New hires are one of the most important investments any business can make. Not only do they have the potential to bring new skills and fresh perspectives to a company, but they also represent the future of the business.
Given all of this, it’s no surprise that businesses want to do everything they can to ensure their new employees have a positive experience from their very first day.
Unfortunately, as Cezanne HR’s onboarding study found, the onboarding process is often a source of stress for new employees. In fact, the survey of 1,000 UK workers found that almost two-thirds felt stressed during their onboarding process.
What Can Go Wrong When Onboarding Is Stressful?
While it’s normal for new hires to feel some stress during the onboarding process, if not managed properly, it can lead to some serious consequences:
- Lower productivity: When employees are feeling overwhelmed, it’s tough for them to focus on getting their work done. As a result, they may take longer to complete tasks, make more mistakes, or have difficulty collaborating with their colleagues.
- Higher turnover: If the onboarding process is stressful, it can lead new hires to question their decision to join the company. In fact, Cezanne’s survey also found nearly one-fifth of new employees who had a negative onboarding experience said they questioned whether they’d made the right decision to join the company.
- Missed opportunities: If new hires are struggling to adjust to their new roles, it can prevent them from fully taking advantage of all the opportunities that come with the job. For example, they may be less likely to take on new challenges, share their ideas, or form relationships with their colleagues.
Top 3 Causes of Stress During Onboarding
So, what exactly is causing all this stress during onboarding? Here are a few key factors:
1. Lack of clarity about what was expected of them
Being new in a company can be stress-inducing enough, but when there is a lack of clarity about what is expected of them, it can add an extra layer of anxiety. New hires may feel like they are constantly being watched and judged, wondering if they are meeting the standards that have been set for them.
Job descriptions that are too vague can also contribute to this stress. If new hires don’t clearly understand their role, it’s tough for them to know if they are on the right track.
2. Being bombarded with information
The onboarding process is often full of new information for employees. From learning about the company’s culture and values to being given a crash course in the company’s products and services, there is a lot for new hires to take in. This can be overwhelming and lead to information overload, especially if they feel like they are expected to remember everything.
A pile of paperwork often exacerbates this. While some of this may be necessary, such as tax forms and benefits information, there is often a lot of it that could be condensed or even eliminated.
3. Feeling isolated or not part of the team
Depending on the size of the company, new hires may feel like just another cog in the machine or they may feel isolated from their team. The onboarding process can be a lonely experience, especially for remote workers.
New hires may feel like they are the only ones who are struggling to adjust to their new roles. This can be especially true if they don’t have a strong relationship with their manager or if they feel like their colleagues are not supportive.
Making Onboarding Less Stressful
While it’s impossible to erase all sources of stress during the onboarding process, there are a few things companies can do to make it less overwhelming for new hires:
1. Onboarding with a focus on the future
Onboarding should be more than just a crash course in the company’s products and services. It should also focus on helping new hires understand their career path and how they can grow within the company.
New hires can be more invested in their career from the outset if employers set expectations and provide opportunities for professional development.
2. Communicate expectations early and often
At its best, onboarding is an opportunity to set new hires up for success in their role. It’s a chance to introduce them to the company culture, mission, and values, give them the tools they need to do their job and help them feel welcomed and supported as they join the team.
Also, by regularly checking in with the new hire during the first few weeks and months, companies can ensure that they are meeting expectations and address any concerns early on.
3. Assign a buddy or mentor
New hires often feel more comfortable and confident when they have someone to help guide them through the onboarding process. Assigning a buddy or mentor who can answer questions, give advice, and help acclimate the new hire to the company culture can make a world of difference.
It’s no secret that starting a new job can be stressful. There’s a lot to learn and remember, not to mention all the new faces and names. For many people, the thought of going through an onboarding process is enough to make them break out in a cold sweat.
Making the onboarding process less stressful for employees is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. When employees feel welcome and supported from the start, they’re more likely to stick around and be productive members of the team.