The Great Resignation may be leading to the next trend: The Great Regret. Over 72% of young job seekers say they have experienced buyer’s remorse after changing jobs, saying the role or company was very different from what they were led to believe. That’s according to a January survey of more than 2,500 millennial and Gen Z job seekers conducted by The Muse.
When a job seeker feels surprised or misled after starting their new job, turnover is inevitable. And most don’t plan to waste much time before jumping ship; roughly 20% of job seekers say they would quit within a month if their new job isn’t what they expected, and another 41% would give a new job just two to six months before quitting. That is costly for employers, both in terms of resources spent recruiting and onboarding and in morale on the team with a revolving door.
The problem may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, which had more companies interviewing and working remotely. It’s harder for new employees to get a feel for the work and the work environment without direct interaction with managers or coworkers. The isolation of remote work also reduces the new hire’s ability to bond with their team, says The Muse CEO and founder Kathryn Minshew. One reason people stay in a so-so job is that they like their boss or coworkers. Without the perks of a fun campus, social coworkers, or a company mission they connect to, workers begin to rethink their decision. One worker who left a job after just a few months said, “You have to think, do I actually like this job? If I have to look at this screen by myself eight hours a day with no one else around me, is it enough?”
A lot of people are saying no.
Common wisdom was that workers should stay in a job at least a year and have new employment lined up before quitting, but the new post-pandemic normal has altered the way some workers think. Workers have more options than ever, and employers are desperate for talent. The impact of changing jobs quickly may not be felt in the short-term, but the long-term may be a different story as it is still one of the key factors our clients use in judging if they want to hire a prospective candidate.
Recruiters are under pressure to fill key roles, but that’s all the more reason to be completely transparent about culture and workload. Give candidates plenty of time to ask questions about the work and management styles, and arrange for a candid check-in session a few weeks after the new hire starts. Ask if the job is going well and whether they feel they have the training and support they need to be successful. Encourage them to be completely honest; at best, you can work with management to make changes or add resources. At worst, you’ll have a heads up that turnover is likely. You may be able to reach out to your number two or three choices to see if they are still interested in your role.
To reduce the risk of early turnover, take these steps.
- Review your position descriptions to make sure they are accurate and up to date. Discrepancies or significant changes in job duties are a major reason for early turnover. Be sure that if a job duty is essential and significant, it’s not downplayed or buried deep in the PD. A good way to avoid job duty surprise is to make sure managers describe a typical day on the job in the interview.
- Career development is the top reason for turnover in the first year of employment, according to the Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report. In other words, if employees don’t feel like the company can support their future growth and learning, they’ll move on to a company they think is better aligned with their goals. Management giving frequent and specific performance feedback and making sure employees have access to training resources right away after onboarding can be impactful.
For your own internal hires, your managers are your first – and last – line of defense against early turnover. From the onboarding experience to making sure the new hire feels welcomed as part of the team, your managers play a critical role in connecting new hires to the mission, the job, the team and the company. Make sure they understand the importance of listening and acting on signs that employees are feeling disconnected.