How to reduce infant attrition in onboarding stage?

8 min read
How to reduce infant attrition in onboarding stage?

Have you ever experienced that exhilarating feeling when you start a new job? The excitement and enthusiasm that fuel your ambition and drive? Now, imagine that very same feeling dissipating all too quickly, leaving you disconnected and disillusioned just after you’ve joined an organization.

Before you know it, you find yourself making the difficult decision to part ways with the organization. Well, this phenomenon, known as infant attrition or early attrition, is a growing concern in today's fast-paced professional world.

An interesting point of research indicates that early attrition has a significant correlation with the quality of the onboarding process.

SHRM specifically says that while up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for up to three years if they experience a great onboarding process. Clearly, first impressions leave a lasting impact.

It’s clear to see that by disregarding retention efforts, organizations unwittingly sow the seeds of losing these invaluable, highly marketable workers. This is why we’ll dive into the ways that an organization can reduce infant attrition in its onboarding process itself.

Table of contents:-

What is infant attrition?

Infant attrition refers to the phenomenon of employees leaving an organization within a relatively short period after joining, typically within the first few weeks or months of employment.

It is called "infant" attrition because it happens in the early stages of an employee's tenure, similar to how an infant refers to the early stage of human development.

This phenomenon can have various causes, such as a mismatch between the employee's expectations and the reality of the job, insufficient onboarding and support, or misalignment with the company's culture and values.

Understanding and addressing the factors contributing to infant attrition is essential for organizations to improve employee retention and create a positive employee experience from the very beginning of the employment journey. So let’s find out why exactly a new hire may quit.

Why do new employees quit?

New employees quitting shortly after joining an organization is a common concern that can leave employers scratching their heads. But let's dive into why this happens, shall we?

Hiring  & recruitment process

One reason why a new hire may quit is due to a mismatch between the expectations set during the recruitment process and the reality of the job.

When candidates are given a misleading or overly positive portrayal of the role or work environment during the hiring process, they may discover significant discrepancies once they start their new job.

This disconnect can lead to frustration, disillusionment, and a lack of motivation to continue with the organization, ultimately resulting in their decision to quit.

Building a great recruiting process, recruiting team, and hiring managers is the key here.

Onboarding process

Another major factor is the lack of a smooth employee onboarding process. When new hires feel thrown into the deep end without proper guidance and support, they may quickly become overwhelmed and disconnected. Feeling lost and unprepared can be a significant motivation for them to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Poor cultural fit

Another culprit is a poor cultural fit. Every organization has its unique vibe, values, and ways of doing things. If a new employee feels like a square peg in a round hole, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a growing sense of not belonging. People thrive when they feel aligned with the company's culture, so a mismatch can push them to seek a better fit elsewhere.

Insufficient training

Insufficient training and development opportunities are also a recipe for early departures. When a new hire does not receive the necessary tools and resources to excel in their roles, it's no surprise that they may feel frustrated and undervalued. Without a clear path for growth, they may choose to explore other opportunities that offer more room for advancement.

Lack of support

Moreover, a lack of supportive relationships in the workplace can contribute to early exits. When new hires don't receive mentorship or feel isolated from their colleagues, it can leave them feeling disengaged and disconnected. Humans are social creatures, after all, and we thrive when we have positive relationships at work.

Lack of appreciation & recognition

Lastly, if a new hire perceives a lack of appreciation and recognition for their efforts, it can quickly dampen their motivation. Feeling like their hard work goes unnoticed or unacknowledged can erode their enthusiasm and make them question their decision to join the organization.

To address these issues, organizations must prioritize a welcoming and structured onboarding process, foster a supportive and inclusive culture, provide comprehensive training and growth opportunities, encourage positive relationships among employees, and ensure that recognition and appreciation are a part of the company's DNA and company culture.

By understanding and proactively addressing these factors, employers can create an environment where a new hire is more likely to feel valued, engaged, and motivated to stay for the long haul.

Now, as we mentioned before, the onboarding process clearly leaves a lasting impression. So let’s try to study the most common mistakes during this stage that lead to early employee turnover!

Common mistakes in employee onboarding stage that leads to employee attrition

During the onboarding stage, several common mistakes can inadvertently contribute to employee attrition among new employees. Let's take a look at a few of these pitfalls:

Rushed onboarding experiences

An onboarding process typically includes activities such as new hire paperwork, dedicated time for orientation, and training on the company's mission, structure, culture, and values.

When an onboarding process is rushed, including activities like new hire paperwork, it can undermine the effectiveness of the entire experience. Rushed onboarding often results in new employees feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, and lacking the necessary support to succeed in their roles.

Inadequate or unclear expectations

When organizations fail to set clear expectations about job responsibilities, performance standards, and goals, new employees may feel uncertain and disoriented. This lack of clarity can lead to frustration and a sense of mismatched expectations, ultimately driving them to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Insufficient training and support

Inadequate training and support can leave a new hire feeling ill-equipped to handle their roles effectively. Without the necessary knowledge and guidance, they may struggle to meet expectations and become demotivated. This lack of support can quickly erode their confidence and any employee satisfaction, making them more susceptible to attrition.

Neglecting relationship building

Building positive relationships within the organization is vital for new employees' sense of belonging and employee engagement. If the onboarding process overlooks opportunities for new hires to connect with colleagues, mentors, or supervisors, they may feel isolated and disconnected. This lack of social integration can contribute to early attrition.

Ignoring the human connection

Organizations that focus solely on paperwork and administrative tasks during onboarding miss out on the chance to forge a human connection with new employees.

A cold and impersonal onboarding experience can leave individuals feeling undervalued and unappreciated, ultimately diminishing their commitment to the organization.

Lack of feedback and check-ins

Feedback is the compass that guides us toward growth and improvement.

Regular feedback and check-ins are crucial for providing every new hire with guidance, recognizing their progress, and addressing any concerns or challenges they may be facing. Without ongoing communication and support, employees may feel neglected and unsure of their performance, leading to disengagement and attrition.

Limited growth opportunities

Failing to provide clear pathways for growth and development can discourage new employees from envisioning a future within the organization. Without a sense of potential advancement or professional growth, individuals may seek opportunities elsewhere where their ambitions can be fulfilled.

What is emotional momentum, and how does it apply to new hires?

Emotional momentum refers to the psychological state of an individual characterized by positive emotions, motivation, and a sense of progress. It is the feeling of being energized and engaged, propelling one forward in their endeavors.

As you can imagine, when it comes to new hires, emotional momentum plays a crucial role in their onboarding experience.

As they embark on a new job, they often bring a sense of excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness to learn and contribute. This initial emotional momentum can drive their motivation, help them overcome challenges, and foster a positive mindset.

Connecting this to the common mistakes that we covered above during onboarding, when organizations neglect relationship building and ignore the human connection during the onboarding process, it can undermine the development of emotional momentum among new hires.

Building strong relationships with colleagues, mentors, and supervisors is essential for creating a sense of belonging and support.

It's essential to recognize that emotional momentum can be delicate, especially for new hires. If the onboarding process fails to sustain and build upon that initial positive energy, it can quickly dissipate, leading to disengagement and potentially even attrition.

10 Ways to reduce early attrition

1. Personalized onboarding

Tailor the onboarding process to each new hire's needs, ensuring that they receive individualized attention, support, and resources.

2. Mentorship programs

Implement mentorship programs where experienced employees guide and support new hires, fostering a sense of belonging and providing a valuable source of guidance.

3. Continuous training and development

Offer ongoing training and development opportunities to help new hires enhance their skills, stay engaged, and feel invested in their professional growth.

4. Regular feedback and check-ins

Establish a culture of regular feedback and check-ins to address concerns, provide guidance, and recognize progress. This helps new hires feel supported and valued throughout their early stages.

5. Encourage social connections

Foster social interactions and connections among new hires and existing employees through team-building activities, social events, or collaborative projects, promoting a sense of camaraderie and belonging.

6. Meaningful work assignments

Assign your new hire tasks and projects that are challenging, meaningful, and align with their skills and interests. This instills a sense of purpose and value, keeping them engaged and motivated.

7. Recognition and rewards

Implement a recognition and rewards program that acknowledges the contributions and achievements of new hires. Publicly acknowledging their efforts boosts morale and reinforces a positive work environment.

8. Flexible work arrangements

Offer flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible hours, when feasible. This demonstrates trust and empowers new hires to manage their work-life balance effectively.

9. Regular career conversations

Engage in ongoing career conversations with new hires to understand their aspirations and create development plans that align with their long-term goals. This helps them envision a future within the organization.

10. Exit interviews and analysis

Conduct thorough exit interviews with employees who leave early to gather insights into their experiences and identify patterns or areas of improvement. Analyze this feedback to refine and enhance the onboarding process.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can significantly reduce early attrition, increase employee engagement and employee retention, and foster a positive and productive work environment.

Role of a life cycle management software to reduce early attrition

A comprehensive life cycle management software, such as CultureMonkey, plays a crucial role in reducing early attrition by nurturing the entire employee journey. With its automated employee life cycle surveys, organizations can gain valuable insights across various employee segments and stages, from onboarding to exit.

By sending well-timed surveys, CultureMonkey enables organizations to gather feedback at key milestones, ensuring employees' needs are met as they grow within the company.

This data-driven approach empowers organizations to address challenges, provide support, and create a positive work environment that resonates with employees, ultimately minimizing early attrition. Check out our employee engagement software and employee engagement survey tools to see how they could benefit your business today!


With a focus on fostering positive relationships, recognizing individual growth, and providing meaningful opportunities, organizations can pave the way for increased employee retention, satisfaction, and overall success. Together, we can build a future where infant attrition becomes a thing of the past and new hires embark on a journey of growth, fulfillment, and long-term commitment.

Implementing robust life cycle management software such as CultureMonkey can help significantly contribute to reducing early attrition! Make your new hires feel cared for and value their opinions.

By leveraging automated employee life cycle surveys, organizations can gather valuable feedback, address challenges, and create a positive work environment that supports employees throughout their journey within the company.

Through continuous improvement and a data-driven approach, organizations can foster employee engagement, enhance employee retention rates, and ultimately achieve long-term success.

With CultureMonkey as a strategic tool, organizations can pave the way for a fulfilled and productive workforce, leaving early attrition concerns far behind.