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Help to maximize the positive experiences of new employees

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

Good employers recognize the importance of attracting the best talent – and keeping these good people. They understand that the costs of poor recruitment and retention are heavy. Therefore many organizations take an enlightened approach to their new employees. One of the keys is to communicate well with new arrivals. PR can work closely with HR to make new arrivals feel welcome.

Some organisations establish a formal process of ‘re-recruiting’ new employees to accelerate their performance and minimise the costly problem of premature resignations.

Typical newly-recruited, mid-level staff can require six months to reach the point at which they stop costing their employer money and start earning their keep. US figures show that average employee turnover is around 20% per year, so anything that can be done to reduce this figure will save thousands.

You can make a positive impact by recommending a re-recruitment campaign and participating in the communication elements of it. The re-recruitment campaign can take place at 30, 60 and 90-days after new arrivals start.

At 30 days, an HR person meets with new employees to see if their expectations are being met and to check whether they have all the support they need to perform their work. The 30-day period gives the employee long enough to learn about the job and its context, which can produce some unexpected issues on both sides that are better addressed.

At the 60-day point, new employees receive a second orientation to boost their communication and service skills, and the employer seeks feedback about the employees’ training and anything else they feel they may need to be successful. PR people can establish a communication coaching program to ensure the newcomer has the skills to communicate well in the workplace.

At 90 days, employees have a formal review with their manager, which focuses mainly on joint goal-setting for the balance of their first year on the job. In the US health-care sector, more than 25% of employees leave within the first 90 days.

All this may seem labor-intensive, requiring a lot of time to implement. But experience has shown that a re-recruiting program is likely to cause departures to drop by two-thirds, an impressive reduction. The key questions to ask the new people include:

  • How do we compare with what we said in your interview process?

  • What’s working well?

  • Who has been helpful to you…and who hasn’t?

  • Using your past experience as a guide, what systems or ideas do you feel could improve our operations?

  • Is there anything you are experiencing that would cause you to think about leaving?

Some employers also find a good way to bring new employees up to speed quickly is to get experienced employees to share their secrets of success with the organisation. These employees need to be successful and to have worked there for 2-3 years, which is long enough to know the ropes and short enough to remember what it was like to be new. These employees are interviewed and their answers recorded on video, which is supplied to each new employee on arrival. A typical interview question is “What do you wish you had known about this place before you started?” Again, this has several communication elements.

Some successful employers try to connect the new arrivals with key people in the organisation. The manager lists about 10 contacts for the newcomer to make themselves known to early on because they will be important to their job.

Other organisations conduct a 90-day integration program for new recruits by supplying them with an orientation ‘passport’. The passport consists of about 100 task statements (it could be fewer) that the new arrival must complete within their first 90 days on the job. The new starters must network through the organisation to acquire the information to enter in their passport. Every task has to be signed off by a mentor who is assigned to them for that particular task. In this way the recruit’s learning period is spread over three months rather than in a few formal orientation briefings, and the recruit gains access to a wide cross-section of the organisation and its staff. The process creates social contacts as well, which are important for a new arrival. The recruit receives a reward when they return the completed passport to HR at the end of 90 days.

Feedback loops to their manager or supervisor are built into the process so their boss can keep track of their progress. The process also helps to reduce any inconsistencies of input from their managers, especially in organisations with decentralised operations spread over several locations or even several countries.

Think about the elements of the above activities that you could apply or recommend in your workplace for a more productive result.

About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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