Employers swear by the 90-day rule for new recruits

If you can hold on to new recruits for 90 days, the chances are that they’ll stay on for anywhere between a year and a lifetime. As a growing number of companies adopt this initial retention goal, HR professionals are busy tailoring their bonus, onboarding and training policies accordingly.


So says The Wall Street Journal in a recent article on the subject. For a quick summary of the main points, please read on.

  • Every ‘early quitter’ – i.e. every new hire who leaves within the first three months of joining a company – can cost thousands of pounds in training expenses, time and lost revenue.
  • The initial three-month period is when new recruits become familiar with a company’s values and working practices. They get to know their teams and other key players in what some HR professionals liken to an extended reverse interview process. If new employees are disappointed on any of these fronts during this time, they’re likely to jump ship.
  • HR professionals have been tailoring their onboarding practices in a number of ways in a bid to increase retention. Managers have been briefed to contact employees before their first day so they don’t get lured to a rival company before they even start. Team leaders have been tasked with setting clear, structured weekly goals for new employees to help get them up to speed quickly.
  • With the same 90-day retention goal in sight, some companies encourage regular, structured meet-ups with HR to check in with new recruits and identify any budding issues. Others ensure that new recruits have the opportunity to meet colleagues beyond their own team in the initial weeks. Buddy programmes have gained in popularity. And some new recruits have been given IT tools to provide anonymous feedback on an ad-hoc basis to empower managers to take quick, corrective action.
  • New hire bonuses, which come into effect after new employees hit the three-month mark, are on the rise both in terms of value and frequency.

With their eyes set on the golden 90-day retention milestone, HR managers are placing more importance than ever on ensuring that new recruits have a successful onboarding experience. We’re watching this space keenly to see which tools and practices are found to be the most effective over time.

ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, wishes you all the best with your onboarding programme. If you’d like some support at the initial stage of the process – i.e. the recruitment stage – please get in touch. We will source candidates that suit all your exacting requirements and are in it for the long haul. Please email us at info@ablrecruitment.com or on 020 7092 3939 to brainstorm the options.