How to Reduce 90-Day Employee Attrition and Turnover for Hourly Workers

0- to 90-day turnover is one of the biggest challenges facing organizations that hire hourly workers.

how to reduce 90-day turnover

Think of frontline service, sales, and support jobs in contact centers, retail, hospitality, field services, and quick service restaurants.

While there is a range of turnover cost at various companies, Harver has found that many CFOs are comfortable with using a variable cost of $4,500 per term for frontline hourly workers. So, if you have 500 employees, and you calculate an employee turnover rate of 50%, attrition costs your company a whopping $1.1 million per year. Reduce employee turnover, and the savings flow to the bottom line.

8 Potential Causes of Employee Attrition and High Turnover in the Early Stages of Employment

In terms of determining what causes a high turnover rate among new employees, our research and experience has shown that new hires leave during the first 90 days for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Poor recruiting strategies and hiring sources cause employee turnover

Candidate recruiting and sourcing strategies are weak and prevent the organization from developing a pipeline of better qualified candidates. For example, too much emphasis is placed on traditional sourcing via newspapers and job fairs. This leads to a job candidate pool of unemployed and underemployed individuals who have a history of job hopping, leading to a high employee turnover rate. To reduce 90-day attrition, strengthen recruiting and sourcing strategies.

2. The job was not described correctly

The job was not clearly explained to them or was oversold. For example, schedule requirements are glossed over and not clearly explained. Once the new hires understand the actual requirements, they end up quitting. By conveying realistic job expectations during the application stage, organizations can reduce 90-day attrition and attract employees who have the appropriate skills.

3. New hires do not have the right skills or ability to perform the job

The new hires do not have the right work ability to perform their jobs. For example, they cannot multi-task and then struggle during training, leading to either poor training performance or voluntary turnover. Harver data shows that candidates who struggle with poor work ability contribute significantly to “no call, no show” turnover. This risk is easily pinpointed when the organization requires each department to calculate employee turnover by type of turnover for assessment purposes. For example, calculate the employee turnover rate for employees with less than 30, 60 and 90 days of employment.

4. New hire’s poor work habits

They have poor prior work habits which leads to poor future work habits. The job candidate’s past behavior and experiences provide an indication of future turnover risk. Retention strategies include reviewing and investigating the person’s past job experiences, as much as legally possible, to avoid hiring someone with poor work habits. Always check references, but often, the resume or job application also offers clues. For example, job hoppers are often low performers.

The job candidate's past behavior and experiences provide an indication of future turnover risk.

5. New hires cannot manage the interpersonal requirements of the position

New hires cannot manage the interpersonal requirements for the job and leave because these requirements are overwhelming. Salaried employees, like many supervisors, and hourly employees present this risk because today most jobs at every level require the ability to collaborate and successfully work as a team members.

6. Poor job fit for the new employee

The new hire’s interests and attitudes do not match the required job preferences resulting in a poor job fit. One of the most critical retention strategies an organization can employ is using pre-hire job simulations to help ensure there is a good match between a candidate’s job preferences and the actual job requirements.

7. Under a poor manager or supervisor

The new hire is assigned to a Supervisor who lacks coaching and leadership abilities and behaviors. Calculate employee turnover rate for each unit or department. If there is a high employee turnover rate for a particular department compared to other departments, it could indicate the manager or supervisor has poor leadership skills.

8. Hiring decisions made without assessments or predictive, data-driven analysis

Hiring process decisions are made based on casual observations or gut feel instead of predictive, data-driven analysis. This approach is common when filling jobs with hourly employees.

These turnover factors show up at various risk points during the first 90 days of employment. Identify the applicable risks, and retention strategies can be developed to specifically target the risks. A systematic pre-employment hiring process focused on mitigating potential causes of turnover can help organizations reduce 0- to 90-day attrition, like how Harver helped the BPO Arvato reduce turnover by 63%.

Top Employee Turnover Factors In the First 90 Days of Employment

The following chart offers steps to reduce 90-day attrition based on the specific identified turnover cause.

Solutions that help address causes of employee turnover

Potential Turnover Cause
Employment Risk Period
Solution

Candidate recruiting and sourcing strategies are weak and prevent the contact center organization from developing a pipeline of better qualified candidates.

0 to 30 Days

Shift recruiting sources away from traditional strategies like newspapers and job fairs to reduce 90-day attrition. To improve employee retention, focus on internet-based sources and employee referral programs. A critical element is how the recruiting team executes on these programs, not just having the program. You should also consider maintaining an “always-on” recruiting process so you have candidates in your pipeline.

The job was not clearly explained to them or was oversold.

0 to 30 Days

Implement a checklist that is reviewed by the recruiter and the job candidate.  The checklist covers each critical element of the job. Both the candidate and the recruiter sign it at the conclusion of the visit. The checklist forces clarity with the candidate and will contribute to a reduced attrition rate.

The new hire does not have the right work ability to perform the job.

0 to 30 Days

job simulation can help you measure a job candidate’s ability to learn and apply new information while completing mock job scenarios. Using job simulations is a key strategy for organizations that need to reduce 90-day attrition.

Not only does a job simulation have a strong degree of face validity, but it can measure competencies (multi-tasking, computer navigation, decision logic) that are hard to evaluate elsewhere.

They have poor prior work habits which lead to poor future work habits.

0 to 30 Days

A biographical data assessment can systematically review competency factors like dependability. These assessments have been proven to reduce early stage turnover.

A strong review of work history via an application blank can eliminate those candidates that potentially may not meet your needs. One caution is to not over-emphasize work history at the expense of competencies. By over-emphasizing work history, you can potentially shrink your labor market.

The new hire cannot manage the interpersonal requirements for the job.

31 to 60 Days

A behavioral phone interview, simulation, role-play, or in-person interview should help you evaluate the job candidate against these criteria.

A job simulation can specifically provide the job candidates with an immersive experience of performing the job, giving them the chance to exit.

Personality assessments like Harver’s gamified behavioral assessments can also help you determine if the candidate has the right interpersonal competencies to be successful on the job.

The new hire’s interests and attitudes do not match the required job preferences resulting in a poor job fit.

31 to 60 Days

A job related personality assessment can measure job fit and job preferences. Harver has found correlations between personality assessments, job tenure, and operational performance.

The new hire is assigned to a Supervisor who lacks coaching and leadership abilities and behaviors.

61 to 90 Days

To reduce attrition, spend even more time evaluating your Supervisor candidates against the job requirements to be a Supervisor. A strong frontline performer doesn’t necessarily become a strong team leader.

Person-to-person roleplay scenarios can be effective at evaluating candidates for Supervisor roles. Round out the hiring process by using problem-solving tests and personality assessments.

Hiring process decisions are made based on casual observations, gut feel, or emotions.

0 to 90 Days

Incorporate predictive, data-driven analysis to make initial selection decisions and validate that these models provide incremental improvement in the hiring process.

A high employee turnover rate can be reduced for hourly workers

Each of these solutions can help address causes of employee turnover in your organization. The collective use of these strategies increases the probability of making the right hires which will reduce 90-day attrition rates. Be sure to regularly calculate the employee turnover rate for each group of employees to keep organizational leaders informed.

In summary, many HR leaders that employ sizable frontline worker populations accept high turnover as just the cost of doing business. They do not calculate employee turnover rate statistics on the assumption very little can be done to reduce 90-day attrition. However, a high employee turnover rate can be reduced by taking the steps outlined. Real world applications of key hiring strategies have demonstrated that early stage attrition can be reduced. Reducing 0- to 90-day attrition by 20% or more is not uncommon. The key to increased employee retention is to apply best practices embedded in solid research and analytics. The return on investment can be substantial.

Want to reduce 90-day attrition among your hourly workforce? Schedule a demo to learn how Harver can help you streamline recruiting workflow and better assess candidates at speed.

Picture of Harver Team
Harver Team
Updated on:
June 5, 2023

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