Being offered a new job is exciting; a new start, an opportunity to demonstrate your greatness, the relief of knowing where your paycheck is coming from. You show up full of optimism and enthusiasm for the first day — this is the first day of the rest of your life! Or is it?
Research shows that in less than six months, most new employees have already decided whether or not they will stay at the company. A shocking 1/4 of new hires are gone from that employer within a year, and nearly half are gone within 18 months!
Let’s think about this. Let’s say ABC INC hired 12 new employees in March, incurring the costs to get these twelve people hired, equipped, trained, and learning the company’s systems. In September, the likelihood is that most of them have decided whether or not they will stay at the company, by March three will have already left, and by the following September only 6 or 7 of the original batch of new hires is still with the company. So for any job you start, the statistics say that there is only about a 55% chance you will still be there a year and a half later.
Why are so many new hires ditching their employers so quickly? While there is always the chance that a better opportunity or an offer of more money came along, in most cases it is either:
- the job experience was a disappointment to the employee, or
- the employee was a disappointment to the company.
In either case, the reasons tend to create disillusionment, demotivation, and a desire to leave. Are you (or your employees) at risk? If it’s been at least six months since the hire date and any of these describe you (or someone on your team), it’s time to take action:
You’re Still Trying to Figure Out What You’re Supposed to Do
Organizations do hire people without knowing exactly what they will be doing when they start; perhaps the hiring manager is waiting to see what skills the new team member will bring, or corporate objectives are shifting. When expectations are not clarified between a manager and a new employee, you can feel like you’re trying to hit a constantly moving target. When roles are not clarified in a team, you can feel like you’re stepping on others’ toes and can’t get into a rhythm at work.
What to do about it: Bump up your communications with your manager and other members of the team. Be explicit about what you think you are expected to do and your progress, and ask lots of questions to verify your assumptions.
You Feel Like the Lone Ranger
Sometimes a manager may look at your start date like he or she has crossed the finish line in the hiring process: once the new employee is planted at a desk with a computer, the hard work is done and he or she can get back to day-to-day business. This approach can leave you feeling like you’re left to “sink or swim” in your new job, and it’s entirely up to you to figure it all out.
What to do about it: Outline your key learning objectives, goals for the first few weeks on the job, and important questions to which you need answers, and go over them with your manager. Confirm that you are on the same page and where needed, ask for the support you need to be successful.
You’re Not Meeting Your Objectives
Despite all your best efforts, you can tell (or have been told) that your performance to date isn’t up to par. You’re not getting traction on your goals, or at least not as much as your manager thinks you should have. Everyone wants to have a sense of accomplishment and pride, and when you’re not getting the praise you’re looking for, it can take the wind out of your sails.
What to do about it: Are you not meeting your objectives because you’re currently not able to, you haven’t created a plan for success, or because you and your manager have differing views on your goals? In the first case, identify what you need to know, have or do in order to be a success, then pursue them as your top priorities. If you haven’t specifically outlined how you’ll meet your objectives, you’re overdue to create a detailed plan. And if the issue stems from misunderstandings with your manager, double-down on your communications and discuss expectations until they’re crystal clear.
You Just Don’t Fit In
Every organization has its own culture and norms. If you find yourself looking around and thinking “I just don’t get how this place works” or “what Kool-Aid has everyone been drinking?” then perhaps you’re having trouble fitting into the culture. Feeling a part of something larger, and having a sense of camaraderie with your colleagues can be a major part of your enjoyment of work.
What to do about it: Give it your best shot. Get curious about the culture. Why are things done the way they’re done? How do decisions get made here? What behaviors are rewarded? What are the benefits to the culture and what do you like about it? What are the drawbacks? As you ask questions and observe the organization from this perspective, you may find it easier to get along because you’re integrating into the culture itself.
You’re Not Viewed the Way You Want to Be
Have you ever felt like other people are viewing you with a different lens than you see yourself? Perhaps you keep getting assigned work that you can do, but doesn’t play to your best strengths while others get the assignments at which you think you’d excel? Or you get the sense others don’t trust you with an aspect of work, and you think it is unfair and unjustified? Feeling misunderstood or underappreciated breeds discontent.
What to do about it: Find out if you have a self-assessment problem or a branding problem. When the perceptions of others don’t match your own, it is either because you are not aware of how your actions are affecting other people, or it is because their image of you is inaccurate. If it is your own perception that is out of whack, Social and Emotional Intelligence coaching can help you build new competencies to accurately read situations with others. On the other hand, if you’ve given people the wrong impression of your strengths and who you are, then creating a strategy to rebuild your personal and professional “brand” will be time well spent.
Have you noticed a trend with these five areas? In an ideal world, the organization and your manager will have robust processes to help a new employee through the critical first few months on the job, which would address most of these issues. But for a myriad of reasons sometimes it just doesn’t happen in reality.
Don’t let yourself become a passive victim to the situation — take charge and manage your own career and success parameters. There are specific strategies and best practices that can minimize and eliminate the reasons so many new employees leave their hard-won new positions.
If this sounds like your organization, we’d love to hear from you as Careerevolution has solutions to help the company close the gap and become more supportive of their new employees. In the meantime, we have specialized programsthat will support individual employees in a structured process to proactively and successfully manage the integration into the company.