Contrary to conventional wisdom, new employees care more about mentoring and on-the-job training than perks like free food during the onboarding process, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S.-based employees conducted by BambooHR.

Receiving organized, relevant and well-timed content, on-the-job training, the assignment of an employee “buddy” or mentor and having the onboarding process extend beyond the first week are important and often overlooked factors. When it comes to what aspects truly matter to employees starting a job, free food and perks are not what they crave; they want an onboarding process that helps them reduce the learning curve at the new company so that they can become an effective, contributing team member. Thorough onboarding processes are worth the time spent, and many employees feel that large amounts of time and money are wasted on ineffective processes that focus on the wrong things. The respondents estimated that the typical company wastes $10,000 a year as a result of ineffective onboarding processes. 

The data from Bamboo HR's survey show that paperwork, historically considered part of an employee’s first day on the job, plays an integral role in onboarding, but the new-hire orientation is more about socialization and acculturation, which takes place over several weeks or months. Some might think that HR managers are the staffers most responsible for the new-hire process. My company's research shows that employees feel that their managers have the greatest influence on whether a new-hire orientation is effective or not. Managers are responsible for providing adequate on-the-job training and proper employee socialization activities that could last weeks or even months into a new job. See some of our findings in the infographic below:

Click to Enlarge+
Onboarding Essentials: Find Out What Really to New Employees