Recruiting top talent requires time, money, and resources — so if you attract a qualified candidate, you want them to stick around.
Unfortunately, today’s early-career candidates are spending less time at their first roles than previous generations. Research shows that the majority of new grade hires switch jobs within the first two years of their career, and some sources state the majority of Gen Z candidates want to quit their first role in just three months. These high turnover rates can cause a drain on company resources and morale, as you must duplicate your recruiting, onboarding, and training efforts to find a replacement.
To maximize your university recruiting efforts, your team must learn to predict when an employee might turnover. Below, we dive into five behaviors that serve as early indicators that a candidate is at risk of exiting your company. Hopefully, your university recruiting team can leverage these warning signs to keep candidates engaged and decrease turnover rates at your company.
5 Key Warning Signs Your Employee is About to Quit
To help ensure early-career talent are happy and satisfied with their work, it’s important to track their engagement within those first few years on the job. Below, we dive into five early indicators of early-career employee disengagement and offer a few tips on how to prevent turnover before it happens.
1. Decreased Frequency in Manager Meetings
Gen Z talent is deeply invested in their careers, and wants to learn from their superiors. Research shows that early-career candidates want an open, candid, and trusting relationship with their superiors. When it comes to communication, the vast majority (75%, to be exact) state they prefer to receive feedback in person, while 39% prefer face-to-face communication with their managers.
Therefore, if a candidate stops prioritizing one-on-ones with their manager, it’s a sign they might not be invested in their role.
Instead, your goal should be to develop strong relationships between your managerial team and your early-career cohort. As part of your managerial training, teach each manager to spot early signs of disengaged candidates. If manager-candidate meetings are too short, aren’t productive, fail to develop new skills, or are canceled altogether, the candidate could be at risk of turning over.
2. Decreased Curiosity at Work
More so than previous generations, Gen Z candidates embrace innovation and failure, displaying a great deal of curiosity at work. In fact, according to a poll by Ernst & Young, 80% of early-career candidates believe that accepting failure in their work will ultimately help them become more innovative professionals.
Most employers look for candidates that express genuine curiosity during the interview process. If the individual’s degree of enthusiasm declines once they become a full-time employee, it might be a sign that they’re no longer excited about their role.
If a candidate is doing the bare minimum at work, constantly misses deadlines, or no longer seems eager to learn new skills, they could be losing interest in their role. To remedy this, implement three-, six-, nine-, and 12-month check-ins to ensure the candidate still finds their role interesting. If they no longer seem engaged, perhaps they would benefit from switching departments. Working with a new team, developing new skills, or tackling new projects might help them rediscover a passion for their job.
3. Failure to Opt Into a Mentorship Program
At Scholars, we’ve witnessed a direct correlation between workplace mentorship programs and candidate retention rates. In fact, employers who offer mentorship programs as part of their early-career candidate experience a retention rate of 72%, compared to a 49% retention rate for those who do not offer mentorship programs.
Mentors offer their early-career mentees valuable career advice from a viable source. Mentors can paint a clear picture of what a career trajectory might look like, suggest external certifications or reading lists, or help the candidate recognize internal opportunities that could be of interest.
If you have an accessible mentorship program in the workplace yet a candidate isn’t participating, it could be an early indicator of early turnover. Invest in a tracking platform (like Scholars) to keep tabs on mentor-mentee meetings, and hopefully predict (and prevent) turnover before it happens.
4. Failure to Engage on Social Media
Gen Z is the first generation of “digital natives,” holding a social media presence for more than half their lives. And while previous generations strictly use social media as a way to kill time, the majority (65%) of today’s early-career candidates state social media is an “essential” part of their lives.
Therefore, if an intern or entry-level employee fails to engage with your company on social media, it could be a sign that they’re not fully engaged at work. If they fail to celebrate their employer online — whether it relates to sharing an article on your recent IPO, commenting on a company LinkedIn post, or sharing their own job acceptance letter — it could be a sign they’re not excited about the opportunity.
Before jumping to conclusions, be sure your team provides early-career candidates with sample graphics or messaging to share on their own social channels. If ample resources are provided yet they still fail to engage on social, it could be time for a one-on-one chat.
5. Decreased Participation in Feedback
Hopefully, your recruiting team has feedback mechanisms in place to continuously refine your candidate experience. Many times, simply sending a brief, two-question survey to a cohort can help create a better journey for candidates.
With that being said, if a candidate stops submitting feedback, it could be a sign that they’re disengaged in your program. If an employee isn’t willing to set aside time to answer two questions, they could be looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Set a goal to establish a pulse check with your early-career cohort on a monthly basis. To track candidate participation in surveys, company events, or virtual meetings, be sure to use software — like Scholars — that tracks employee engagement. That way, you can check in with candidates to see if there’s anything you can do to facilitate a better experience.
Decrease Turnover Before it Happens With the Scholars Platform
Today’s early-career candidates are curious by nature, invested in developing connections with their superiors, and want to gain feedback on their performance. Therefore, if you see signs of disengagement — missing manager check-ins, not signing up for a mentorship program, or missed deadlines — they might not be fully invested in the opportunity.
While these behaviors are warning signs of turnover, they are just that: signs. Therefore, try to prevent turnover before it happens by checking in with each candidate on a regular basis. Sometimes, a simple adjustment — such as moving to a different department or pairing with a different mentor — is all that’s needed.
To help track these behaviors, be sure to use the Scholars recruiting platform. With Scholars, you can build, track, and refine custom journeys for early-career top talent. To see how Scholars can help transform your candidate experience, schedule a demo.