal reports today on the work being conducted at several firms to reduce new employee turnover, particularly among hourly workers.  Cutter writes:

Hold on to an employee for three months, executives and human-resources specialists say, and that person is more likely to remain employed longer-term, which they define as anywhere from a year on in today’s high-turnover environment. That has led manufacturing companies, restaurants, hotel operators and others to roll out special bonuses, stepped-up training and new programs to prevent new hires from quitting in their first three months on the job.

Cutter reports that many firms have retooled their onboarding, training, and feedback processes to focus on reducing "quick quits" - i.e., employee departures during those first ninety days.  Employers have come to understand that it takes roughly three months for new employees to build a comfortable, steady work routine.  Employers are working hard to set clear expectations, as well as to establish short-term goals for each employee.   Then, they are keeping in close touch with those employees to measure progress, listen to concerns, and provide feedback.   Firms are also providing their front-line supervisors with critical tips for how to help smooth that transition for new employees, often based on extensive research on employee retention at the companies.  The payoff is clear for these firms: employee turnover is extremely costly, particularly in this era of worker shortages.  

Of course, I'm quite sure firms need to tread carefully with these efforts.  Sometimes, a new employee is simply not a good fit.   Trying desperately to hold onto that person might, in fact, be a case of the sunk cost effect (throwing good money and effort after bad).  Determining how to let certain people walk away because they aren't likely to be engaged, satisfied, and productive team members is a key capability that firms must develop as well.  

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