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Encourage Employee Engagement and Discourage Exits

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Allison Snow
on November 17, 2014

“Brain Drain.” That’s one way to describe the revolving door of employee hires and exits when voluntary turnover becomes an issue.

And it’s become an issue.

More than half of new employees have “buyer’s remorse” and 83% of those individuals leave their employer in the first year (Holman, R., 2014, Glassdoor Employment Brand Summit). Yikes. 

How can this go so wrong? After all, there’s a candidate evaluation process made up of interviews, background checks and exposure to anywhere from a few to a dozen team members. So while some were poor fits that got through the cracks, many were rock stars that simply didn’t have the employment experience they expected. 

If you’re confident about your employee evaluation process, your sights should be set on engagement and retention, and you should keep reading this post. (If you’re not, start here, or here, or here.) 

While there’s many reasons that a new hire experience might not be consistent with an incoming employee’s expectations, it’s worthwhile to explore three of the most common (if broad) categories that make new employees pack their bags. 


There’s a great disconnect between the attention individuals receive as candidates and their experience as new members of a team.  

Is an employee going to walk out the door because the laptop isn’t ready? Because the boss doesn’t bring them to lunch? Likely not. (But as an aside… how hard is it to have those things ready?)

Either way, solving these issue doesn’t really move an onboarding program forward.  An onboarding program is optimized by a managed entrance – a programmatic way of introducing new employees to culture through repeatable processes that include video and social, new hire portals that make it easy to complete the paperwork that’s top of mind for every new employee, and, for particularly well-managed programs, mentorship design for every level of new hire to illustrate the long-term commitment of the organization and the employee. 

The Boss 

This umbrella term includes the psycho boss, the boss that doesn’t trust, the boss that’s incompetent, the drive-by boss, the boss that doesn’t care about work/life balance, the micro-manager, and dozens of other boss stereotypes. 

In our recent blog post, Top 5 Reasons Why People Quit Bosses, Not Their Jobs, Maren Hogan references a study that revealed that 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses, supporting her thesis (and mine) that an individual’s relationship with a direct manager is a key source of employee satisfaction or frustration. 

The Work

While the must-haves of “the work” are covered pretty well on a job description and described in more detail throughout the interview/acquisition process, there are lots of things about the work that might be unexpected. Unexpected calls and texts after hours or on weekends, taking on responsibilities never discussed during the interview process, or work being far less flexible than promised or assumed are just some of things that might impact a new employee’s satisfaction. 

Once we get over the format of work, there’s the actual nature of the work. Responsibilities can easily be overly challenging for a person’s experience level or unfulfilling in its lack of demand, both of which are intolerable over the long-term (and the short-term, for individuals who are qualified to jump from one job to another without wasting a lot of time). 

Bottom line, if you only want to evaluate candidates because your business grows and not because your workforce shrinks, invest in engaging and recognizing your rock stars. Get started with 4 Tips to Encourage Engagement and Discourage High Performing Talent Exits. Explore ways to engage rock stars, expose high-potentials to new challenges with lateral movement, the benefits of embracing social, and the power of recognizing today’s performers as tomorrow’s pipeline.

Attract talent you’ll keep – and keep inspired – by building a culture of engagement, support, and recognition.

Keep Your Edge

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