Employee Retention Starts on Day One

A new employee smiles during a remote onboarding session in her living room.

Most employers start evaluating their employees around the one-year mark when they’re getting ready to give their annual reviews. While this is often when managers start considering the next steps for their team, most employees start thinking about their future as soon as they begin a new position. It’s a natural tendency for people to think ahead and strategize on what their next move will be, long before they're ready to act on it. If an employee’s goals are not in line with those of their organization, or they don’t feel that they are part of a positive and supportive environment, they’re likely to call it quits as soon as they can find a more promising job elsewhere.

Employee turnover is more than just a hassle – it costs companies a lot in lost hours spent on training, onboarding, IT setup, and the new need for Human Resources to create job postings, conduct interviews, and repeat the process all over again. The expense and inconvenience of a high turnover rate are frustrating, and many companies don’t understand how to do a better job of retaining employees. Employee retention should begin from the time a new hire starts, with these strategies:

Demonstrate the Growth Potential

Right off the bat, start showing new hires areas where their colleagues have moved up the ladder within the company. Introduce them around the office on their first day and add in comments such as, “This is Sandra, she started as a Jr. Developer and now she’s a Senior Manager.” It's one thing to talk about the possibility to move up, but it drives the point home when new hires see firsthand the people who have been promoted from within. Employers may be surprised to hear that, for many people, internal promotion is preferred over a pay raise.

Make Company Culture a Perk

Company culture has a significant impact on whether you have good employee retention. People want to be happy at work, and employers need to keep that in mind. It's important that employees feel valued and have the tools to be successful. While company culture may have been defined as foosball tables, pizza parties, and an occasional open bar in years passed, today's forward-thinking organizations foster cultures of inclusivity, autonomy, and a healthy work-life balance (achieved through say, unlimited PTO). You want your place of work to be somewhere people feel valued and therefore value doing their best work. 

Be Open to Feedback

Don’t wait until it’s time for an employee’s annual review to find out if they’re unhappy at work. Make a point of checking in with staff often. Make it known to new hires that you have an open-door policy for feedback, questions, or concerns. Be sure to offer praise where it’s due and do that throughout the year as well, rather than keeping silent until review time. Some great employees may not wait around that long if they don’t feel that they’re getting the recognition they deserve or the support they need.

Offer Remote Work

Offering the option of remote work goes a long way in showing them that your organization is flexible and supportive of their time and needs. Employee retention is higher when staff has the freedom to work from home at least some of the time. Allowing employees to work remotely demonstrates that you trust in their ability to work independently and that you are respectful of their time and work-life balance. 

Need to get your bosses to buy into remote work? That's just one of the many topics addressed in the HiringThing Remote Work Hub. We've been fully remote since we were founded in 2012, and created the hub to share our expertise.

Start new employees off on the right path from their first few days on the job by demonstrating the ways that it’s the people who are important to the organization. On a basic level, people want to be recognized for their efforts and enjoy coming to work each day, so keeping that at the forefront of your mind will help shape your strategy when it comes to improving employee retention and creating a positive and pleasurable working environment that the staff wants to commit to.

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