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Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace
HOW TO AVOID THE HONEYMOON EFFECT

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

1 out of 2 employees are pessimistic about their future with their organization.

It was his first job after graduate school. He worked as a research analyst for a mid-sized investment firm in Boston. He had interviewed for the job at a career fair during his last year of school. It was an established company that appeared to be poised for growth. During the interview his boss spoke highly of the company and the opportunity for advancement and high income within a few years. It seemed like a great match.

But, after six months his views started to change. The company was not growing and he could not foresee any promotions because his boss was only a few years older than he was, and his specialized skills weren't relevant to other parts of the company. The pay raise he received barely kept up with inflation. He also was growing bored of doing the same type of work over and over again. The more he understood about the company and the market the less respect he had for the quality of the work and the decisions management was making. He now believed that his future with the company was no longer bright.

The honeymoon was over. He began to actively look for another job. The company was about to lose a good, young employee.

THE PROBLEM

This is a common problem for employers. They hire promising employees, and invest time, effort, and money in training them. But then the employees grow impatient and disgruntled, and leave. This is becoming an increasingly important problem for employers today as the number and quality of new young employees is declining.

A recent Society of Human Resource Management/Wall Street Journal poll found that about three-quarters of employees are looking for another job. HR professionals, who were also surveyed, reported that, on average, 12 percent of their workforce had voluntarily resigned in the past year.

Employee turnover is very expensive for most organizations. The cost can exceed 150 percent of the annual salary of the departing employee. The costs incurred include the lost costs for training the departed employee, for conducting business while the position is vacant, search firm fees, advertising costs, time invested by managers during the hiring process, relocation expenses, training the new employee, and lost productivity until the new employee is fully trained.

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WHAT TO DO

  1. Set Realistic Expectations

    When trying to attract promising new employees, it is very tempting to oversell the benefits of your organization. Those doing the hiring, however, are courting disaster if they make promises to recruits they can't fulfill. Provide recruits with as realistic an understanding as possible about what work they will be conducting, what they will be paid, and what the future holds. Tell them the negative as well as the positive. Providing negative information, such as the low possibility of promotion within the first few years, can serve to "vaccinate" them from the impact of any negative feelings they may eventually experience.

  2. Carefully Monitor the Views of New Employees

    I suggest you speak with or survey employees after one month, two months, and six months to find out how they are feeling about their job, their boss, their coworkers, and their future with the organization. Consider using an outside consultant so that the information obtained is more objective. Such a program can help organizations to identify potential problems before they escalate into a lost employee.

CONCLUSION

Hiring a new employee is like getting married. If you want to get past the honeymoon, you need to say, "I do" with your eyes open about both the good and the bad. You also need to continuously monitor the relationship and make needed changes that will help it last.

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