Reasons New Hires Fail: Is Leadership to Blame?

Every organization wants to find the right people and then keep them around for a long time.

Unfortunately, a recent study by Leadership IQ showed that a staggering 46% of new hires fail within 18 months.

That is a lot of time and money wasted on hiring and training new employees only to see them leave shortly thereafter.

What is the reason for this high failure rate of new hires?

And more importantly, what can leaders do to improve retention and help their new hires succeed?

Why do new hires fail?

The are several reasons new hires fail with ineffective leadership being the primary cause. Other reasons include: poor hiring practices, lack of value alignment, negative attitudes, unclear expectations, non-competitive salaries, and unreasonable workloads.

7 reasons why new hires don’t work out and fail:

1. Ineffective leadership leads to employee failure

Poor leadership can cause new hires to fail in any number of ways, including inadequate training and support, not fostering an atmosphere of respect within their team, and failing to recognize successes.

In addition, if a leader isn’t able to create a connection between the job requirements and the new hire’s motivation and values, the employee may find any number of reasons to quit.

2. Poor hiring practices lead to employee failure

Sometimes the simplest answer is that an employee never should have been hired in the first place.

At the end of the day, leaders who hire without a fully formed and intentional hiring strategy are setting their teams up for failure.

3. Lack of value alignment leads to employee failure

Another reason for failure is that an employee may not be a good fit for the organization, either due to cultural differences or a lack of value alignment with the company’s mission and vision.

Leaders who fail to take this into consideration when hiring, onboarding, and training new hires, are likely to see their employees fail.

4. Negative attitudes lead to employee failure

In the same Leadership IQ study, it was discovered that 89% of hiring failures come as a result of poor attitudes held by new hires and have nothing to do with a lack of technical skills.

Strong leadership can identify these attitudes early on and either not hire these individuals in the first place or find ways to remediate them early on.

5. Unclear expectations lead to employee failure

It’s essential for leaders to clearly communicate expectations with their new hires during the onboarding process. If they don’t, it can lead to confusion and frustration on both sides.

New hires need a clear understanding of what is expected from them in order to be successful in their roles.

6. Unreasonable workloads lead to employee failure

If new employees are given too much work and don’t have the resources to handle it, they will quickly become overwhelmed.

Leaders must ensure that workloads are reasonable and that their teams have access to the tools necessary to do their jobs effectively.

7. Non-competitive salaries lead to employee failure

When organizations are unable to keep up with their competition, they may find themselves in a situation where new hires don’t stick around for very long.

Leaders must do their research on industry trends and average salary ranges to ensure salary expectations are realistic and that their personnel is adequately compensated for their work.

What can leadership do to improve retention?

In order to improve retention, especially for new hires, leadership development is one of the best ways to help management grow and evolve into effective leaders.

Leadership development can include ongoing training, mentorship, and coaching on the key areas that will have the most direct impact on their leadership skills and retention-building strategies.

Hire for value alignment to improve retention

To be an effective leader and set teams up for success, hiring strategies need to be built on a foundation of value alignment.

Leaders need to make sure that the values, goals, and motivations of their new hires are in line with those of the organization.

Set clearly defined expectations to improve retention

It’s essential for leaders to communicate clearly with their new hires about expectations and job requirements.

This will help ensure that new employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected from them and can more easily hit the ground running.

Create a safe space for dialogue to improve retention

Leaders need to create a safe space for dialogue and feedback where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs, goals, and ideas.

This will help foster open communication between team members and make sure expectations are met.

What skills do leaders need to retain employees?

To help new hires succeed in their roles, there are several key leadership skills that managers should have including empathy, trust-building, adaptability, value-alignment and burnout awareness.

Empathy for employee retention

Leaders must be able to understand their employees’ feelings and experiences in order to successfully lead a team.

They should have an understanding of the challenges that can arise in the workplace and how to address them with empathy.

Fostering trust and collaboration for employee retention

Leaders need to foster an environment of trust, collaboration, and respect.

They should be able to create an open dialogue with their employees, listen to their ideas, and work together to find solutions.

Resiliency for employee retention

Leaders should possess resiliency in order to effectively lead their teams.

This means they must be able to remain composed and level-headed under pressure, as well as persist through challenging situations.

Adaptability for employee retention

Leaders should be able to remain adaptive and adjust to changing conditions in order to meet their team’s needs.

They should also be open to feedback from their employees, as this will help them stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.

Value-alignment for employee retention

Leaders should lead by example and show their employees that they are passionate about the company’s mission and vision and that their values and goals are in line with those of the organization.

By doing so, they will be able to create an environment where employees feel inspired and motivated to do their best work.

Burnout awareness for employee retention

Leaders need to be aware of burnout and the effects it can have on their teams.

They should be able to recognize when an employee is struggling, offer support, and create a healthy work/life balance to ensure that employees are not overworking themselves.

By understanding how to address burnout, they will be better equipped to retain their employees and ensure that everyone is performing at their best.

Leadership development for employee retention

Leadership plays a crucial role in employee retention, especially for new hires.

By having the right training and skills, leaders can create an environment that allows for open dialogue and trust, fosters value alignment, and offers support when needed.

With these skills, leaders will be able to not only retain new hires but also help them grow and succeed in their roles.


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