The onboarding mistakes that are crushing company culture

Welcome to your new job. Get ready to not know where anything is and whom to ask.

Starting a new joboften after a series of interviews, skills tests and background checksis challenging enough, but a confusing and non-intuitive onboarding experience can frustrate new employees and diminish their first impression of their new employer. Glean, a technology solution provider that aims to improve the distribution of information inside organizations, sponsored a survey of 2,000 knowledge workers throughout the United States and found that 81% of employees said they felt overwhelmed with information during their onboarding process. With ongoing turnover troubles, getting off on the wrong foot with new hires can add to the challenges on HR leaders’ plates.

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The survey, which was conducted by market research firm OnePoll on behalf of Glean, found that 69% of respondents said they struggled to find necessary information when starting their current job and 76% said the ability to access information without having to ask for help would make them feel more productive in their new role. Ultimately, the research found that it takes an average worker one year and seven months to feel that they’re thriving in a new job, suggesting that problems that start during onboarding could persist throughout the employee lifecycle. [Employee experience will be a key topic at the 2023 HR Tech Virtual Conference from Feb. 28 to March 2.]

Even established employees responded that they spend an average of 13 minutes searching for information on their own before asking for help, and they perform these searches 35 times a week.

What does this mean for HR leaders? 

According to Arvind Jain, CEO and co-founder of Glean, many new hires are onboarding from home, and this new phenomenon may be bringing extra challenges for employees and employers alike. But, HR needs to invest in improving the onboarding process, including for remote workers, as onboarding determines the trajectory of every employee’s journey within a new company and is a formative period that determines everything from job confidence to employee satisfaction, he says. 

“The survey results underscore how vital it is for HR leaders to provide better ways to make the process more seamless and intuitive. So much of workplace attrition comes from people who’ve been on board for less than a year, who never became fully engaged with the business,” says Jain. “Without an easy way to connect with the company, its knowledge and people, new employees often feel lost.”

Finding, navigating and distilling company knowledge has proven to be a major gap in onboarding processes, according to Jain, and it’s not just about inconveniencing new workers. In addition to the majority of respondents who struggled to find necessary information as a new employee, new hires also experienced a lack of connection in their new roles: 79% of respondents stated that “it’s easy to feel anxious or isolated” when starting a new job if they don’t have the full context of how and why a company works the way it does.

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HR tech has a critical role to play in making the onboarding experience a positive one for new employees, says Jain. For example, tech gives employers the ability to personalize the onboarding experience, add context that explains why they are receiving training and facilitate daily check-ins with new employees to address any bumps in their first days and weeks.

He says, “It’s vital to give new hires the ability to easily access the information and people they need to get their work done.”

Registration is open for HRE‘s upcoming HR Tech Virtual Conference from Feb. 28 to March 2. Register here

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.