Quitting During Probation: Y Tho?

May 23, 2024

Ah, the joys of recruitment. You find the ideal candidate, navigate the lengthy hiring process, and then, just when you think it’s all settled, they quit during their probationary period. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone.

13% of New Hires Quit During Probation: How to Stop the Exodus

According to ELMO’s 2024 HR Industry Benchmark Report, a staggering 13% of new hires in Australia are doing just that – packing up and leaving while still on probation. This figure aligns with global trends, as highlighted in a recent study by Robert Half, which found that 1 in 6 new hires worldwide regret accepting their job offer. And if that doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out, wait till you hear this: it’s now taking an average of 35 days for new hires to become fully productive in Australia, compared to 24 days in 2023. WTF 😳

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Joseph Lyons, the CEO at ELMO, calls these figures “eye-opening”. With productivity being the holy grail for most businesses, it’s crucial to ask ourselves whether our talent processes are as efficient as they could be. Spoiler alert: there’s considerable room for improvement.

Why Are New Hires Jumping Ship?

ELMO’s report highlights some key reasons, and we’ve dug a little deeper drawing on insights from other sources:

  • Expectations vs. Reality: Was the job description overly optimistic, failing to accurately reflect the day-to-day challenges and nuances of the role? A Harvard Business Review article suggests that companies often oversell the positive aspects of a job, leading to disillusionment among new hires.
  • Poor Onboarding: Did the onboarding process lack structure, leaving new hires feeling lost and unsupported? Research from Gallup indicates that only 12% of employees strongly agree their organisation does a great job onboarding new employees.
  • Lack of Growth Opportunities: Did the new hire feel like there wasn’t room for advancement or skill development within the company? A LinkedIn survey revealed that 45% of employees who quit their jobs did so because of a lack of career growth opportunities.
  • Negative Company Culture: Did the company culture not align with what was advertised or expected? A Glassdoor study found that 77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying, and 56% say company culture is more important than salary.

The Financial Hit

Let’s not forget the financial implications. The average cost of hiring in Australia is a staggering $20,000, as per ELMO’s report. This figure aligns with estimates from the Australian HR Institute. With 13% of new hires leaving within probation, that’s a significant financial drain on businesses.

What Can We Do About It?

The takeaway here is clear: companies need to overhaul their approach to attracting and retaining talent. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Realistic Job Previews: Use “day in the life” videos, employee testimonials, and opportunities for candidates to shadow current employees to provide a genuine glimpse into the role and company culture.
  • Structured Onboarding: Develop a comprehensive onboarding program that extends beyond the first week and includes clear expectations, regular check-ins with managers and mentors, and ongoing opportunities for skill development and feedback.
  • Career Development Paths: Clearly outline career progression opportunities and invest in training and development programs to show employees that their growth is valued.
  • Foster a Positive Culture: Create a workplace where employees feel valued, heard, and supported. Encourage open communication, teamwork, and recognition for a job well done.

By investing in these areas, companies can significantly reduce new hire turnover, boost productivity, and create a workplace that attracts and retains top talent. The challenge is real, but the solutions are within reach.

For more specialist advice on recruitment, hiring and retaining top talent in today’s competitive labour market, get in touch with us.


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