Reduce employee turnover in the first 90 days

Joel Garfinkle

High employee turnover dramatically affects the bottom line of your company. When you add up the cost of temp staff, severance packages, unemployment benefits, advertising, recruiting, and lost productivity, you’ll find each employee turnover can cost 150 to 250% of the total compensation.

Take these five steps to keep your worker retention optimal.

1. Hire top talentSpend the time, effort, and money to hire the best employee you can afford. An excellent employee adds much greater value to the company than an average worker. In the hiring process, be transparent about who you are, how you act, what you do. Surprises aren’t good: It’s much better for your new hires to know in advance they're expected to be in phone contact 24/7 rather than after they take the job. A major cause of turnover in the first 90 days is the job not being what the worker expected.

2. Orient properlyHave a smooth functioning employee retention and training program. Make sure it tells new hires what they need to know. At the start:

  • Review job descriptions and expectations.
  • Lay out your company's service philosophy and ethics.
  • Restate company rules and regulations — dress codes, professional standards, communication methods. Also explain health and other benefits and how to get them.
  • Go over schedules, overtime, safety and security procedures.
  • Review the company’s unique selling position and show how the employee's work will influence the company’s success.

Make sure the employee's work area is appropriately outfitted and they have the passwords and accesses needed to do their work.

Consider assigning a buddy or mentor to coach them through the company culture and let them know:

  • Who has the knowledge they need
  • Who is the go-to person for each issue
  • Who are the clients, vendors, and staff with whom they will interact
  • Other essential connections and ways of doing things

A major cause of turnover in the first 90 days is the job not being what the worker expected.

3. Invite feedbackHave periodic reviews to give feedback to the new hire as well as measure performance goals or see if the new person is meeting teamwork expectation. Make sure the communication is two way. For the first weeks and months of employment as appropriate, have a check-up at the end of each day to answer any questions the new employee has. Simple problems of new hires, such as where to mail a letter or who can help with computer trouble, slow their work, create tension and frustration, and may result in poor feelings toward the company. To retain your new workers, make it easy to get questions answered and problems solved. In periodic reviews, check to see how well employees feel they are progressing. Do they think the orientation process was effective? Are they feeling integrated into the company? Are there any lingering questions?

4. Encourage trainingMake sure your new employees get into the training classes they need to best function in their jobs. If training is by peer mentoring, check frequently to make sure learning is taking place — by both the trainer and the trainee. Consider a formalized checklist so that new employee can quantify learning and measure progress.

5. Eliminate poor managersOne company had two sections that performed similar functions: One had steady employees; the other had 100% turnover each year. The difference? The managers. When dealing with poor managers, consider the savings that come from either a remarkable retraining of them or their replacement. The most common reason employees leave a company is dissatisfaction with the boss or management.

Don’t spend all that money training new hires just to see them leave for your competition. When you follow these five steps, you can reduce turnover in the first 90 days and retain your valuable employees for years to come.

Joel Garfinkle is a top US leadership coach, who has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Deloitte, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Ritz-Carlton, Citibank, and Microsoft. He has written seven books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. Visit www.GarfinkleExecutiveCoaching.com to learn about his books and executive coaching services, access over 300 free articles, or subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter and receive the free e-book, 41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!


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