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Bonds between new hires lead to early success

Christian Fernsby |
Settling into a new job is no easy task, but the connections made among other newcomers in the beginning days could be key to early success.

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That's what the latest research from four faculty members at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management suggests. Amid the "Great Resignation" during the COVID-19 pandemic when more people are rethinking jobs and starting new careers, these findings offer tangible advice for a changing workforce.

While there have been previous studies looking at the impact of relationships between veteran employees and newcomers, this research specifically looked at the importance of relationships between fellow newcomers.

Coauthored by Associate Professor Betty Le Zhou, Professor John Kammeyer Mueller, Associate Professor Priti Shah, and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Campbell, and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the paper found:

New hires' relationships with other newcomers in their core unit helped them learn their jobs more quickly

New employees should avoid excessive networking because it can slow their adjustment.

The researchers conducted two studies. The first involved tracking 189 new hires in a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate in South Korea over their first 100 days on the job and reviewing their job performance and the firm's turnover data. The second study followed U.S. students in the first semester of their master's degree programs and noted their interactions with their peers.

"For these newcomers, it's more beneficial if they can first concentrate on getting to know newcomers in their unit because the connections they make outside the unit, at least within the time window we studied, there's not a particular benefit," said Zhou, the lead author.

The research shows there's a balance between being a social butterfly and staying inside one's shell. The two studies found newcomers achieved role clarity faster in their jobs when they had a medium amount of relationships with their new peers. Quicker growth in role clarity led to higher job satisfaction and performance, and less turnover within the first three years.


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