stae of onboarding is broken

More than two-thirds (71 percent) of office workers surveyed as part of a new study said documentation was incomplete when they started their role*.

For more than a quarter (27 percent), it took up to a month to finalise all of the onboarding tasks required for a new starter – from contracts to compliance policies. And for 11 percent, it was three months before onboarding admin was complete. Ineffective handling of paperwork is just one of the onboarding challenges highlighted by the ‘Welcome Aboard’ research. The OnePoll study, commissioned by Webonboarding and involving more than 2,000 UK office workers, reveals the battle HR teams face with outdated and broken onboarding processes.

Broken state of onboarding

The research shows that two-thirds (66 percent) of HR departments are still using a paper-based approach to handling contracts with 46 percent of new starters complaining of a negative onboarding experience. And for one-in-ten (11 percent), this resulted in them rejecting a role. But the findings also show the potential benefits that come from delivering an effective onboarding process – 64 percent of respondents said a positive starter experience helped them to feel committed to their new employer.

Adam Reynolds, CEO of Webonboarding, said,

The research helps to show exactly why traditional approaches to employee onboarding are broken and ineffective. Whenever you have paper-based processes and the manual handling of employee information, you always have the potential for these kinds of issues.

The length of time and the nature of mainly manual processes is of a particular concern for UK HR teams due to the employment law changes in 2020, making it a legal requirement for employment particulars to be issued on or before a new hire starts. The forthcoming changes to the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 legislation removes the two-month period that currently exists to issue documentation.

Understanding onboarding challenges

With tighter regulations and an increasingly tough recruitment environment, the ‘Welcome Aboard’ research provides HR and hiring teams with a valuable insight into the challenges being posed by outdated and broken onboarding processes. Despite onboarding being such a critical phase of the hiring cycle, most organisations are still reliant on traditional ways of working with communications handled via a mix of posted documentation, emails and phone calls.

*The Welcome Aboard study

Interested in optimizing your HR processes? We recommend the Optimizing Performance Management through Organisational Design training day.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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