I recently hired a new recruiter who quit after just one week.

I had high hopes for this person. They were experienced in the industry in general, and I have a ton of experience in the area I was deploying them into.

I even brought on another employee to create a guide based on our experience so I could onboard later hires even easier.

Can you guess their reason for leaving so quickly?

They didn’t feel they could meet the expectations of the role.

To say I took a big bite of humble pie is an understatement. I thought that I’d secured a new employee as a part of my team, but I’d missed something crucial.


Over Communication is Key

I looked at the common reasons for why good employees leave. Was it an unhealthy workplace? Were their values not aligned with the company’s? Did they feel there was a lack of appreciation?

All of these questions are hard to ask and even harder to answer, but in this case I was confident that I have a healthy workplace, this was an experienced employee and that this job was ripe for advancement.

I knew that in this post-covid world there was more to it, so I went back to their own words.

And then it hit me:

They felt they couldn’t meet the expectations because I hadn’t communicated what was expected of them soon enough. I hadn’t over communicated a process and how much help they could expect to receive.

In today’s work environment there’s so much happening so fast in a growing business that it’s easy to overwhelm a new employee. Managers must plan to hand hold a new hire for the first week to make them feel comfortable in the new role.

It’s critical during that time to be upfront with them early about what they need to know and how much help they can expect.

But for a business on the rebound from covid or simply growing naturally, it’s so hard as a manager to make time for someone new.


Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

So I looked back at my process to see if there was more insight to uncover there and realized something fascinating:

I’d put the cart before the horse.

I’d hired someone to make a self-training guide after bringing on the candidate, when I should’ve done it the other way around.

Imagine if they’d come to the office and found a manual waiting for them that I’d taken time to write, a manual that clearly stated the duties of the job and detailed a process that they could use to teach themselves. I could’ve just said that I was available if they had any questions.

Would this employee still have left?

Of course it’s impossible to know for certain, but I feel comfortable saying that the odds would be much lower.


Why Good Employees Leave Is Not A Mystery

It stems from lack of preparation.

The lesson is clear:

As a manager, make sure you’re willing to be active with new employees for the first week, or prepare materials for them to come in and guide themselves.

What’s key is to over communicate what’s expected and minimize surprises.

Nobody wants a good employee to leave. Over communication is one of the best ways to ensure that they don’t, especially so soon after being hired. Add on a healthy work environment, aligned values and appreciation for their work and employees won’t want to disappear.

Chuck Vogel