Companies struggle with onboarding talent

Two African-American business people having a meeting in a corporate board room. The mid adult woman in her 30s is using a laptop. The mature man in his 40s looks serious as he talks.

Survey finds many new hires unhappy with experience – especially if it’s virtual – which could lead to ‘great regret’

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Published Tuesday, May 24, 2022

As the pandemic slowly subsides and many employers ramp up operations, recruiting top talent is a big priority — especially if they’re losing talent during the ‘great resignation.’

The problem? Onboarding, according to a survey from Eagle Hill Consulting.

Recent new hires indicate that their onboarding did not adequately cover many of the basics that employees need to be successful, including understanding relationship building (71 per cent), organizational culture (62 per cent), technology (54 per cent) and their benefits (46 per cent).

Employers are missing out on this important opportunity, says Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, in speaking with Canadian HR Reporter.

“Onboarding… it’s a way to integrate new hires into your organization not only procedurally or from a process perspective, not only from teaching them how to do their jobs, but also in terms of integrating them into your culture and into kind of the very fabric of your organization.

“If you don’t spend time upfront integrating them into your organization, it never seems to go as well for the employee and, quite frankly, for the employer.”

It’s critical that employers address the issue as only 50 per cent of workers expect to be at the same job three years from now, finds the survey of 782 employees in the U.S. in February.

But what’s causing the problem?

“Many companies don’t focus on onboarding,” says Jezior. “It’s simply because they are not spending the time to either comprehensively onboard people, or they’re treating onboarding much more like orientation.”

“Onboarding is so much more than paperwork and checklists. What you don’t want is for your company to become ‘the great regret’ for new employees because of an onboarding failure. Done wrong, onboarding can damage performance and morale, which drives employees right out the door.”

Structured onboarding and eliminating red tape that caused “bottlenecks” were just a couple of the ways bed-in-a-box company Endy thrived despite the challenges of COVID-19.

More information, connections wanted

Workers are hoping that employers will step up, according to the Eagle Hill Consulting report. Specifically, employees want the following during their first month on the job:

  • more knowledge of how performance is measured (83 per cent)
  • more information on mental and physical health resources (76 per cent)
  • more opportunities to make personal connections with team members (75 per cent)
  • more guidance on how to be successful in the corporate culture (74 per cent)
  • more details on how workplace practices could change due to pandemic, like moving from remote to hybrid (74 per cent)
  • more information on the organization’s core values (70 per cent)
  • more opportunities to make personal connections with people outside their team (69 per cent)
  • want more tips on how to network in remote/hybrid setting (68 per cent)

And things are even more challenging as about half (49 per cent) of employees who started a new job are not getting trained in person – it’s either virtual (31 per cent) or hybrid (18 per cent).

“You have to work a lot harder to onboard a remote workforce successfully. We could probably get a lot of the hard, tangible onboarding pieces, like key aspects of their job or how they’re going to be measured… what’s harder now is also the softer side, the intangibles of onboarding: How do you create relationships within the organization? What is the organizational culture? What does that mean? How to engage with the culture?”

U.S. company FIS decided to upgrade its HR process by digitizing various processes, including onboarding.

Planning important

To be successful in onboarding new hires, employers must plan ahead, says Jezior.

“Onboarding is not just a short-term human resource function. It needs to be thought of over a long period of time with many people involved across the organization,” she says.

“What’s key for employers is to stop thinking about onboarding as just a short-term human resources function. Successfully folding new hires into your organization happens over time with many people involved, which is all the more complex given the growth of remote and hybrid work.”

Employers stand to gain so much if they can do this successfully, says Jezior.

“Done right, onboarding can set employees up for success in terms of strengthening their career development, enabling them to live your culture and values, and developing strong relationships across the organization. Ultimately, strategic onboarding helps retain employees, creates an engaged workforce and boosts organizational and individual performance.”

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