Bosses Swear By The 90-Day Rule To Keep Workers Long Term
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,623,020 (+0.08%)       Melbourne $974,710 (-0.81%)       Brisbane $992,583 (-1.37%)       Adelaide $896,270 (+0.26%)       Perth $892,481 (+0.31%)       Hobart $726,595 (-0.35%)       Darwin $664,958 (+1.76%)       Canberra $1,012,150 (+0.04%)       National $1,048,965 (-0.14%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $751,258 (-0.23%)       Melbourne $495,378 (+0.24%)       Brisbane $583,696 (-1.32%)       Adelaide $453,443 (-0.76%)       Perth $458,999 (+2.21%)       Hobart $509,191 (+0.99%)       Darwin $362,436 (+1.68%)       Canberra $497,643 (+0.69%)       National $536,245 (+0.06%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,903 (-109)       Melbourne 14,181 (+71)       Brisbane 8,075 (-54)       Adelaide 2,184 (+36)       Perth 5,723 (+16)       Hobart 1,216 (+3)       Darwin 275 (+14)       Canberra 888 (+5)       National 42,445 (-18)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,719 (+28)       Melbourne 8,357 (+7)       Brisbane 1,747 (+49)       Adelaide 405 (+23)       Perth 1,442 (+5)       Hobart 211 (-1)       Darwin 399 (-7)       Canberra 1,018 (+16)       National 22,298 (+120)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $800 (-$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $635 (-$5)       Adelaide $610 (-$10)       Perth $675 (-$20)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 (-$30)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $666 (-$12)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $595 ($0)       Brisbane $625 (-$5)       Adelaide $510 (+$10)       Perth $630 (+$5)       Hobart $470 (+$5)       Darwin $560 (+$30)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (+$4)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,884 (-132)       Melbourne 6,585 (+256)       Brisbane 4,488 (+137)       Adelaide 1,589 (+2)       Perth 2,880 (+283)       Hobart 411 (+13)       Darwin 93 (-4)       Canberra 632 (+17)       National 22,562 (+572)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,906 (+381)       Melbourne 6,312 (+294)       Brisbane 2,339 (+54)       Adelaide 371 (+21)       Perth 797 (+18)       Hobart 143 (+3)       Darwin 126 (+3)       Canberra 816 (+23)       National 21,810 (+797)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.56% (↓)     Melbourne 3.31% (↑)      Brisbane 3.33% (↑)        Adelaide 3.54% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 3.94% (↑)        Darwin 5.47% (↓)       Canberra 3.49% (↓)       National 3.30% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.19% (↑)        Melbourne 6.25% (↓)     Brisbane 5.57% (↑)      Adelaide 5.85% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)     Hobart 4.80% (↑)      Darwin 8.03% (↑)        Canberra 5.75% (↓)     National 5.79% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 29.8 (↑)        Melbourne 31.6 (↓)     Brisbane 30.4 (↑)        Adelaide 25.3 (↓)       Perth 35.7 (↓)     Hobart 33.0 (↑)      Darwin 43.9 (↑)      Canberra 31.9 (↑)      National 32.7 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 30.2 (↑)      Melbourne 31.7 (↑)        Brisbane 27.1 (↓)       Adelaide 25.5 (↓)     Perth 37.5 (↑)        Hobart 38.0 (↓)       Darwin 37.9 (↓)     Canberra 41.2 (↑)        National 33.6 (↓)           
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Bosses Swear By The 90-Day Rule To Keep Workers Long Term

Chipotle, Waste Management and others gear hiring around reaching a milestone they say is critical to employee retention.

By Chip Cutter
Tue, Jul 19, 2022 11:36amGrey Clock 6 min

In the quest to retain workers, companies are sharpening their focus on a very specific common goal: 90 days.

Hold on to an employee for three months, executives and human-resources specialists say, and that person is more likely to remain employed longer-term, which they define as anywhere from a year on in today’s high-turnover environment. That has led manufacturing companies, restaurants, hotel operators and others to roll out special bonuses, stepped-up training and new programs to prevent new hires from quitting in their first three months on the job.

Heating and air-conditioning company Carrier Global Corp. began pairing new hires with a more experienced “buddy” in its manufacturing facilities after discovering most attrition happened before an employee hit the three-month mark, said Chief Executive David Gitlin. Executives at Minneapolis video software company Qumu Corp., have retooled training and onboarding processes partly around the goal of reducing what the company calls “quick quits,” or departures within three months, said Mercy Noah, Qumu’s vice president of human resources.

Some franchisees for McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s Co. and others advertise new-hire bonuses of hundreds of dollars, many payable after 90 days; CVS Health Corp. gives warehouse workers at some of its facilities a $1,000 bonus if they stay on the job for three months.

“If you see someone hit the three-month mark, the reality is, they’re going to be here for at least a year,” said Marissa Andrada, chief people officer at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Chipotle has focused on consistent scheduling and giving new hires a clear explanation of company operations and benefits, she said. The tactics are designed to help employees be comfortable in its restaurants and motivated to stay, she said.

This summer’s labor market is among the tightest in decades, and finding enough workers, let alone desirable workers, remains so difficult that companies are increasingly motivated to retain new hires. Three months has traditionally been considered enough time for employees to begin to prove themselves, veteran human-resources executives say. Many companies also still enforce 90-day probationary periods, with some withholding benefits like health insurance in the meantime.

Just as it can take weeks of consistent effort to develop an exercise habit that sticks, employers have found that 90 days is typically enough time for workers to get into a steady routine of a new job. This can be particularly important for hourly employees in higher-turnover industries like hospitality or manufacturing, executives say, where workers have plenty of options.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.6% last month. Employees have benefited from a labour market that has given them the ability to more easily change jobs for higher pay. Workers are flexing their power in other ways, too. Employees at an Apple Inc. store in Maryland voted earlier this month to unionize, creating the first Apple retail union in the U.S., adding to unionization drives at companies such as Starbucks Corp.

Patrick Whalen, director of human resources and organizational development at the aerospace manufacturing company TAT Limco in Tulsa, Okla., watched late last year as a number of the company’s welders, assemblers and others left for jobs that, in some cases, paid only a dollar or two more an hour. Some workers, he said, barely stuck around for a month. Frustrated, Mr. Whalen began making a case inside the company that it needed to rethink its approach to bringing on new employees. He wanted a 90-day plan.

“It seems to be a magic window,” he said.

After he explained that every new hire who left early cost the company thousands of dollars in training expenses, time and lost revenue, Mr. Whalen said managers agreed to a change. In January, the company instituted a new 90-day onboarding process.

TAT Limco hired an onboarding coordinator to oversee every new employee’s entry into the company. Managers now contact employees before their first day, part of an effort to provide more contact points with new hires so they don’t get lured to a rival. Supervisors set weekly expectations for new employees to guide them in their first three months, giving staffers structured goals and time to get up to speed.

Turnover, at 37% in January, has fallen by more than half, to 16% today, Mr. Whalen said. Newer employees are also sticking around. In the first three months of the year, the company lost one of 45 employees it hired. “If we lose somebody within the first month or two months or three months, it’s very rare,” Mr. Whalen said.

There are signs the labour market is cooling, particularly among salaried workers. Companies including Tesla Inc. and Netflix Inc. have announced plans to cut staff, and some employers have rescinded job offers to new hires. Yet for hourly jobs across a broad range of sectors, demand for workers remains historically high.

Workers say they often know within weeks if a job will be a fit. Aliyah Abbott, a 23-year-old rising senior at Temple University, said she left a marketing internship in Philadelphia recently after about a month. Though Ms. Abbott said she had never before quit a role and hesitated to leave the internship before it ended this summer, she thought the position turned out to be different than initially presented to her. It paid less than she thought she had been promised, with some compensation based on a commission structure, she said.

“By the third or fourth week, you’re kind of like, ‘Is this right for me?’” she said. She quickly found a new job working as a marketing coordinator. “The bigger picture with jobs is just trial and error sometimes,” she said.

Much of the success of a job in the first three months also comes down to an employee’s connection with a company, executives say. At the San Francisco software company Intercom, new hires at all levels are asked to embark on what the company calls a listening tour to understand the company’s operations and meet with as many colleagues as possible. For lower-level staffers, that might last two weeks; for executives, it could stretch to six.

“The first 90 days is almost like an extended interview process by the employee of the company,” said L. David Kingsley, Intercom’s chief people officer. “Those are the critical moments where someone is truly deciding.”

Some companies, like workplace software provider Envoy, have hired staffers in recent months who will check in with hiring managers and new employees to see how the experience is going for all sides. “That first 90 days are when you have people that either say, ‘This was the best thing I ever did,’ or ‘I made a mistake because it’s not what I thought it was going to be,’” said Annette Reavis, Envoy’s chief people officer.

Waste Management Inc. plans to roll out a tool that will allow managers to get real-time feedback from their teams; workers will be able to leave comments anonymously. The tool will be available to both new workers in their first months on the job and veteran employees. “You’re going to get tidbits from your folks,” said John Morris, Waste Management’s chief operating officer. “It’s going to be, ‘Hey, this is what my group is telling me what’s on their minds.’”

The trash-and-recycling hauler studied its employee turnover data and found the first 120 days to be particularly critical for keeping new staffers as they learn their roles. The company pairs new hires with more experienced staffers and sends some workers to in-person training in Arizona and Florida.

Many factors play into retaining a new worker, Mr. Morris said, including educational benefits and pay. But the company wants to make sure its managers are also equipped to respond to issues in a variety of channels, one reason for the new tool.

“We all get a ton of feedback. But if it’s 800 pages, nobody’s going to read it,” Mr. Morris said. “So how do you give these frontline leaders tidbits, nuggets, actionable things that they can do?”

Jennifer Sick, a 29-year-old based in Richfield, Ohio, took a position in late February as a sales representative at Group Management Services Inc., a provider of payroll, outsourcing and other services to small businesses. The company has a 90-day probationary period, with clearly outlined goals, the first Ms. Sick experienced in her career.

At a minimum, Ms. Sick said managers required her to make 300 cold calls a week and to visit two small businesses; if she wanted to achieve a bonus at 90 days, she could make 375 calls a week, and visit four businesses. Managers checked in repeatedly to see if she needed anything, she said.

“It was a constant communication of, ‘How are you feeling? How are you doing?’” she said.

She completed day 90 on a Friday in early June, and received the bonus for making additional calls and visits. By the following Monday, she also had the keys to a company-issued Hyundai sedan and gas card, another perk for moving past her probationary period.

“I worked really hard in my 90 days because I just saw my future at this company,” she said.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 29 2022.



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Is the Stock Market Near Its Top?

Don’t let the hum of the bull tune out signs warning that a bear may be lurking.

By ANDY KESSLER
Mon, Jul 15, 2024 3 min

The third season of the terrific show “The Bear” blends family dysfunction with the ups and downs of high-end restaurants. With markets chasing new highs—get out those Dow 40000 hats—this column is about a different kind of dysfunctional beast. Is the market bear dead, or is it about to sneak up on us?

A U.S. equity strategist told me the story of a Japanese portfolio manager who sat in his office in July 1987 asking for stock ideas. The strategist’s model was based on a proprietary survey of investor sentiment, though it never really worked. Nonetheless, he read off a list of dozens of stocks. The portfolio manager then asked if he would kindly put in an order for 20,000 shares of each. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 2722 in late August and crashed 22.6% on Oct. 19.

A friend was a portfolio manager of a massive growth-stock fund in 1999. He told me he bought shares of Yahoo, Cisco, F5 Networks, Infosys and others every day because money flowed into his fund every day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index peaked on March 10, 2000. As money began to flow out, he had to sell every day. By year’s end, Nasdaq had fallen by more than half.

I met Cathie Wood as she was filing papers for her “disruptive innovation” funds—to “change the way the world works.” Her ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund, ARKK, launched in October 2014 and charges 0.75% management fees. In 2020 it was up 153% as stimulus money flew in, driving more buying. ARKK peaked in February 2021 with $28 billion in assets. Since then, its net asset value is down 70%, even amid a roaring bull market, especially in tech. Morningstar recently calculated that Ms. Wood’s Ark Invest funds have destroyed more than $14 billion in wealth. One of my favorite Wall Street sayings is, “Don’t mistake a bull market for brains.”

In almost every bull run, stock momentum lures in investors at the worst moment, I call them momos, ensuring they get burned when the buying stops. Since 2009, excepting a few brief sell-offs, cash has been trash. That made some sense during the era of zero interest rates. But now with higher inflation and short rates above 5%? Confusing. Maybe investors are already anticipating another Donald Trump antiregulation pro-growth presidency, forgetting that he is married to a growth-killing pro-tariff agenda. Is the bear dead, or does it have a long fuse?

Predicting stock markets is a fool’s errand. My Series 7 test for General Securities Representative Qualification lapsed long ago, so you won’t get investment advice from me. But there are warning signs.

Have we run out of buyers? Sometimes there are triggers that scare them away: oil shocks, viruses, bank failures. But sometimes they simply collapse from exhaustion. More than 40% of households reportedly own stocks—a higher percentage than in 2000. It was 20% in 2010. Some market indicators also point to asset managers being fully invested. Who’s left to buy?

Market breadth is concerning. The 1973 market peak was driven by stretched valuations of the Nifty Fifty, which included IBM , Coca-Cola and GE but also Polaroid and Xerox . Fifty? Now it’s the Magnificent Seven: Alphabet , Amazon , Apple , Meta , Microsoft , Nvidia and Tesla . Seven? Artificial-intelligence hype, way ahead of even the rosiest of realities, drove Nvidia to make up almost a third of the S&P 500’s first half gains. Another quarter came from Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Eli Lilly . Maybe fat bulls need Mounjaro.

Stock values feel divorced from reality. The so-called Warren Buffett indicator—the ratio between total stock-market value and gross domestic product—was 138% in March 2000. It’s now 196%. Certainly not a buy signal. And Bitcoin, my go-to bubblicious bat signal, is down about 20% since March. A dead canary?

“Don’t worry, be happy,” the bulls sing. Inflation is slain, and the Fed will cut rates. But investors won’t like the reason for those cuts. We’re already seeing earnings disasters—Nike, Walgreens , Lululemon , Delta and Wells Fargo . If the economy slows, earnings glitches and stock implosions become contagious. Plus, banks’ exposure to commercial real estate is scary, with buildings being dumped at huge haircuts almost weekly. This is now infecting rental buildings, and there are signs of a private housing glut. Inventory in Denver is up nearly 37%. Sure, markets climb a “wall of worry,” and bull markets tend to last longer than people expect, but sometimes the nightmares are real. Recessions are like honey to bears.

Even writing about the bear is bullish. Bull runs end when everyone is a believer. Still, another favorite saying of mine is, “No one’s ever lost money taking a profit.” Someday, cash will be king again. I prefer to buy stocks when everyone hates them.

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