New employees who start a job feeling inadequately trained and disconnected from their work environment are much more likely to quit than those with a good onboarding experience.
With the unemployment rate lower than it has been in decades — especially in the tech field — applicants are getting multiple offers more often than not. So if the stepping stone to a new job is bumpy, they are much more likely to consider staying with the organization, even in the short term.
According to research firm Gartner, 63% of new hires are satisfied with their onboarding experience. a recent survey by payroll and human resources provider Paychex showed that onboarding experience influenced how quickly they would quit after taking a position.
The survey of about 1,000 Americans by Paychex, published last month, found that half (50%) of newly hired workers plan to stop soon.
A breakdown of those surveyed by Paychex who looked at whether they work remotely or onsite, 63% of remote workers said they would soon leave their employer, while only 29% of onsite workers said the same. In other words, remote workers were more than twice as likely to leave their employer soon compared to in-office workers.
“We feel that a good onboarding experience gives you more confidence when accepting the job and increases the likelihood that an employee (who) sees a long-term career with the organization,” said Jamie Kohn, research director at Gartner’s HR division . “So a good onboarding experience definitely impacts longevity.
“The other thing to note is that we found no difference between whether an employee was on board remotely or on location. It doesn’t really matter,” Kohn said.
Of the percentage of remote workers who said they are likely to leave their current job soon, 88% described their last onboarding experience as boring, 78% called it confusing and 74% saw it as a failure. On-site and hybrid employees are doing better; only 36% of them found the onboarding process confusing.
Home workers are the most likely to feel disoriented (60%) and devalued (52%) after onboarding, the survey found.
Effective onboarding is critical to bringing a company’s value proposition to employees to life, as poor onboarding experiences can lead to confusion, a sense of undertraining and ultimately high turnover rates, said Alison Stevens, director of HR services at Paychex.
Without a streamlined and supportive process, employees can become frustrated, she said, which can cloud a new employee’s first experience in a new role and erode their morale.
“It’s important for managers to provide an engaging and informative experience that aligns with company culture and values,” Stevens said in an email response to Computer world. “Remote workers are particularly vulnerable to feeling undertrained and disconnected; so companies may need to fine-tune their remote onboarding process to create meaningful connections with new hires so they feel valued right away.”
Par Merat, Cisco’s vice president of skills and future of work training and certifications, said his company has made a concerted effort over the past three years to improve the onboarding experience, especially in light of the increase in remote/hybrid workers.
One of the ways Cisco has tried to improve the onboarding process is by assigning mentors to new hires—senior employees who can help new hires familiarize themselves with the process.
Merat called a good onboarding experience “critical” to long-term job satisfaction at Cisco, noting that a bad experience can also tarnish a company’s reputation.
“How important is the brand of your organization? How does the candidate feel about the application process, whether they get the job or not. Because word of mouth travels,” said Merat, pointing to job sites like Glass door. “Every step on the road counts.”
In its research, Paychex recommended that employers “re-board” new employees after they’ve been on the job for a while. Re-onboarding refers to making sure employees feel comfortable in their new position and feel connected to the organization and their colleagues and understand the company culture.
Seventy-one percent of Paychex survey respondents indicated they would like their employers to conduct a company re-onboarding. “Rehiring employees are more engaged with their employers – so much so that rehiring increases employee retention by 43%,” said Stevens.
Re-onboarding can also be particularly helpful for remote workers, Stevens said, because they feel vulnerable to feeling undertrained and disconnected.
“It is the employer’s responsibility to develop the onboarding process to meet the needs of the remote/hybrid world we live in today,” she said.
Paychex found that employees who received a re-onboarding process are more focused (47%), more energetic (42%), more productive (34%) and more efficient (33%).
Gartner’s Kohn suggested several steps companies can take to improve the onboarding process:
- Don’t wait for a person to start work to start onboarding. Companies should start the engagement process from the moment a vacancy is accepted. The period between accepting and starting a job is terrifying for people. They’ve accepted an offer, but aren’t sure they made the right decision. Introduce new employees to the team they will be working with and see what interests them.
- New hires need to feel connected to their company’s values beyond the work they do. Most organizations tell employees their values without showing them in action. For example, it is not enough to say that community service is important to the organization; a new employee needs to see how a manager and others support him.
- Organizations need to build networks beyond the employee’s immediate business team. Connecting with colleagues in an organization gives an employee a better perspective and a chance to ask questions of more people.
Another onboarding problem arises when organizations view the process as a “one-way street,” according to Gartner’s Kohn. In other words, the company teaches the new employee about their job and how the company does things without bonding.
“You need a two-way connection where not only do they learn about the company, but the company (learns) about the employee and tailors the onboarding experience to them. It also teaches them what the new employee has to offer,’ said Kohn. “It works a lot better when a new hire comes in and sees that a manager and team already recognize (that the new hire) brings strengths to the table.”
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