Wait, don’t go: Company culture keeps employees from eyeing the exit

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On average, the cost of onboarding a new employee can range between six to nine months of that person’s initial annual salary, and in this tight labor market where job seekers hold the cards, employee retention has never been more important.

Retention of new hires is a top issue inside organizations, so says a massive majority (96%) of professionals according to a recent survey from Korn Ferry. And on a personal level, 26% of respondents add they’d leave a job if it wasn’t a good fit, even if they didn’t have another position lined up.

“Study after study shows that a culture fit between employee and company is critical,” says Samantha Wallace, technology market leader for the Korn Ferry’s Futurestep division. It's hard to fully gauge if a candidate will fit simply by interviewing him or her a couple times. We assess candidates not only on what they know or do, but how they work.”

It’s important to know what motivates them and what kind of personality traits they have, she adds. “Are they assertive? Risk takers? It’s important to understand if how they work matches how the organization works. Making those links before someone is hired helps ensure the employee will stay and the employer will want them to stay.”

The top reasons new hires leave, according to the survey, is their specific role isn’t what was expected and working for the company was different than they thought it would be.

Further, respondents said a desire for more money was not a primary reason a new hire would leave. Additionally, more than half of the respondents (55%) said that offering more money to a new hire who wanted to leave would not make them stay.

What employers need to do is ensure the candidate is a right fit. Wallace said the first step is to show what the company as it really is, not what you think an employee would like to see.

“If you are a manufacturing company in the Midwest, don't try to portray yourself as a hip Silicon Valley startup,” she notes. “Many companies have a career site where they post videos from the CEO, HR and real employees who talk about what it’s like to work there.”

More than three quarters, (82%) said that if they personally accepted a job that they ended up not liking, even though it paid well, they would leave as soon as they found a new job.

“Unhappy employees will not go above and beyond the basic requirements of their job, even if they are well paid,” adds Neil Griffiths, Korn Ferry Futurestep vice president of global brand, marketing and communications. “Our study found that the majority of respondents (70%) said challenging and rewarding work is what keeps them on the job. Clear advancement opportunities also create a positive environment that benefits both employees and employers.”

What’s important is that the employer conveys what exactly it is they’re looking for, beginning at writing the job description.

“The survey showed that if the role and the company aren't as expected, a new hire will leave,” says Wallace. “Companies should make sure when they are designing a role, they really take the time to scope all aspects so they can correctly convey to the candidate what they can expect.”

One example of tools on the market to help employers is Korn Ferry’s proprietary assessment called the 4 Dimensions of leadership.

“That helps organizations really understand what skills and competencies are needed for a role, and what kind of attributes the candidate will need to succeed,” she notes.

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Employee retention Workforce management Workplace culture Workplace management Employee turnover Employee engagement Employee relations Employee communications