Occasionally, there are single occurrences that will drive an employee to quit immediately. Here are 11 examples of how to scare new employees away.
1. Failing to prepare for their arrival
Let's set the stage: Excited and eager, you arrive early for your first day on the new job. As you walk in, you look around and it's a ghost town. Sick of waiting, you wander until you finally find someone. As it turns out, your manager is nowhere to be found and your colleagues are busy. Finally, you're shown to your desk, and it's littered with remnants of the previous incumbent. Computer, yeah, right. All that's there are wires and some used Post-it notes.
All right, that's enough -- you get the picture. A dramatic example, I know, but you'd be surprised how often these scenarios happen. It goes without saying, but you can imagine how disillusioning an experience like this could be.
First impressions are everything, and ensuring that you are prepared sets your new employee up for success -- mentally and physically. The one question that has guided me: How do you want the dinner conversation to go after your new hire's first day?
2. Misrepresenting the job
It's easy to lose site of a job's scope. Over time, responsibilities evolve and the same old job description just isn't appropriate. One of the major responsibilities of onboarding programs and managers is to ensure that the expectations set during the recruiting process come to fruition -- and hopefully are exceeded.
You can mitigate the risk by performing a job assessment and assuring the description is an accurate representation before posting the position. Also, if feasible, including the incumbent in the interviews is a great tactic as well.
3. Failing to provide any support and training
No matter when a new hire starts, it's never going to be a convenient time as a manager. With a to-do list that's already spilling over to multiple pages, your knee-jerk reaction is going to tell you to skip steps, expedite training, and hope that your new employee can figure it out.
If you expect your employees to be productive, then they need adequate training and support. If not, the feelings of insecurity and frustration will cause them to look for a safer environment -- a.k.a. a different job.
4. Overpromising and underdelivering
I'm no stranger to a little exaggeration. However, when the truth about your culture and environment is stretched, it won't take long for your new employees to find out and be forever miffed.
Candidates don't expect everything to be perfect. Actually, being transparent about the atmosphere and admitting its flaws can be the best way to guarantee the right person gets the job.
Just remember, every promise made during the interview process becomes an expectation. Be careful not to overpromise and underdeliver.
5. Taking the "bad cop" approach
Taking the hard-line approach and placing rules and scare tactics ahead of the relationship can be costly. Leading with consequences, being aggressive, and intimidating employees will cause them to shut down and revolt.
Instead, focus on building relationships rooted in trust and respect, and your employees will be far more fruitful.
6. Putting them on an island
This could go hand in hand with no training, but would also include zero socialization. If you skip introductions and leave no room for networking, people will have a hard time fitting in.
As social creatures, human beings require connection and relationships to assimilate to new environments. Without these opportunities, employees feel isolated and excluded.
7. Offending them
This could include being impolite, unappreciative, disrespectful, or employing constant criticism. If this happens, even once within the first couple of days, employees assume it's a chronic issue. (You're supposed to be on your best behavior for at least the first week.)
8. Being hypocritical
"Do as I say, not as I do" never works. Expectations for one team member should be the same for everyone.
If not, thoughts of favoritism and divisiveness will quickly drive your team apart.
Direction and coaching is one thing, breathing down someone's neck is entirely another. People want to feel a sense of trust, autonomy, and mutual respect.
10. Water-cooler talk
On their first day, new employees are searching for validation. They are looking for evidence that supports their decision to join the organization. Adversely, if there are rumors flying around and talks of conflict, then their vulnerability and thoughts of doubt will be exacerbated.
11. Throwing them under the bus
Once you lose the trust and respect of your employees, it will be almost impossible to regain it. Managers who have their employees' backs and take accountability for their actions gain the respect and admiration of their teams.
Yes, these examples are worst-case scenarios. However, these things may be happening at a lesser degree. As HR and onboarding professionals, it's our job to engineer and ensure that our new employees have great experiences. If we can accomplish this, and prevent the situations above from happening, we can greatly decrease early turnover and increase new hire engagement.