December 8, 2022

Onboarding success can help employers avoid the Great Regret

Over the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of quitting. But sometimes employees quickly regret their decisions. Author and futurist Alexandra Levit shares how onboarding success can help prevent additional turnover and the Great Regret.

Recent research by Harris Poll and USA Today found that one in five people have regretted quitting their jobs during the past two years. For many, the Great Resignation has turned into a Great Regret.

Why did these workers leave? The reasons vary, but often, they were burned out (like everyone post-pandemic) and were lured away by the promise of more money and greater recognition. After a few months with a new employer, these employees found the grass wasn’t necessarily greener. The same organizational and cultural problems that plagued their old company also existed at their new one. A significant percentage found themselves wishing they had stayed put, and some went as far as to boomerang back to their previous employer.

After spending thousands of dollars recruiting and training these new hires, you don’t want your organization to be the source of anyone’s Great Regret. Here are some common onboarding mistakes that plant seeds of doubt in new hires along with recommendations for what you can do instead.

Onboarding mistake: In this uncertain economy, employees feel reassured just to have snagged a great position.

Onboarding solution: For top talent, it’s still a seller’s market. It’s typical for highly skilled individuals, particularly those at the middle and senior levels, to have multiple offers. And, in fact, they may walk away from a lucrative job offer due to a poor recruitment experience and will tell all their friends and Glassdoor in the process. The bottom line? Treat your candidates and new hires as you hope a company would treat your family members: with respect, gratitude, and appreciation for their expertise, contributions, and time.

Onboarding mistake: We don’t need to talk about goals or skill development before they start. There’s plenty of time for that later.

Onboarding solution: The silence between returning the offer letter and the start date can be deafening for new hires. Make sure you engage them so they don’t start second-guessing their decision. This is a great time to send new hires information about skill-development opportunities and goal setting. As part of an effective onboarding experience, this can help demonstrate that your organization cares about their career success and set the stage for a successful start.

Onboarding mistake: New hires don’t need to have introductory meetings with colleagues to feel like a part of a team and learn how to get things done.

Onboarding solution: Onboarding technology is critical, but your new hires also need a human touch to fully understand the inner workings of the organization. Whether these new team members are working in person, remotely, or in a hybrid situation, facilitate rapport-building conversations with team members across departments so they feel welcome and included (and learn how to get things done).

Onboarding mistake: Remote work is perfect for new college grads. This is exactly the flexibility they want.

Onboarding solution: Do you remember how confused you were when you started your first professional job out of college? Imagine doing it now – without any of the context of the in-person work environment. Sure, we all love flexibility. But we can’t forget that it’s incredibly difficult to build a career as an entry-level hire while working remotely.

So, be the organization that understands this and lays out a specific and customized first week, first month, and first year for new hires who are fresh out of college. Include in-person components where feasible or make a plan for how to recreate the moments that matter in a virtual setting. Also pair these individuals with both peer and senior-level mentors whom they meet regularly. And if you’re going to hire new college grads as contractors who work for you more than 20 hours a week, be certain to provide the same experience to them. They may eventually come aboard full time.

Take time to weave these onboarding success principles into your strategy. You won’t regret it.

The rise of the flexible career experience

Learn what your employees really want out of their careers and what will keep them from leaving in Ceridian's latest Pulse of Talent survey.

Read the report

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit is an author, consultant, speaker, and workplace expert. She has written several career advice books, and was formerly a nationally syndicated career columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Alexandra is currently a partner at organizational development firm PeopleResults.

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