(article courtesy of

As you know all too well, it’s hard to hold onto new employees. Thus, onboarding programs were born. The problem is, there are several reasons onboarding may not be working. 

In fact, recent research by BambooHR, a software company, found that 31% of people have quit a job within the first six months.

This does not speak well of employers’ onboarding efforts.

To find out exactly what’s going wrong in the onboarding process, BambooHR surveyed 1,005 U.S. employees over the age of 24 to find out what has made them quit jobs in the past and what could be done to improve employers’ onboarding programs.

Why they’ve quit quickly

Here are the top five reasons U.S. workers gave for leaving new jobs shortly after being hired:

  1. Changed mind on work type (in other words, they were still deciding on their career path and it turns out they didn’t like the one they’d chosen)
  2. The work was different than they expected (in other words, the job description didn’t accurately reflect the position)
  3. My boss was a jerk (so employers need to be more careful about not putting tyrants in charge)
  4. Didn’t receive enough training (in other words, employees don’t want to be thrown to the wolves unprepared), and
  5. The job wasn’t fun (in other words, the job description failed new hires again).

What workers want from onboarding programs

So what advice did survey respondents have for improving onboarding programs?

Here are the four things they said they want most in the first week on the job:

  1. On-the-job training
  2. Review of company policies
  3. A tour of the company and to have their equipment set up and ready to go, and
  4. Being assigned a buddy or a mentor.

Respondents also indicated who they want showing them the ropes:

  • 33% said they want their own managers to do it
  • 28% said someone from HR
  • 27% said the department they’re joining
  • 23% said a dedicated trainer
  • 22% said a colleague, and
  • 19% said an assigned mentor.

For more interesting stats from the survey, check out the following infographic from BambooHR.

It reveals:

  • The five things workers want employers to do differently to help them stay
  • The types of positions workers are abandoning early, and
  • What HR pros believe ineffective onboarding is costing their companies.