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Four out of ten people quit during their probationary period: the lack of onboarding is to blame

Onboarding is more than just training a new employee for the day-to-day work. A professional onboarding process involves fitting in with the team, passing on the company's values, building a bond, constant communication, and feedback. The stakes are high: even a "super-motivated" employee can be lost quickly if done wrong. Overall, 62% of employees have never had an onboarding experience in Hungary, according to an Ipsos survey, the market and opinion research firm said in a webinar.

Onboarding has a lot of potential, but companies still seem to under-utilize or fail to realize the importance of the first days and weeks of the onboarding experience. This period of „getting to know eachother” can have a significant impact on the relationship between the employee and the employer, or even on their 'staying together'. The first period of meeting the new employer is a key experience of the employee's life cycle, but this still seems to be underestimated in many places. Yet this is an important stage for learning about company values and operations, for developing a sense of attachment to the organization and loyalty to the brand. This is the period when the new employee becomes part of the organization and the organizational culture becomes embedded ideally"- says Annamária Földes, Head of Ipsos CX.

Four out of ten employees have had onboarding

Her colleague, Andrea Nyéki, a CX expert at the firm, reported on the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos in February, which looked at the onboarding experiences of Hungarian society. The survey showed that on average four out of 10 people had received training or onboarding during their first period of time at their new workplace. The rate is significantly better for people under 30, 6 out of 10 (61%), while for people over 40 the rate is below average, meaning that this effort and conscious preparation has been growing in the last 10 years. The public sector is markedly underperforming, with only 15% of respondents having received onboarding, with Hungarian-owned companies performing on average (37%) and multinationals performing best (55%) in this area. By industry, the retail sector appears to lead (52%), while the services sector (40%) lags behind.

Only 20% has feedback conversation when the probationary period is over

Most of the time employees are prepared for daily tasks, in fact, induction training takes place at 62%, but other training, familiarisation with the company's values and rules and regulations are all below 40%. Only a fifth of companies have an appraisal interview at the end of the probationary period, and only about half of these (12%) provide feedback to the employer. Also, about a fifth of companies care to make the new employee feel at home in the team and to connect informally with colleagues. Only 22% organize a team-building or welcome party.  And only 17% of companies provide a mentor or buddy for new colleagues.

In addition, the vast majority of new entrants have to do meaningful work during onboarding (9 out of 10), while 66% have to make real decisions. It is in the public sector that employees are most likely to be thrown into the deep end, and had to be involved in work right away, while it is in this sector that onboarding is least common. Although the whole point of the process is to remove uncertainty about the new position, to build the foundations for longer-term commitment and a company perspective.

4 out of 10 people quit during their probationary period

If they are not successful in getting to know the work environment, the job, and the colleagues, and if they fail to integrate into the community, new colleagues are much more likely to resign. A third of respondents continue to look for a job during the probationary period, and four out of ten of them quit during this time frame. The rate is even worse than average for women and young professionals, with around 50% of them quitting.

But experts say that it would be worth making much better use of this super-motivated period when you are starting a new job. The quality of the onboarding process is crucial to building an employer brand, as attitudes towards the employer can change positively by up to 35% during the onboarding process if it is done well.

A consciously built process: the buddy program

And good practices do exist, as Petra Borsodi, HR team leader at dm, told us during the webinar. She explained that onboarding is part of a consciously structured system that is present in all units of the company (head office, store network, warehouse), tailored to the specific circumstances. One of the foundations of this is mentoring, i.e. a mentor or buddy helps newcomers to settle in from the start.

Petra Borsodi stressed that first impressions cannot be repeated, and the induction program increases the sense of security, which helps knowledge transfer, but also boosts long-term loyalty. The aim is to build trust. The mentor supports the understanding of the company's operations and philosophy, the professional knowledge, the necessary systems, and methods, and helps the onboarding process by sharing written and unwritten rules.

At dm, a good mentor is an experienced, respected, and loyal employee who is not subordinate to the newcomer, knows the organization’s operations and culture well, is able to communicate well, and passes on experience. This is why mentors are prepared for this task, so that they are aware of the boundaries, do not want to mold the new employee in their own image, and can talk about the possibility of change if a relationship is not working. However, the mentor does not replace the role of the manager and does not take over his or her responsibilities. Retention is the responsibility of all team members.

In addition, a transparent learning plan, a framework, and a system of mutual feedback are essential. This will occur monthly during the probationary period, in the form of informal and formal appraisals.

In short, the experts said that the gap between promise and experience must be reduced because a survey in Hungary last year showed that only 20% of employees feel they can trust their manager and only one in two are happy at work and that a sense of belonging and the lack of positive feedback are key contributors to these results.

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