Employee Retention Surprise


by M. Anthony Sacco
Stratalyne Business Solutions LLC

The first year is more important.

The (October, 2015) Harvard Business Review published a short article (on page 34) entitled “Talent Quitting Time” about retention. The article is based upon a statistical study done during the first half of 2015 (“Recruiter Sentiment Study”) that investigated employee turnover in respect to retention period. The “new norm” in 2015’s talent marketplace is skewed heavily toward a decision by employees to move on after just one year rather than the typical assumption made by recruiting experts of four years. This is a change most likely being enhanced by both the improved job market and a shift in employee feelings about the negative effect on their resumes of short-term stays versus less frequent job changes.

There was a pattern in the data of which to be aware.

There were three obvious peaks in the data that are also worth noting. Employees were more apt to leave within the first three months, around six months, and following their first year anniversary on the job (anniversary dates are spikes for employee resignations in all of the first five years of the study).

What should we take away from this study?

I think some of the takeaways from this study that apply to today’s talent retention strategies may be:

  1. Make the initial orientation of new employees a valuable and a statement that emphasizes longer term value.
  2. Pay attention to initial training and track the team dynamics while integrating the new employee.
  3. Create clarity of role and goals for the new employee and communicate about those frequently in objective feedback.
  4. Be very aware of the trigger effect created by a poor performance review system that is dependent upon untrained managers and occurs annually on anniversary dates or associated (erroneously) with compensation timing.
Copyright 2015 Stratalyne Business Solutions LLC All Rights Reserved

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