The Five Reasons New Hires Fail in the First 18 Months

BlogHR Advice Posted: Thursday 14th April 2016 by

Fact: 46% of new employees will fail within their first 18 months on the job. This startling figure (revealed by a study by Leadership IQ) is enough to put you off that exciting career move, or even step foot on the career ladder in the first place.

The trick to ensure you are not one of those doomed to fail is in being able to understand how employers categorise success and failure and to have a realistic idea of how well you perform in these areas before beginning a new role.

These are the key areas identified in the survey:

1. Coachability
This was the biggest failing identified by employers, with a staggering 26% pinpointing new hires struggling to receive and harness feedback. Having a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses is an important starting block – this will help you to understand where you can improve and where others can add value.

2. Emotional Intelligence
Most organisations now recognise EI as a core professional attribute. Indeed, almost a quarter (23%) of managers found that new recruits showed difficulty managing their own emotions and accurately reading those of others. Fortunately you can work on developing this competency just as any other skill; begin by assessing your EI via one of the plethora of tests available.

3. Motivation
17% of those surveyed spoke of employees who lacked the drive to perform to the best of their abilities. Motivation is a harder skill to teach than most, but the first step is perhaps to have an honest conversation with yourself about what drives you and whether a particular role really ticks all the boxes.

4. Temperament
15% of new hires reportedly don’t have the personality to adapt to their new work environment. This is likely to be about your interpersonal skills and the ability to fit within a team and its workflow as well as your general attitude and willingness to take on something new or challenging. Improve communication skills by first of all working on your listening skills; be curious about everything and have a can-do, positive attitude.

5. Technical Competence
Remarkably, only 10% of new employees were deemed to have failed due to a lack of the core functional skills required to perform their role. This suggests that technical competence is not a good indicator of success. While you may have all the right professional qualifications and technical competencies for the job, you may still not succeed in the role without the other four elements.

Despite the fact that hiring managers may have made mistakes in the past, focusing on technical skills, employers today are increasingly attuned to the character traits they want to see in new employees. Before moving jobs or beginning your first professional role it’s essential that you really know yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, preferences, motivations, willingness to learn and communication skills. Give yourself time and space to understand and work on each of them.


Human Results offer expert HR services on retainer, or on a one-off basis to help guide you through the daily challenges of managing your business from a people perspective, including employee engagement, dispute resolution and resolving workplace conflict. We also provide expert leadership development coaching programmes to secure long-term capability within your organisation, and a critical support structure for your leaders.

For more information, call Human Results on 01952 288361 for a no obligation, confidential discussion.

Blog post content provided by Abintegro; an engaging, content-rich, online platform for career management and transition.

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