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Getting onboarding right has been one of the big challenges of the pandemic

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(Image credit: Image Credit: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock)

Most people that switched jobs during the pandemic suffered a poor onboarding experience, a new report from employee engagement and culture app Totem shows.

Polling 1,000 UK-based employees that recently started a new job, Totem found that just 15 percent had an excellent onboarding experience, with an additional third (29 percent) having an “average” one. For the rest, the experience was subpar.

Drilling deeper into the reasons for a poor experience, Totem found that some were logistical and others mental. When joining a new company, employees often don’t have the right gear, and are sometimes uncertain about what they’re expected to achieve. Almost a third (29 percent) said they weren’t sure what they were supposed to do in their first week, and meeting expectations and new colleagues were reasons for anxiety for almost a third of respondents. 

A better onboarding experience would include learning more about business processes and systems, and getting to know teammates and other employees a bit more. Despite the lockdown restrictions, most people (68 percent) were onboarded in person, not remotely. An even higher number (77 percent) said they preferred this type of onboarding. 

Despite all the hardships, many (40 percent) said they still felt confident after their first workday and workweek (52 percent). But with almost a fifth (18 percent) feeling exhausted after a week’s work, there’s plenty of room for improvement, Totem says. 

“It’s essential that companies do what they can to help people have a great onboarding experience and run at full capacity as pandemic restrictions ease and some normality returns. Businesses must ensure that their remote onboarding processes are fit for purpose, to empower new employees to hit the ground running,” said Marcus Thornley, Totem CEO.

“Joining a new company is simultaneously one of the most exciting and scary parts of work life, and doing it remotely only intensifies these feelings. Just as we’ve changed the way we work to reflect the new flexible reality, the onboarding process needs to be rethought too. Team members need to be empowered to work effectively, and it’s up to businesses to do this.”