80% of new hires who receive poor onboarding plan to quit—especially if they’re remote workers

Finding talent is expensive.

After using resources to advertise a role, sitting through multiple interviews to whittle down applicants, and then training a new hire, the last thing employers want to go through is that costly process all over again—just months later.

So businesses with a high churn rate among new staffers will be eager to hear what’s making workers go from having that new-job excitement to handing in their resignation so quickly after accepting the job.

According to new research, it all comes down to poor onboarding.

Paychex surveyed over 1,000 workers who started their current job in the last year and found that 80% of respondents who felt undertrained from poor onboarding plan to quit soon.

First impressions count

The onboarding process can tell new employees all they need to know about a workplace’s culture, support systems, processes, and structure (or lack thereof).

Despite the importance of this first impression, only about half of new hires feel satisfied with the onboarding experience at their current job, according to the study. Meanwhile, those working remote-only or for small companies are more likely to suffer a poor onboarding experience.

Nearly one-third of employees find the onboarding experience confusing—with this figure rising to 36% for remote workers, who are most likely to feel undertrained, disoriented, and devalued after onboarding, compared to on-site or hybrid workers.

It’s why remote employees are 117% more likely than on-site employees to plan to leave their employers soon, according to the research.

“Given the large percentage of employees who prefer remote work, companies may want to refine their remote onboarding process to fill in these gaps,” the report suggests.

Meanwhile, employees working for small companies are less satisfied with their onboarding than employees in large companies, and more likely to feel undertrained. As such, around two-thirds of those working at smaller companies reported that they plan to leave their employer soon.

Gen Zers, the newest working generation with the least prior experience to compare with, are also the least satisfied with onboarding and most likely to feel undertrained, compared to older cohorts.

With this in mind, the report says that human resource departments should keep this potential generational gap in mind when onboarding new hires and consider offering them additional training and on-the-job support.

Re-onboarding employees

According to the report, these are the top five elements that employees believe would improve the onboarding process:

  1. Getting the team involved (22%)

  2. Creating an epic welcome (18%)

  3. Keeping the process simple (18%)

  4. Addressing career development (14%)

  5. Assigning a buddy or mentor (12%)

But employers who have failed to use any of these elements in their onboarding process are not a lost cause. Not only can employers start making changes to their current process for future joiners, but the report also recommends managers re-onboard their entire workforce.

“As organizations look to improve their onboarding process, creating a welcoming, engaging, and clear onboarding experience can vastly improve employee retention and morale,” Alison Stevens, director of HR Services at Paychex told Fortune. “It is equally important to offer longer-term employees a re-onboarding as a retention strategy in order to rejuvenate their work environment and address any individual concerns.”

Businesses that fear employees will find the process of being reintroduced to the company’s culture and expectations dull and another long-winded box-ticking exercise needn’t worry; the study actually found that 71% of employees want their employer to conduct a company-wide re-onboarding.

And when done correctly, it can be beneficial for both the business and individuals:

After re-onboarding, employees' focus reportedly can increase by almost 50%. Over a third of workers also reported feeling more productive, efficient and closer to their team.

In another plus for businesses, retention improved by 43% after re-onboarding, which helps reduce the need for hiring in the first place.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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