Employee satisfaction is largely a measurement of how happy an employee is, and that often comes down to their relationships with co-workers and management, says Alison McMahon, CEO of TwoFold, an Edmonton-based human resources consultancy. “My suggestion for the onboarding process, in addition to the logistical things that go on during that time, is that you use that first 90 days to integrate those relationships.” She suggests regular meetings between the new employee and the manager to see how things are going, ask what they need, what surprised them and how the channels of communication are functioning.

And that points the spotlight directly on the new employee’s manager. “Employees join a company but they quit their manager,” McMahon says. She often sees people who are good at their job get promoted to a managerial position, but nobody teaches them how to handle the new role. “It’s a problem across most organizations,” she says, “having managers who are not particularly good leaders of people. It’s not rocket science, but it takes some effort.”

She thinks the current downturn may actually provide an opportunity to work on managerial skills. There may not be extra cash around to spend on developing managers, but there’s probably a bit of extra time for those who are good at it to mentor those who are not.