Onboarding a new employee can be a long, tedious and expensive process. However, survey results and company interviews suggest that an underdeveloped onboarding process – one that fails to meet a new hire’s social and professional needs – could ultimately lead to high quit rates.
Onboarding aims to immerse new employees in their new corporate culture. Onboarding should introduce new hires to their jobs, your company’s core values and beliefs, and connect them with team members.
Of course, the end goal is to fully engage a new hire and reduce employee turnover. But unfortunately, and more often than not, a company’s onboarding program achieves none of these goals, and the consequences can be detrimental.
A poor onboarding experience can leave new employees feeling isolated and lost in their new role. Later, this can lead to reduced productivity, feelings of burnout, and without the right company support, it could even lead to a wave of silent quits.
According to a study by Airspeed and Workplace Intelligence, two out of three workers may leave their jobs because they feel isolated and disconnected. The survey also revealed that feelings of isolation and disconnection are the top reason employees leave, as well as the top challenge facing remote and hybrid organizations.
A good number of employees surveyed said they felt disconnected (36%), alienated (35%), isolated (34%) or alone (33%). Of C-Suite executives surveyed, 75% believe their employees would take significant pay and benefits cuts to join a company where they would feel more connected to the company culture and other employees.
In the study, 92% of C-Suite executives surveyed agree that their company culture needs improvement because company culture is the glue that keeps employees connected and engaged at work.
Elaine Richards, COO at Basecamp, an all-remote web-based software company, explained how the remote business onboarding process must work to maintain employee happiness and retention. For companies with outdated onboarding practices, employees can be left behind, especially in remote or hybrid environments.
“If you’re new, physically separated from everyone else, and don’t know how or what you’re supposed to do, it can be very isolating,” Richards said. “You may not even know how to ask for help. It can result in the loss of an employee who had great potential but never had the opportunity to realize it.”
Encouraging employees to socialize with each other can help alleviate feelings of loneliness at work, and that encouragement begins during the onboarding process. Setting up new hires with a coworker, letting them know who to ask for help, and introducing them to team members are all practices that should begin during onboarding.
When the pandemic started making hybrid and remote working the norm, socializing at work took a big dip. According to Airspeed’s survey, 72% of remote workers don’t socialize at work as much as they would like, and 36% of hybrid workers only socialize a few times a year.
To combat this, Richards says that at his company, new hires are added a welcome chat on the first day with icebreakers and get-to-know-you questions to connect with other employees. But according to Airspeed’s survey, water cooler topics in Slack channels and Zoom meetups aren’t enough to foster socialization among employees.
Nearly 60% of survey respondents are dissatisfied with the technology their company offers for meeting colleagues because it seems impersonal and dishonest. Fortunately, survey leaders recognized that disconnected employees posed a leak risk to their company.
Nine out of 10 leaders surveyed recognize the need to improve company culture as a top priority, as 85% of these leaders believe employees will be less likely to quit if they feel more connected to the company culture.
A comprehensive onboarding program can help employees understand job expectations and requirements. But it’s also a great opportunity for companies to fully immerse new hires in the company culture and keep them in touch with other workers.