Do you know about the “Honeymoon Hangover Effect”? The reason for a low retention rate

First impressions matter… But they’re not enough.

Now more than ever, employers are thinking outside the box to attract workers. From the job posting, to the selection process, all the way to the signing of the employment contract. Everything is done to impress the candidate and convince them that they have made the best decision to continue with us.

Would you consider putting all the necessary effort to continue the seduction beyond the integration period of your new employees?

The First Three Months – The Honeymoon effect:

From the employer’s perspective

Welcoming a new employee is often synonymous with an alleviating effect, relieving congestion, and fresh air. But it also comes with time to invest, additional costs, a new person to discover and integrate.

From the employee’s perspective

The joys of a new job are often synonymous with better salary conditions, new colleagues to discover, new challenges to meet.But also that you have to find your place within your new team, develop new skills quickly, show your employer that you made the right choice… in short, impress.

For both parties, this is an exciting time, but one of great adjustment. The qualities of each person are brought to the fore and influence our perception of reality. This is what we call the honeymoon effect.

The three following months – The Hangover effect:

From the employer’s perspective

The socialization period is over, the probation is successful, the performance expectations start to rise. Autonomy, proactivity, accountability are the skills that the employer wants to see quickly.

From the employee’s perspective

Once the first impression is over, the reality strikes and sometimes disappoints. There is a gap between what was presented and what the employee experiences. For example: the company offers a budget for continuing education, but work overload prevents the employee from taking advantage of it. Comprehensive medical insurance is offered, but the employee’s share of the cost is staggering. A family spirit and a dynamic team are promised, but a tense climate where an unhealthy competitive spirit reigns. The result of these disappointing findings is what is known as the hangover effect.

**Caution** When actions do not follow words, employees are likely to be demotivated, and this can result in a premature departure. Let’s not forget that employee turnover is one of the biggest costs in human resources management. In general, HR experts agree that it costs between 1.5 and 3 times an employee’s annual salary to leave.

Our recommandations :


Present who you really are, what you really have to offer and don’t be afraid to talk about your reality as an employer. And if you feel that this is not enough, rethink your practices and benefits, and go get help!

Listening and validating

Listen to your employees and make yourself available by scheduling follow-up meetings after 6 months, 9 months or 1 year. Support must be provided throughout the employee’s learning curve. Allow them to experience failures and give them the tools to overcome them and, above all, validate your respective expectations.

In the end, it’s all a matter of perception. Communication remains the key. Have the courage to talk to each other before going elsewhere ;)

By Ariane Legault,, CRHA, Organizational Development Consultant 
And Indya Chesnel, CRHA, HR Consultant,
HR blog Editors – Iceberg Management  

Jazvac, Lori (2019). Helping Clients Circumvent “Honeymoon Hangover: