The Manager Lottery and Its Effects on Onboarding

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

According to the research firm Randstad US, 60% of workers have quit a job or are considering jumping ship because of their direct supervisor.

But wait. There’s more.

Add to that wakeup call the exacerbating impact that a bad manager — or even just an uninvolved supervisor — can have on two other leading reasons that Ranstad says people leave their jobs:

      38% — want to leave their jobs due to a toxic work culture or one where they don’t feel they fit in

      58% — left jobs, or are considering leaving, because of negative office politics

Now, think about this: Does anyone contribute more to a negative work culture than an unengaged or improperly trained manager? No.

On the other hand, we at Enboarder believe (and our experience backs this up) in the potential for managers to have a very strong positive influence on employee engagement, from the day a new hire signs the job offer. This is usually only true, however, if managers get the right support from HR, and if your onboarding software helps them connect with their new team members easily and in a personalized way. In fact, we’ve written plenty about how Enboarder can help you turn your managers into onboarding rockstars

Why is it so tough to engage managers to appreciate the impact they have on onboarding and new-hire engagement? How can HR effectively influence managers to improve employee experience?

1. Help Managers Create Connections That Drive Engagement (When They’re Already Overwhelmed)


As in every part of life, communication at work is also the basis of any healthy relationship. Gallup research confirms this, saying consistent communication is connected to higher engagement. So, it only makes sense to start with communication to help managers create strong and lasting connections with new hires — connections that are deeper and more meaningful than just ticking off the boxes on a list of tasks and paperwork.

An onboarding system that is centered on the employee experience and can give you insight and data into each new hire’s unique background and journey. With that kind of relevant data, the system can provide managers with the right content at the right time to connect personally with new hires.

For example: A new hire has submitted feedback via the onboarding solution’s mobile dashboard. They were disappointed that one part of their training was postponed and rescheduled. The system will automatically generate a note to the manager about the new hire’s feedback, with a suggestion of how to best to respond.

Based on employee data already collected during onboarding, the suggestion may be as specific and personal as advising whether to talk with the new employee face-to-face or send a message via the company intranet, depending on that new hire’s communication preferences.

The bottom line here is that the manager gets immediate insight into an issue the new hire is not thrilled about, without needing to use a software tool or got to a portal or app they need to log into (and are likely to ignore, anyway) to get that information.

2. Enable Managers To Be Their Best Self on the Job (When They’re Already Stressed and Overworked)


Work-related stress and overwork in the United States have become endemic. The American Institute of Stress says the feeling of having a lot of demands and little control at work has been proven to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders. The nonprofit organization reports, for example, that New York, Los Angeles and other municipalities believe the link between job stress and heart attacks is so strong that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work-related injury and is compensated accordingly (including a heart attack sustained while fishing on vacation or gambling in Las Vegas).

When a manager is overworked, they’re likely to move the needs of their people to the bottom of their to-do list, according to a recent report in the Academy of Management Journal. Looking at the results from three different studies on the topic of busy managers, the researchers identified one shining conclusion: As the workloads of managers increase, they’re more likely to give higher priority to tasks that will support the organization — and they’ll overlook what the researchers called “fairness” toward their team members.

Imagine the impact of that kind of behavior on the attitudes of a new hire. Imagine the damage to that new hire’s sense of being “all in” or feeling part of a team or community.

However, the shift in workplace technology — and specifically onboarding software — can help support managers despite the long hours, inconsistent job expectations, and stress.


Just as leadership skills can be developed, managers can be coached on how to be onboarding champions — if you have the right technology. More specifically, that technology will address three crucial areas that can ease the load on your managers and help rock onboarding. The right onboarding solutions will:

      Make it easy for managers to get basic tasks done

      Coach managers to be onboarding champions with minimal effort

      Work the way you and your managers do now, and when you scale in future

We encourage you to dig deeper into how the right onboarding solution addresses those areas. You may even find tips for how to help managers of all kinds wow new hires.

Couldn’t hurt. Might help.

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