Having Trouble Hanging on to New Hires? Here’s What You Need to Do!

In a recent study of over 1000 workers, 31% reported having quit a job within the first six months.

According to one report, employee retention is the #1 issue on the minds of CEOs today —in the U.S., and around the world. Still, few companies prioritize onboarding, while expecting new employees to perform at company standards within 90 days.

Considering that 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment, a thoughtfully structured onboarding process is essential.

So how do you retain your best talent and reduce new hire churn?

The Three Dimensions of New Hire Onboarding

Information found on Harvard Business Review indicates that the most effective organizations onboard new hires for the duration of their first year — their most vulnerable period. During that time, the companies focus on three key dimensions: organizational, technical, and social. This integrated approach lays the groundwork for employees to stay, and to thrive.

Onboarding Dimension #1: Organizational

The first part of onboarding involves showing new employees what they need to know to function at your company on a day to day basis. This includes things like where to park, how to get an ID card, how to navigate the building, how to enroll in health benefits and learn company regulations and policies.

If there is a workplace “language,” this is the time to familiarize new hires on the company lingo. Attempting to decode a bunch of cryptic acronyms that company’s use for key processes or roles can cause a lot of anxiety for new hires. The more they have to ask what this acronym stands for or what that code means, the more they feel like an outsider.

It’s important to help new hires adapt to organizational values and norms during the first year. Hiring managers should formally seek out new hires several times during this time and engage them in conversations about things like the company’s history and brand, performance measurements and rewards, and growth opportunities.

It’s also a good idea to pair new hires with exemplary employees who can share personal stories that will convey valued behaviors.

Onboarding Dimension #2: Technical

“Just because someone is hired for their capabilities and experiences, doesn’t mean they know how to deploy them at your company,” points out Harvard Business ReviewNew hires with special skills or expertise sometimes become insecure when they suddenly feel like beginners, resorting to talking about past successes as a way to prove their competence, which can alienate them more.

To prevent this from occurring, establish clear communication from day one. New hires should be provided with a job description outlining well-defined accountabilities, as well as authoritative boundaries and available resources they should be aware of. It’s also a good idea to schedule weekly coaching sessions to check in with new hires and make sure they are given opportunities to make meaningful contributions as early on as possible.

Giving new hires clear goals will help with establishing and achieving realistic expectations. Sadly, 60% of companies do not set short-term goals for new hires. Assign tasks with an expectation that they will be completed for each meeting with the hiring manager (as discussed in the organizational dimension). Set targets that new hires can realistically meet, then work up to higher levels of responsibility with each task. This helps establish trust and shows new hires that management is paying attention. It also provides opportunities to openly discuss gaps in their skill set and work to improve them.

When new hires feel grounded in their contribution and understand how it fits in with the organizational vision, they will gain confidence and develop feelings of loyalty faster.

Onboarding Dimension #3: Social

About 40% of adults report feeling lonely.  Feelings of isolation are amplified for new hires who already feel like outsiders, increasing their chances of leaving a job.

Helping new hires build relationships during their first year will make them feel less isolated and more confident. Managers should work with new hires to identify several people, including peers, superiors, and internal and external customers, whose success they will contribute to, or who will contribute to their success.

During their first year, the new hires will connect with these people—perhaps in a short meeting over coffee or lunch—to learn and ask for guidance. Building relationships with teammates each day helps develop camaraderie and trust, reducing the likelihood that new hires will feel lonely and cut off.


Organizations that want to retain new hires need to ensure that their first year is positive and productive. When companies follow standardized onboarding processes, they see 62% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention.

Investing time and effort into new employees is a major payoff, especially when taking into account that the cost to replace good talent can exceed their salary.

In order to be an employer that people want to work for in the long term, it’s essential to meet the organizational, technical, and social needs of each new hire.

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Also published on Medium.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.