How to Prevent the New Hire Fizzle

Discover the employee's version of the onboarding story and the triggers that lead to fizzling. Explore four strategies to keep the sizzle alive and increase retention, engagement, and commitment in the first year of an employee's tenure.
New Hire Fizzle

Keep Employees Engaged

Alert: Superstar New Hire Ahead 

Picture this. You have a new employee starting on Monday. You are excited. Your HR and Recruiting teams are thrilled. Even your family is relieved to not have to hear another “today was a long day” diatribe, because you have now found the superstar employee you have been looking for. 

Out of optimistic anticipation, you ask HR to kickoff and complete the onboarding process before the planned start date. This will help your new employee to truly hit the ground running. A couple of weeks pass by and you see this new employee working hard and focusing on initial activities. You validate your belief that this person is a good catch, a nice complement to your team… until something changes. 

You start to have this “gut feeling” of concern that your new team member has become a flight risk. You can’t put your finger on it, but the bright flame that once radiated from your superstar employee is slowly starting to fizzle out. Fast forward nine months and you are submitting a New Hire Request for the replacement of your former superstar. Sound familiar? 

While you may spend time frustrated about the time and money spent onboarding, training, and ramping up your new team member, let’s pause and redirect our focus on some noteworthy statistics and then look through the lens of your new employee.


The Employee’s Version of the Story 

The employee receives an onboarding package to complete. On her first day, she is eager to add value and accomplish the goals you have set out for her to achieve. She decided to commit to YOU and invest 100% of her time going above and beyond to exceed your expectations throughout the ramp up period. After a week, she started to feel like another cog in the wheel. The excitement began to slowly decline and as months went by, her fire that once burned so brightly slowly started to die. In the end, your superstar decided to jump ship and join another employer for a new, exciting opportunity. 

A relevant adage comes to mind: “There are three sides to every story: your side, their side, and the truth.”  Let’s take a look at the triggers for fizzling and four strategies to keep the sizzle alive.


Numbers Don’t Lie: Four Contributors to Fizzling 

  • Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months of employment 
    First impressions influence the employee experience and decisions to invest or jump ship.  Investing in this honeymoon phase is critical to the longevity of each employee.
  • 34% of new hires turnover before their first anniversary  
    Employees invest at least 40% of their waking hours to meet the goals that you define for them. What would the impact be on retention and productivity if you spent more time investing in them – especially within the first year?
  • Harvard Business Review found that new job searchesincrease by 12%before birthdays and 16% after school reunions.
    People often measure their happiness against their peers and allow that comparison to drive their decisions.
  • Employee happiness is 23.3% more correlated to connections with coworkers than direct supervisors
    What steps do you routinely take to integrate new team members into your cohesive “corporate family” of connections? Establishing multiple anchors help employees to feel like they are a part of something bigger. Something worth committing to.

Four Strategies to Keep the Sizzle Alive: 

  1. Create a Memorable Onboarding Experience – it’s not all paperwork, incorporate company tours, have them meet their team, treat them to a new hire lunch at their favorite restaurant, make them feel welcome. 
  2. Establish Coaching and Mentoringwhich tend to get overlooked as an onboarding activity and are under-utilized as a common employee development practice. By setting up a mentoring program, you are letting the employee know you are investing in their career and development. 
  3. Celebrate Birthdays and Anniversaries – this is a great way to show that you care about your employees. Consider time intervals, such as: 30-60-90-180-365-day milestones to measure satisfaction and engagement.
  4. Create a Team Environment – encouraging team building activities allows employees to establish trust, collaborate, and communicate in a fun and engaging environment. 

The Simple Truth: onboarding is so much more than documentation to bring on a new employee. Invest now in the first year of your employees’ tenure to increase retention, engagement, and commitment to your organizational goals.  


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