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12 Essential Strategies for Enhancing Employee Retention in the First 90 Days

Published by HRCap, Inc. on April 10, 2024

In today's competitive job market, retaining talented employees is crucial for the success of any organization, especially in the first 90 days of employment. This initial phase sets the tone for an employee's entire journey with the company. It is essential for employers to implement effective strategies early to ensure their new hires feel valued, engaged, and motivated to continue growing with their organization.

As companies seek to hire and retain up-and-coming talent, they face the challenge of Quick Quitting, which is a phenomenon of employees quitting in the first 90 days of employment. Starting in 2022, the Quick Quitting trend made its mark with nearly 30% of job seekers leaving their roles within the first 90 days, and this persists even to this day. Though replacing new hires may seem a simple task, it is financially taxing for the company, as the average cost to hire a new employee is $4700 and the average time-to-fill can take up to 42 days.

Research shows that when companies invest in comprehensive onboarding strategies, they can improve new hire retention rates by 82%. In fact, 69% of employees report they are more likely to stay with a company for three years or more if they experience a positive onboarding journey. Additionally, studies indicate that 70% of companies observed an increase in productivity once they prioritized effective onboarding processes. Therefore, companies must leverage proven strategies for enhancing employee retention within the first 90 days of an employee’s journey for overall organizational success.

Why New Hires Choose to Leave Within the First 90 Days

New hires tend to leave an organization within their first 90 days due to numerous factors related to poor onboarding experiences, leading to increased employee turnover.

1. Inadequate Training

Poor training during the onboarding process increases the likelihood of employee turnover. A staggering 80% of employees who felt they were undertrained during onboarding reported they had plans of quitting. If new hires do not receive the necessary amount of training, they are more likely to feel unprepared and, thus, a lack of confidence to handle the responsibilities of their role.

2. Company Culture Mismatch

Additionally, new hires tend to leave within the first three months because their expectations of the company’s culture differ from reality. 34% of quitting employees have cited “company culture was not as expected” as one of their top reasons for leaving. If the company culture is different from what employers or recruiters shared during the hiring process, the subsequent disconnect can cause mistrust and disengagement.

3. Role Misalignment

New employees are also more likely to leave in the first three months if there is a misalignment in job expectations. 41% of new hires report leaving their position because “the day-to-day role was not as expected.” When new hires feel their role does not match what was presented to them during the hiring process, they are more inclined to feel dissatisfied with their job.

4. Poor Leadership

Lack of effective company leadership can also increase employee turnover rates. 32% of new employees leave due to “unsatisfactory company leadership.” Ineffective leadership can cause poor job satisfaction, which leads to higher employee turnover.

5. Incompetent Manager

Incompetent managers also increase the chances of new hires quitting in the first 90 days. 57% of employees left a job because of their manager. Employees with incompetent managers are more likely to feel discontent with their roles and work environment and more likely to quit.

12 Effective Retention Strategies for the First 90 Days

Retaining employees in the first 90 days requires companies to optimize the onboarding process that will engage and train new hires to be successful in their roles.

1. Build a Structured Onboarding Program

Employers should develop and implement a consistent onboarding process that introduces new hires to company culture, policies, and procedures. A clear and standardized onboarding process with set milestones ensures a smooth transition and sets clear expectations for success in the new role within the company.

2. Provide a Warm Welcome

Companies should extend a personalized and enthusiastic welcome to new employees, making them feel valued and integrated into their team from day one. A warm welcome sets a positive tone for their employment journey and fosters a sense of belonging.

3. Outline Roles and Responsibilities

Organizations should clearly define the duties, expectations, and goals associated with each new hire's position. By outlining responsibilities early on, employees gain clarity on what they can contribute to the team and organization, promoting meaningful engagement and purposeful accountability.

4. Set Clear Communication and Expectations

Companies should foster open channels of communication and set transparent expectations regarding performance standards and available resources. Clear communication builds trust and alignment between higher management and the employee, which reduces misunderstandings and boosts productivity.

5. Collaborate On Goal Setting For the First 90 days

Employers should engage new hires in collaborative goal-setting discussions to establish realistic objectives aligned with organizational priorities. By involving employees in such a process, organizations promote cross-team ownership, motivation, and engagement during the onboarding, which also extends far beyond the initial 90-day period.

6. Pair New Hires With a Peer Mentor or Work Buddy

Organizations can pair experienced employees with new hires to build a peer mentor and work buddy system that inspires collaborative environments and offers greater support and guidance. This helps new hires acclimate to their new roles through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and accelerated learning, all of which can enhance their future journey with the organization and their overall career.

7. Communicate the Company's Mission, Vision, and Values

Employers should share the organization's mission, vision, and values with new employees to instill a sense of purpose and alignment. Communicating these core elements cultivates a sense of purpose and a shared understanding of the organization's overarching mission.

8. Establish Checkpoints During the Onboarding Process

Companies should establish regular checkpoints and frequent check-ins throughout the onboarding process to monitor progress, offer ongoing support, and provide constructive feedback. Consistent feedback empowers new hires to address challenges proactively and aligns them with the team.

9. Offer Training and Development

Organizations should offer comprehensive training and development opportunities tailored to new hires' roles and career aspirations. Investing in their professional growth not only enhances their skills but also demonstrates the organization's commitment to their success and retention.

10. Create Opportunities for Ownership

Employers should encourage new employees to take ownership of their work by delegating meaningful tasks and projects early on. Providing autonomy and responsibility fosters a sense of empowerment, initiative, and engagement in their roles.

11. Gather Feedback Through Surveys

Throughout the process, companies should gather feedback from new hires about their onboarding experience, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. Regular feedback collection enables organizations to adapt and refine their onboarding processes accordingly.

12. Implement Recognition and Rewards

It is also important for companies to recognize and reward new employees for their achievements, milestones, and contributions to the organization. Acknowledging their efforts fosters a culture of appreciation, motivation, and loyalty, reinforcing their commitment to long-term success within the company.


The first 90 days of employment are critical for shaping the employee experience and ultimately influencing retention rates. By implementing strategies and optimizing the onboarding process, organizations can enhance employee satisfaction and engagement, which will ultimately lead to increased employee retention. Prioritizing the needs and experiences of new hires during their first 90 days and beyond creates a workplace where employees feel valued, motivated, and committed to achieving mutual success.

Sources: Jobvite, SHRM, Glassdoor, Brandon Hall Group Paychex, PRNewswire


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