Stay Connected to New Hires

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Question: I recently hired someone who left within the first quarter. He never gave this organization (or me) a chance. I never even knew he was unhappy or disengaged and now it makes me angry. We spent good money recruiting him and I invested time training him. How do I prevent turnover like this next time?

Answer: You (the manager) and your recruiter (and others who sat in on the interviews and checked references) thought the fit was right. But something changed, or something didn’t happen!

Many quick quits can be prevented.  Most new hires come into an organization excited about their new adventure and filled with energy and potential. Too many managers admit that they leave the “get to know you” stuff to their organization’s orientation program. Yes, they meet with their new hires, introduce them around, and then, well, the connection seems to die. You can’t let that happen.

Connection to You and Colleagues

There is no better way to predict retention and engagement than to assess the links that new hires establish with their manager and colleagues. Don’t assume they want to go to lunch with the team every day, but don’t assume they want to eat alone. Find out what works best for them, but be certain they begin to connect (in their own way) with you and their colleagues. In your early, ongoing conversations you might ask:

  • How are you getting along with your other team members? Are there introductions to other colleagues you’d like me to make?
  • So far, what leads you to believe that you’ve made the right choice in accepting this job? Is there anything that might lead you to question your choice?
  • What will it take to keep your energy? What do you need to stay interested and involved in the team?
  • What do you need me to do more of, less of? How can I support you as you get acclimated?

Connection to the Organization

Your new recruits may or may not have carefully evaluated your organization before they committed. In fact, it’s tough to do during the interview process. The job sounded great, you seemed like a good manager, and the people were nice. Now they’re on board. No one told them you all work 60-hour weeks. You forgot to mention how competitive this place is and that there’s been a lot of turmoil around here lately. One month into the job, they’re wondering who or what they joined. Are their values and yours compatible? Early on, ask questions like these:

  • What have you learned about our organization that surprises you (either good, or not so good)?
  • How does the work pace and schedule work for you? Is there anything we need to adjust?
  • How is our organization the same or different from your last employer? What do you miss most? Least?
  • How can I help you get more of what you want from this workplace? We want you to be happy here!

Keeping new hires engaged and connected to those in the organization is a key factor in retention. Ask those simple questions and keep the dialogue open!


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