How employers are onboarding early talent in 2023

Apr 26, 2023 | Development, Home Featured, Research

ISE’s Student Development survey 2023 reveals how employers are managing onboarding programmes for early talent.

Onboarding, the process of integrating a newly hired employee into an organisation, is an integral part of development programmes.

The onboarding process plays a crucial role in acclimatising new employees to their work environment, integrating them into the company’s culture and ensuring they become valued participants.

ISE’s Student Development Survey 2023 found that the average onboarding process lasts for 10 days. However five days (median) was the more typical length of an induction programme.

It varied across sectors, with inductions in the Built Environment sector taking three days (median). This compares to 10 days (median) in the legal sector.


Most common forms of onboarding

Introductions to peers, meetings with line managers and pre-boarding activities were most common forms of onboarding.

Now that we are three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in face-to-face inductions (21% in 2022 compared to 43% in 2023). There has also been a corresponding decrease in fully online induction programmes (37% in 2022 compared to 17% in 2023).

However, in 2023, the blended face-to-face and online form of induction is the most common. 62% of respondents use this as part of the onboarding process. This also reflects the general trend towards hybrid working.

Face-to-face onboarding is rated as the highest quality experience by 53% of respondents. This compares to virtual or remote onboarding with only 3%.

Furthermore, there is, unsurprisingly, a great deal of variation between sectors in this regard. For example, 84% of respondents reported that face-to-face onboarding offered the highest quality experience in the Legal sector. Law firms have also reported pressure to abandon remote work.

However, this number is only 14% in the Charity & Public sector. In the Charity & Public sector, 71% reported that hybrid onboarding approaches offered the highest quality experience.


Remote workforce

Across all sectors, respondents utilised virtual induction and onboarding process 39% of the time. This compares to using face-to-face onboarding on average 61% of the time.

This was related to respondents’ perspective on what the best onboarding approach was. For example, fewer respondents in the Charity & Public sector believed that face-to-face onboarding was an indicator of high quality. In this sector the majority of respondents (63%) were delivering their onboarding virtually.

Overall, there has been a substantial shift back in the direction of face-to-face onboarding after the pandemic. 61% of respondents were onboarding face-to-face in 2023 in comparison with 29% in 2022.


Support for early talent

To help early career hires who struggled with onboarding remotely, respondents provided a range of support.

Buddy/peer support (26%) is one of the approaches that employers commonly used. After onboarding, some employers also continued to provide a range of support to hires who were mainly based at home such as providing them with IT equipment and support (26%) and regular contact (26%).

In addition, more data and sector breakdown can be found in ISE’s Student Recruitment Survey 2023.


You may also be interested in reading…

 What will induction and onboarding look like in 2023?

 Are employers returning to face-to-face graduate onboarding and development?

 Top 3 early talent development trends of 2023


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