• Carol Ann Wentworth

How to keep your employees from leaving when they've only just started.

The length of time young people are staying on the job is getting shorter every year. At high-tech firms like Facebook, Google, Oracle, Apple, Amazon, Twitter and others the problem is especially acute. Tech skills are in high demand and the market for skilled talent is ferocious.

Your employees know it's a competitive talent market. And they know that the fastest way to increase their salary is by switching jobs. While job-hopping is still frowned on by many firms, they figure they'll take their chance and worry about the consequences later.

The length of time new tech employees are staying is two years or less in most cases. The big tech companies churn through people at a dizzying rate. Of the big firms, Facebook holds on to employees the longest---and that is only a little more than two years. At companies like Twitter, Microsoft, and Airbnb employees are barely on the job long enough for anyone to know their name before they leave for a new gig.

There are a few ways to retain employees and avoid the cost of rehiring.

1. Pay more. Many companies haven't caught up with the new reality of compensation in 2019. They are fixed on the halcyon days (for them) during and after the Great Recession when you could get top people to work for below-average wages. Well, that was then and this is now---rising prices and a competitive job market require paying employees a good wage. If you don't step up it will cost you more in lost productivity.

2. Create a supportive culture that will be a "home" for new employees. No one wants to be stressed or worried on the job. And no one wants to work among people who are negative, hyper-critical or overly demanding. Create a team of like-minded employees and foster an open and trusting environment. Try to give people work that translates to feeling worthwhile and needed.

3. Develop a onboarding program that welcomes new employees and sets them up for success. New employees want to begin contributing immediately, so give them the tools to do that. Make sure they know where everything is. Have their business cards ready. Have HR, the Office Manager or a top executive review the company manual and lay out the ground rules and expectations so the new employee doesn't have to discover these things the hard way by trial and error. Introduce them to their new colleagues (a welcome party is good for morale and sets a positive outlook for the new hire). You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression, so take the time to onboard properly. It will pay off many times over.

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