How Managers Can Make Sure That New Employees Don’t Quit

Once you’ve got ‘em, you’d like to be able to keep ‘em
Once you’ve got ‘em, you’d like to be able to keep ‘em
Image Credit: Matthew Warner

Oh my goodness – can you believe just how hard it is to find the right person to join your team? I mean think about it: we craft the perfect job description, wade through a pile of resumes, use our manager skills to interview far too many people by phone, invite a few in to take up our day and meet with us, and then finally make someone an offer. If we get lucky and they are still available and are still interested in working for our company, then perhaps we’ve found the next person to work for us. However, then comes the most difficult part of the process which is the one that we’ve had no manager training for: convincing them to not quit.

It’s Hard To Convince A New Hire To Stay

So here’s an interesting question for you. When somebody joins your team, how long do you think it takes them to make up their mind if they want to remain a part of your team long term? Research has shown that this decision gets made by new hires within the first six months of starting a new job. What this means for you as a manager is that you’ve got some work to do. You have to find a way to convince your new hires to stay and you’ve only got six months in which to do this!

Hopefully you are getting the point that how a manager interacts with a new hire during those first six months is critically important. During my career all too often I’ve seen people get hired and then their manager drops them into a cube and walks away assuming that they’ll learn what they need to do “on the job”. You can’t do this and expect your new hires to stick around. As a manager, it’s going to be up to you to stay in touch with your new hire’s feelings and thoughts.

Good managers realize that onboarding of new hires is really a process. This process is not something mechanical that you can just turn some levers and expect a fully formed employee to spit out the other side. Rather, onboarding is a relational type of interaction between a manager and new hire. Communication is going to be the key here. As a manager you are going to have to find the time to have conversations with your new hire about what you need them to be doing and these conversations will keep going on and on during the entire initial six month time period.

How A Manager Can Get A New Hire To Not Quit

So if we can all agree that it’s important for managers to work with new hires in order to ensure that they remain on board past the six month mark, what’s a manager to do? One of the most important first steps for a manager is to take the time to set very clear goals and expectations with your new hire. You’ll want to make sure that each of these goals has associated measurements so that you can both determine if they are being successful. These goals should cover the new hire’s first 30, 60, and 90 days. You may also want to extend them so that they cover all the way up to the six month mark. Do not just set goals for the new hire and walk way. Instead, discuss these goals with the new hire frequently simply because things change and the goals may need to change also.

When I’ve worked at companies where some employees have been there for many years (20, 25, 30, …) these employees have always amazed me. When there is something to be done, they can simply pick up the phone, make a call, and they will have gotten in contact with the person at the company who is responsible for whatever needed to be done. Clearly your new hires are not going to have the knowledge to be able to make these kinds of calls. This means that as their manager it is going to be your job to help your new hires both identify and then access the resources that they are going to need. This can include such things as company tools, technology, and information. You need to remain available and provide your new hires with the support that they will need in order to access the things that they need.

Often times wanting to stay at a company comes down to who you’ve been able to connect with while you’ve been there. As their manager, it’s going to be your responsibility to show your new hires what it’s going to take for them to be successful at your company. A good way to go about doing this is to provide them with opportunities to meet the company’s highest performers. Allow these people to share with your new hires how they have succeeded at the company and what the internal “rules that are not written down” are.

Finally, getting a new hire to stay at your company is all about good communication. It’s going to be up to you to find the time to sit down with your new hire and have one-on-one conversations about personal drivers such as what things motivate them. You need to be the one asking questions. You’ll want to know what they are learning, what roadblocks they are encountering, and what you can do to help. It will be these conversations and team building that will make your new hires feel like they are part of a family.

What All Of This Means For You

As managers we are only as good as our team is. What this means is that we need to have a fully staffed team that is able to accomplish all that is expected of them. When we have an opening on our team, there is a fair amount of work that we need to go through in order to fill that position. The last thing in the world that we’d like to have happen would be to hire someone to join our team and then have them quit after just six months. You need to take steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

The first thing that a manager needs to do with with a new hire is to set clear goals for them. These goals have to cover the first 30, 60, 90 days and even up to the first six months. Each goal needs to be measurable so both the manager and the new hire can determine if they are being met. In order to accomplish tasks that have been assigned to them, new hires will need access to company resources. Since they are new and don’t know how to gain access to what they will need, as their manager you are going to have to step in and help them out. You’ll need to show your new hires how to succeed at your company. You can do this by connecting them with star performers and having them share how they have been successful. Communication is the key to getting new hires to remain on board. You’ll need to take the time to have one-on-one conversations with your new hire in order to determine what roadblocks they are encountering and how you can help them to be successful.

It can be all too easy to think that the new hire process ends once you’ve selected your candidate and they’ve come on board. It turns out that this is not the case. Instead, the process is really just starting once the new hire joins your team. For the next six months it is going to be your job to work with the new hire to help them to fit into the company and to decide that this is a job that they want to keep. No, this won’t be easy for you to do, but it sure beats having to go out and go through the hiring process once again!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What should a manager do with a new hire after six months has passed?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

With a little luck, most of us spend our time trying to become good managers. However, we realize that the world has a number of different types of managers in it and this means that there are both good managers and bad managers out there. It turns out that one of the main reasons that employees leave a firm is because they find themselves working for a bad manager. Although we don’t want to become bad managers, it might be useful to take a close look at what manager skills bad managers use to drive employees away so that we don’t find ourselves doing these things.