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Most new hires say their company’s onboarding process failed to adequately cover many of the basics, from organizational culture to technology, benefits, and policies, according to the results of a recent survey by a national consulting firm.

Given the fact that research additionally shows that new hires are also more likely to leave their company sooner than their colleagues, the survey results beg the question of whether employers can improve retention rates by improving onboarding efforts, according to Eagle Hill Consulting, a top national management consulting firm.

The Eagle Hill Onboarding Survey 2022, conducted online by Ipsos, asked 782 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. about their onboarding experiences. All had been hired within the past 18 months and almost half said they had received onboarding through either virtual (31%) or hybrid (18%) approaches.

The survey found:

  • 71% of new hires do not have a clear idea of the individuals they should build relationships with
  • 64% of new hires do not have a clear idea of the organization’s culture
  • 54% do not have a clear idea of how to use technology to do their job
  • 53% of new hires do not have a clear idea of the organization’s core values
  • 53% do not have a clear idea of how to be productive in their job
  • 47% do not have a clear idea of the organization’s goals
  • 46% do not have a clear idea of their HR benefits

If virtual and hybrid work models continue—and the consensus is that they will—companies will need to rethink onboarding, Eagle Hill said.  The survey found the top three things new employees want in the onboarding process are: Knowledge of how their performance will be measured (83%); information about mental and physical health resources (76%); and opportunities to make personal connections with team members (74%).

To give new hires what they need to be successful—and to get the outcomes they want—employers should pivot to more human-centered and team-oriented onboarding, Eagle Hill said. For example, while onboarding is largely the responsibility of the HR department in many organizations, new hires said they were more interested in getting help, training, and guidance from a broader group of people including their supervisor (63%) and teammates (46%). This suggests that employees want to feel immersed in the organization as part of onboarding.