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Employees who left their jobs within the first year share the top reasons they quit

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Internal employer branding is an overlooked asset to clamp down on attrition.

According to recent Korn Ferry research, employees often feel that how hiring managers present the role and company during the interview process falls short of actuality once they’ve joined the organization, resulting in turnover early in their tenure. Employees who left in the first six to twelve months cited reasons like feeling out of sync with the company’s culture or mission, not understanding the employee's impact, and discovering that their tasks or responsibilities were not as described.

Korn Ferry noticed this trend with its clients when examining why employees left within their first year at a new job.

“Employees weren't really understanding: What is the brand of the company that I'm working for? What is the value proposition, as an employee, that's available to me?” says Jacob Zabkowicz, vice president and general manager of global recruitment process outsourcing at Korn Ferry and report coauthor. During the onboarding phase, he says, companies must move beyond operational procedures like collecting I-9s and W-2s and ensure new hires understand what it means to work for the company.

Focus on the "employee value proposition” (EVP), Zabkowicz says, or what makes the company a great place to work. The EVP should be updated frequently, realistic, and avoid overselling the job or company culture.

As for employer branding, organizations can improve how they market themselves to job candidates by focusing on three key areas:

1. Know what is important to your employees and cater to those values. This can include volunteering opportunities or philanthropic donations, benefits offerings, flexible work arrangements, employee resource groups, and community service.

2. Align your employees’ values with the company’s values. In other words, ensuring that what candidates are sold on is integral to the company’s business strategy and mission.

3. Communicate these values to your employees repeatedly. Some examples include promoting employee benefits offerings outside the open enrollment period or marketing ERGs and volunteer opportunities internally.

While external employer brand marketing is important, Zabkowicz warns that internal branding is just as crucial. “Companies can offer a good brand to the consumer market, but let's focus on the employee brand and how that will retain individuals,” he says.

Paige McGlauflin

This story was originally featured on

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