Skip to main content

Why Won't They Stay?

By Candace Fisher, SPHR, Director, Organizational Development/Certified Coach
Published December 6, 2024

Are you finding that many of your new employees are leaving before they even celebrate their first anniversary? You’re not alone! Consider what some recent studies have found:

  • One in four new hires leave within six months. 
  • Only 34% to 38% of new hires who have worked for an organization for less than six months plan to stay at their organization for three years or more. (Yahoo!finance)

We spend so much time and money trying to recruit and hire the best employees only to have them leave in such a short time. While we can’t control our employees, we certainly can take steps to influence their decision to stay.

Smiling man with arm outstretched shaking hands with another person.

One of the best ways to make a great impression on new employees is to have a great onboarding experience. According to the Brandon Hall Group, great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%. Likewise, Bamboo HR notes that new employees with good onboarding experiences are 18 times more committed to their employer.

Good onboarding begins with the pre-boarding process. Once your employment offer is accepted, stay in touch with your new employee. Make them feel important and valued before they even walk in the door, and ensure that they feel prepared for their first day and first weeks of employment. 

The first day experience should be an awesome one! Don’t inundate them with paperwork. Show them around. Treat them as you would a guest in your home. They will be part of your organizational family, but the first day they may feel tentative.

Involve the supervisor in the process. They will be the employee’s main point of contact, and the employee needs to feel comfortable with their supervisor. Consider assigning a peer mentor to help guide and train your new employee. Someone who can help show them the official, and unofficial, guidelines in your organization.

Set clear expectations for performance. Up to 60% of organizations don’t set clear goals or milestones for new hires. Unclear job expectations are a primary reason that employees feel overwhelmed and may want to leave their job. Train your supervisors to provide ongoing feedback to all employees including those newly hired. Lack of recognition and feeling isolated at work are other key reasons that employees leave.

Onboarding is an ongoing process that should last six months to a year. A poor onboarding experience can make new hires twice as likely to look for another job. To avoid the revolving door, spend the time, energy, and money to develop, implement, and maintain a great onboarding experience. 

If you’d like some tips and tools to help improve your process, plan to attend HR Source’s upcoming session of Don’t Lose Them at Hello: Employee Onboarding.

Got any great onboarding tips you could share with fellow HR Source members? Want to hear some? Join the conversation on the HR Exchange.