Survey Reveals UK Organisations Suffer From ‘Non-Starter Syndrome’

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of HRs have had new recruits quit before they start

Cezanne HR, supplier of global Cloud-native HR software for mid-sized and growing UK and international businesses, revealed that UK organisations are suffering from ‘Non-Starter Syndrome’, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of HR respondents admitting they had new recruits quit before they even start.

The survey, which was conducted in January 2019 and polled 250 senior HR practitioners across the UK, also found that a significant 19% of the UK workforce (one in five employees) stays in a job for less than a year. These statistics present a clear picture of the challenges that UK HR teams now face when it comes to onboarding and retaining talent.

The findings of Cezanne HR’s onboarding survey also correlate with recent research from HR analyst firm Fosway Group, which indicates that UK HR leaders are aware of the need to optimise onboarding, with almost half (48%) of organisations looking to invest more in their onboarding process.


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The Onboarding Communications Gap
Offering some insight into the reasons for these challenges, last year Cezanne HR’s 2018 Onboarding Survey of 1,000 UK employees revealed that almost a third (31%) of ‘non-starters’ cited bad experience or poor or no follow up from the organisation. 45% stated they would have liked more communication before their job started, and 51% left their jobs within the first six months because their job role did not meet expectations, also suggesting a lack of communication.

When asked which onboarding communication tools were deployed within organisations, 75% used email and 66% used phone, followed by 25% relying on post to communicate. With a significant 87% of respondents lacking a web-based onboarding tool or portal, UK HR departments are still lagging in the digitalisation of their processes.

Adapting to a More Diverse Workforce
Cezanne HR’s research also revealed that 60% of gig workers either aren’t included (or organisations don’t know whether they are included) in the organisation’s onboarding process. And, with the gig economy quickly becoming the fastest growing section of the UK workforce, the visibility and retention challenges that this creates are only set to increase.

In addition to the gig economy, a third (33%) of HR teams are still not tailoring onboarding experiences to include those returning from leave, including maternity, paternity, and long-term sick leave. Similarly, nearly a third (32%) of organisations offer no support to employees as they move into a new role within their organisation.

With only 17% of respondents describing their onboarding processes as ‘best in class’, there is a clear requirement for HR to focus on onboarding across the organisation.

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Sue Lingard, Director at Cezanne HR, commented: “In the race to acquire talent, the focus has fallen on improving the candidate experience through digitising recruitment. And, while this is a great step forward, many companies have not, until recently, lent the same attention to onboarding processes.

“With a new generation entering the workplace, and a fast-growing gig economy, the need to optimise onboarding is now a point of competitive difference. Organisations that don’t deliver a consumer-like digital experience for their new staff will struggle to keep up in the war for talent.”

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The Cost of Churn
On average, the survey found the cost of recruitment per candidate to be £1,739. With the average cost of onboarding reported as £290 per employee, this represents just 17% of average recruitment expenditure yet ensures lower churn and much better ROI.

Respondents also recognised getting recruits as productive as possible, with the largest per cent (32%) stating it as the most important benefit of the onboarding process.

“With frequent reports of UK output lagging that of its European counterparts, and this potentially being exacerbated by us leaving the EU, optimising the onboarding process to ensure maximum productivity be more important than ever,” added Lingard.

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