Majority of executives say new hire retention is an issue

The majority of executives say between ten and twenty-five per cent of new hires leave within the first six months.

Nearly all (90 per cent) of executives polled in a recent survey say that retention of new hires is an issue in their organisation. In the survey, conducted by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry, the majority of executives also say that between ten per cent to 25 per cent of new hires leave within the first six months.

The top reason new recruits leave, according to the survey, is their role is different from what they expected it would be during the hiring process.

‘With low unemployment rates and increased need for specialised talent, keeping new hires is a critical issue,’ says Bill Gilbert, president, North America, Korn Ferry Futurestep.

‘It’s incumbent upon recruiters and hiring managers to paint a clear picture of what will be expected of the candidate in his or her new role, and make sure promises of resources, job structure and reporting relationships are fulfilled.’

Does culture have an impact?

Nearly one-fifth (19 per cent) of respondents say new hires leave because they don’t like the company’s culture. ‘Especially for millennials, company culture is key to job satisfaction and companies must ensure they are correctly portraying the culture during the recruiting and onboarding processes,’ adds Jonathan Brown, managing director, talent acquisition solutions EMEA at Futurestep.

Nearly all the respondents (98 per cent) say onboarding programmes are a key factor in retention efforts, and 69 per cent say they have formal onboarding programmes for all employees. However, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) says the programmes last only one day, and approximately one-third (30 per cent) say they only last a week.

‘Onboarding must be about more than just the basic administrative processes such as entering time, submitting paperwork and logging onto the intranet,’ says Gilbert.

‘It should be an in-depth process that introduces the new hire to company culture, vision and strategic priorities, and should also help new hires understand available development opportunities to help them succeed in the organisation.’

A change in assessment

Nearly half (42 per cent) of respondents say they use data collected during the recruiting process, such as candidate assessments, to help with onboarding once the candidate is hired.

‘Many of today’s assessments provide a treasure trove of information about the candidates, such as their competencies, traits, drivers and experiences,’ Brown adds.

‘Based on the individual’s specific opportunities for improvement, Futurestep’s offering provides clients with customised development and onboarding plans for new hires.’

The survey also finds that less than one-third of respondents (29 per cent) say their company surveys new hires about the recruiting experience. Of those who do conduct surveys, more than half (52 per cent) say they look at results on a regular basis to formulate / adjust hiring practices; 20 per cent review results to help with retention strategies; and ten per cent use the data to trouble shoot when issues arise.

Nearly one-fifth (18 per cent) of respondents say they don’t do anything with the data, even though they collect it.

Brown adds, ‘Candidates are the best source for insight into the recruiting process. Asking them how to make the experience better is an easy, direct way to enhance the ways companies source and attract the best and the brightest.’

Finally, when asked about mentorship programmes for new hires, 98 per cent of respondents say such programmes would help new hires acclimate to their new environment. However, nearly half (47 per cent) do not have a formal mentor programme.

‘Mentor programmes are not only beneficial for new hires to learn about an organisation, they also benefit existing employees by helping them understand the viewpoints and experiences of those new to the company. This allows them to have different insights and encourages them to become more agile as they go about their jobs,’ Gilbert concludes.

Related: How to retain staff

What to look for in an executive hire

Here’s what you should bear in mind when taking on top level staff.

Often you’ll have to hire for roles that you’ve never actually done yourself, and hiring and managing people who are far more competent at their job than you are can prove incredibly difficult. Top level hires are some of the most important investments that you, as a business, can make. So, when they all look good on paper, how are you meant to know what to look for when making an executive hire?

Can they do the job?

Your first insight into any potential hires will often be their CV or, if you’re using a recruitment agency, any extra information that they can give you from their screening. At the best of times, CVs can be a dull read, mostly due to the fact that so many applicants loathe condensing their career onto insignificant pieces of paper. It’s up to you to identify whether the candidate has the skills, experience and the education you feel necessary to do the job to a high standard. If they make it to interview stage let them make the task easy for you and encourage them to demonstrate how the skills they currently have translate to the role that they’ve applied for.

Will they do the job?

Probably one of the most important questions to ask yourself when interviewing is; will they do the job and will they do it well? Recent research conducted by breatheHR shows that respondents believe that the job of a manager is to delegate the workload, be concerned with company needs and rules and generally ‘manage’ the day-to-day running of their department/team. If this is the case, is the person sitting in front of you going to be capable of doing all of the above? It’s also great at this stage to understand their level of knowledge surrounding your company, what you do and their passion for the wider sector.

Will they fit in?

Qualifications aside, it is generally easy to tell through the candidate’s natural synergy with the organisation’s culture whether they would be a good fit for the company. It is often that gut feeling over shared values and beliefs that will be the deciding factor when hiring.

It is fair to say that when we are around people with which we share common values and beliefs, we tend to feel safer, more secure and therefore more comfortable and happy. Research shows that the top two reasons us Brits remain in our jobs is because of good relationships with our colleagues as well as good relationships with our bosses. Establishing shared values with your staff can help with employee retainment, which is exactly what you want if you find the ideal executive candidate.

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Retaining staff

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