With UK employee turnover rates expected to rise to 35.6% this year it is important that employers make sure their onboarding process does not fall short and that they retain their new recruits. Crucially, Gallup has found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job of onboarding – there’s much room for improvement!

At this time of year, as graduates embark on their careers, we turned our thoughts to everyone who is starting their first job and considered how crucial it is that this is a formative experience that shapes expectations, good work habits and a sense of confidence.

The process of retaining staff should begin on the first day of employment. If the onboarding process falls short, and recruits' expectations of their new place of work are not met then it’s no surprise that they will choose to look for another job.

We asked our more recent recruits at TMM Recruitment to share advice based on their personal experience, and feedback they’ve received from candidates who had become disillusioned in a new job.

A Good Fit

It might seem obvious but it’s surprising how often expectation doesn’t meet reality. Lauren Hutton, one of our HR recruiters highlights the importance of realistic job descriptions being key to ensure expectations are met on both sides. “Not everything is going to be 100% spot on (especially when it’s a newly created job) but be as honest as you can about what the duties and responsibilities entail. We introduced one of our registered job seekers to a company who brought them in as a HR generalist, a role which was meant to involve a small amount of recruitment. Low and behold, 6 months in, they’ve barely done anything other than recruitment which has led to them re-opening their job search for a position more in line with their generalist interests and ambitions.”

Remember to include details on team size in the job description too as this will help candidates establish whether the role is suitable for someone who wants to work in a larger or smaller team.

Even if your job description is accurate and your selection process transparent there’s always scope for someone to start a job and realise that it just isn’t how they imagined it to be. To mitigate for this, some organisations choose to offer potential recruits the chance to spend a day in the business, giving both parties the chance to gain valuable insight before making a commitment to each other.

Roll Out The Welcome Mat

Starting a new job is daunting, especially at the beginning of your career, but everyone was new once. We all need to remember this. A simple gesture such as a welcoming smile, the offer of a coffee, and taking an interest in the person’s life outside the 9 - 5 can make all the difference.

Having a plan for a new start’s first few weeks is a clear indication that you are prepared. It helps new recruits feel welcome and contributes to a supportive atmosphere where people are comfortable to ask questions, further easing their transition into the team.

Leigh-Anne McIntyre from our Business Support team contrasts two personal experiences, “Part of my first day induction at TMM Recruitment was a tour of the office and introduction to everyone. This helped put names to faces for me and I was struck by how everyone was genuinely interested in having a chat, it felt incredibly welcoming and a world away to another work experience when within minutes of starting my first day I was thrown in at the deep end and didn’t know who any of my colleagues were, so didn’t know who to ask for help.”

Training and Development

It’s crucial that you follow through on the training commitments you outlined during the interview process and recognise that not everyone learns in the same way. QHSE recruiter Craig Fletcher explains further, “People really value learning by doing the job they’ve been taken on to do, with support from experienced peers, while also working through a training plan and appropriate practical exercises. This blended approach is a motivating combination that’s adaptable and caters to a wide range of learning styles.”

On the job feedback during the training period is key to productivity. Not only does it improve efficiency it enhances performance and confidence as areas for improvement are identified quickly.

Support and Progression

Understanding the routes for career development and progression contribute to loyalty too according to Office Support recruiter Hannah Smith, “In my experience ambitious graduates are inspired by the career paths and achievements of more senior colleagues who started out exactly where they are.”

Discussing progression pathways demonstrates how their career could develop, contributes to personalised training plans and, of course, influences loyalty.

Assigning a mentor to new employees is a good way to help them settle in. However, it’s important to make sure you have the right person lined up for the role.

A good mentor is a people person who genuinely cares about their mentee’s success and well-being. Employees value input from someone who is invested in them and wants them to do well.

The mentor role can often fall to the line manager and Megan Sutherland, from our Supply Chain recruitment team recommends managers make it a priority to understand what motivates the individuals that report to them, “Adapting your management style demonstrates emotional intelligence and a willingness to help people succeed. For example, some people thrive whilst being micromanaged, for others this would feel undermining, or perceived as a lack of trust.”


Everyone likes to know they are doing a good job. This does not have to be a financial reward, although these are usually always appreciated. Recognition can be as simple as saying well done to someone in response to a piece of work. This helps employees to feel seen, and therefore valued. In turn this can increase productivity and incentivise loyalty.

It can take several months to a year for new employees to really settle into a new job. Regular reviews during this time, with constructive feedback, can help to speed up the process. It also shows the employee that you are invested in them and want to help them to succeed.

Getting recruitment wrong can be expensive. In management and company resources, the cost of recruiting a new employee is equivalent to around 26% of their salary. Taking the time to hone your recruitment and onboarding processes is time well spent, and ultimately, should positively impact your bottom line.