Pop quiz: What’s the fastest get rid of a new hire? Answer: Give them a poor onboarding experience. A poor onboarding experience not only leaves new hires feeling confused about their role within the company and what’s expected of them, it may drive them away entirely. A recent study found that employees who have negative new hire onboarding experiences are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future. And another report from SHRM estimates that 1 in 25 employees leave their jobs due to poor onboarding.
What makes the onboarding experience so unbearable? Here are a few reasons new hires hate onboarding, and a few ways to fix them.
Reason #1: They Have No Idea What’s Going On. All too often, new hires don’t have any idea what their first day on the job will be like. Once they sign the offer letter, they’re given a time and place to show up, and that’s it. Starting a new job is stressful enough without the added anxiety of not knowing what to expect when you show up. Alleviate some of your new hire’s first day jitters by sending them a schedule for their first week ahead of their start date, along with a list of FAQ’s to address common questions about the company.
Reason #2: It’s About You, Not Them. While the main purpose of onboarding is to teach your new employees with the company, that doesn’t mean simply giving a few PowerPoint presentations and calling it a day. A good onboarding process should focus on acclimating your new hires to the company and ensuring they feel confident in their new roles. In other words, making it more about them. Use this time to learn about the employee’s strengths, how they like to work and receive feedback, what motivates them and their career goals. This is also an ideal time to set goals and expectations, assign mentors and discuss learning and development opportunities. The more you personalize the onboarding process, the more engaged your new employees will be and the more value they will get out of it.
Reason #3: It Feels Like a Waste of Time. Many onboarding programs leave new hires asking themselves, “What’s the point of this?” That’s usually because the organization hasn’t clearly defined or communicated the purpose of the onboarding process, and what they want new hires to get out of it, which only leads to confusion and frustration on both sides. (In fact, a recent CareerBuilder study found that, of the 64 percent of employers who have a structured onboarding process, only 35 percent go over goals and expectations during this time.) And here’s the kicker: If employees feel that onboarding is a waste of time, they might be right. More than half of organizations (55 percent) don’t measure the effectiveness of their onboarding programs, according to research. If you’re not measuring results, how do you know your onboarding experience is even worth your new hires’ time?
Reason #4: There’s. So. Much. Paperwork. Nothing kills a new hire’s enthusiasm for the new job like having to fill out a bunch of paperwork on their very first day. Unfortunately, collecting personal information is a necessary part of the onboarding process; however, there is a way to make it a lot less tedious for your new hires (and your HR team). With the right onboarding technology, you can send new hires the necessary employment forms, verifications, and benefits and learning materials to fill out and sign electronically before they even start. By using a paperless system, you can get the paperwork out of the way, so you can focus on the engagement part of onboarding. The best part? A paperless system makes your HR team’s job easier, and mitigates the risk of human error that can happen when managing information manually.
Reason #5: It’s Information Overload. While you want new hires to become familiar with your company, services and products, clients and culture as soon as possible, you do not want to overwhelm them with too much information too soon. If you rush the onboarding process, it doesn’t enable new hires time to absorb all of the information you’re throwing at them, truly get a sense of the culture, and understand or appreciate how their roles contribute to overall company goals. The ideal onboarding process should last weeks or even months - not just a few days or hours. This gives the employee time to get acclimated to the new role, ask questions and get feedback, meet performance goals and set a solid groundwork for success.