The first 30 days: How to Prevent a Candidate from Quitting

Here’s the scenario: you have interviewed countless people, narrowed it down to a few and finally signed what seems to be the perfect employee to join your team.  Success!!

It’s a bit too soon to celebrate.

Onboarding talent into startups is a little more complex than other companies for a simple reason: startups typically do not have people dedicated to onboarding or training employees.

These are exciting environments where everyone works and moves fast. Think of two children playing double-dutch jump rope: it can take a little bit of pacing to find the right time to jump in. Many employees initially feel like they are drinking from a firehouse because they are.

As a founder, hiring the right person for a role that has been open feels like a relief to you. Likely, you or a counterpart has been filling in which has meant double work.  With the new employee on board, it is tempting to say “OK, bye!” and bolt to the other tasks that have been screaming for attention. Hold on for just a minute.

With any new venture, people need some framework to find the confidence to take ownership of their work.


A few things you can do to make onboarding easier:


Hire Correctly

It starts here. Every time. Hiring done purposefully and consciously results in longer lasting employees.


Take Care When Handing Over Accounts

  • If you hand over customers or accounts, make sure all notes are updated.
  • Double points if you schedule handoff calls to introduce clients to your new hire.
  • Prep the new hire for these meetings so they establish credibility out of the gate.  Both the client and new hire will thank you.


Compile Critical Information into One Place

Creating an onboarding document with important information. Examples:

  • Where to find different types of information (Salesforce, Slack, etc.)
  • What is the sales process?
  • How to use the CRM or other tools
  • Contact information for key employees – managers, pre-sales, etc.

Additionally, include new employees in standing team meetings and let them sit in on sales calls.


Communicate: A Lot

One of our clients hired a new Customer Success lead.  The employee wanted to please the founder so he gave the appearances of being ready to jump in and even began to speak to clients in the first few weeks.  The founder quickly found out that the new hire was drowning. He found out when the person quit in the middle of the night… over text.

It’s important to ease people in and provide positive reinforcement.  If you have a small team with no management layer, it is important to take time to check in and to be open to questions, suggestions and honest feedback regarding what they’re learning and seeing during their first few months.


Expect to Clean Up the House

New employees often walk into a mess.  Messy databases, incomplete information and even bad projects can be handed over to a newbie.  If you cannot clean it up before they arrive, be patient as they sift through the chaos.


Invite Feedback

No one likes to tell another person that their baby is ugly, yet your baby may be ugly.  Your product may be half-baked and unusable. Marketing decks may be thrown together. The customer care processes could be in disarray.  The more open you are to hearing what can be improved, the easier it will be to collaborate and communicate towards better results.

Leverage Recruiter Relationships

Part of our role is helping to onboard and retain employees. Take advantage of these relationships and use them as another touchpoint in ensuring a new hire gets off of the right foot.