2019 Job Seeker Survey Report

Part 3: Preboarding and Onboarding


Surveys provide an important opportunity to benchmark internal policies and practices against the perceptions and expectations of a large, statistically representative group. In Part 1 of the 2019 Job Seeker Survey Report, we explored the role of recognition in the recruiting process. In Part 2, we examined candidate perceptions of the recruiting process. Here, in our final edition, we report on candidate perceptions of preboarding and onboarding processes.

As the results on the following pages demonstrate, the quality of preboarding and onboarding programs can have a profound impact on whether a new employee intends to stay with a company. Our survey respondents also provide highly actionable insights into what employers can do to improve the quality of the overall onboarding experience. And last, but certainly not least, our survey results underscore the importance of having a formalized onboarding program that gets every employee’s career journey with your company off to the right start.

The results published in this report are based on a survey of 1,500 individuals, from all major industry sectors and demographic groups, including 802 active job seekers, 574 passive job seekers and 124 non-job seekers.

Trendicators is the research division of Engage2Excel, a leading provider of employee recognition, engagement survey and talent acquisition solutions. Trendicators provides original research, along with reports on insights and best practices from industry leaders and experts.

Survey Demographics

Number of Respondents: 1,500
Countries Represented: United States
Industries Represented: All major industries
Respondent Demographics: U.S. workers in all job types with proportionate representation of gender, age group and racial/ethnic origin
Margin of Error: 95% confidence level +/- 1.5%

Important or very important aspects of the onboarding experience:

Being recognized or praised: 67%
Interaction with employees: 72%

Percentage of respondents who said this was either important or very important.


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Preboarding & Onboarding Expectations

The impact of the onboarding experience cannot be underestimated. Half of our survey respondents indicated that a poor experience on the first day of onboarding would affect their decision to stay with the company for more than a month. More than half said that the total onboarding experience would affect their decision to stay for more than a year.

When we asked respondents what activities they expected to occur during onboarding, the highest-ranking responses covered the obvious topics. However, it is interesting to note that spending time with their manager and reviewing an onboarding plan were among the top seven responses.

Survey Takeaways: Carefully plan, organize and execute each employee’s onboarding experience to avoid creating a negative first impression.

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The Onboarding Process

Onboarding is important because it directly impacts retention. However, it is a far from perfect process. According to a survey by Aberdeen, only 32% of companies have a formalized onboarding process. When we asked candidates how long they expected the onboarding process to take, only 8% said more than a month. When Career Builder asked the same question of HR professionals, 49% indicated that their onboarding process takes from one to three months or longer.

What matters most to employees? Our survey respondents said that being recognized for positive behaviors and interacting with employees is important before, during and after onboarding.

Survey Takeaways: Formalize onboarding programs if you haven’t already and make sure to build in opportunities for recognition and employee interaction. In addition, set expectations about how long an onboarding program will last and what’s included.

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Welcome Gifts: Unexpected, but influential

As reported in Part 1 of this series, 46% of survey respondents said they would consider other offers if they didn’t hear from someone at the hiring company between time of offer acceptance and their first day on the job. To build stronger relationships before day one, some companies are being creative by presenting a welcome gift at the time of the job offer. While more than three-quarters of respondents said they didn’t expect a welcome gift, more than a third indicated that it would influence their decision to accept a job offer.

Survey Takeaways: Show your appreciation for a new recruit by celebrating their offer acceptance with a welcome gift branded with your company logo. It’s a great way to make new employees feel like they belong even before their first day.

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Best and Worst Onboarding Experiences

Each of our 1,500 survey respondents provides insights on their best and worst onboarding experiences. Some were much more concise than others. The answers shown below for the best onboarding experiences reflect a common theme. When the onboarding process is well organized and includes interaction with the manager and coworkers, it is well received. The worst experiences varied widely, with many commenting on inadequate time or unpleasant interactions as underlying causes for the negative experience.

Survey Takeaways: Get every employee journey off to the right start with a well-organized and engaging onboarding program.

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