What do leaders dread the most? Hiring new talent. Whether from an existing pool within the organization or having to go outside, finding the right talent mix is a daunting task for leaders at all levels. According to recent data, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population experiences some type of career transition each year. Unfortunately, many transitions are not successful. Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs in the first four months, and half of senior outside hires fail within 18 months, states the report “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success” by the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation.

So, once you hire the right people, how do you get them to stay and be successful at their new job? “Research and wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job,” the report states. “The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.” In my experience as a supervisor in the Department of the Army, it was important for people to know they were part of a team. It is not enough to sit a new hire at a desk, furnish them with a computer and supplies, and then walk away. Finding the right person in any industry can take a long time, and you should not leave anything to chance. When I got a new person, I would welcome them and give them a chance to introduce themselves. I would study their resume, so I could better understand their background and capabilities. Yes, I would sit them at a desk with supplies and a computer, but I would also assign them a mentor.

Integration into one’s work group is positively related to commitment and turnover, the report states. “And high-quality relationships with leaders and other team members undoubtedly are related to favorable onboarding outcomes, including performance and job satisfaction.” Ultimately, new employees would be given opportunities to get familiar with Army regulations relevant to their job and the Department of Defense in general. The employee would have a chance to see what he/she can do. Depending upon the grade level, I determined the initial assignments they were given. Integrating new employees into the office environment is a make-or-break situation. Making sure they understand what is expected of them and giving them the opportunity to shine will help them want to stay. But not everything is up to leadership; the employee also needs to be proactive in getting involved. “The ultimate failure of onboarding is the withdrawal of potentially good employees,” the report states. “Losing an employee who is a poor fit or not performing well may be a fine outcome, but losing employees because they are confused, feel alienated or lack confidence indicates inadequate onboarding.”

Simply put, good onboarding leads to good retention rates. The leader’s goal to make sure the new hire wants to stay, feels engaged and wants to contribute to the long-term goals of the organization. Give them the right training and let them make mistakes. Gaining the trust of leadership will go a long way in keeping a good employee. Finally, the leader should take the appropriate steps to initiate new hires into the organization. Communicate from the beginning to gain their trust, expect the best, mentor where it matters, and let that individual grow and expand in the knowledge they are a real contributor to the organization’s overall mission.