The upshot: The employee lifecycle hasn’t fundamentally changed—as before, every employee is hired, onboarded, and eventually exits—but with fewer in-person interactions, the number of moments that matter has shrunk, and their weight is heavier. What’s more, they’re heavily intertwined with technology in ways that go beyond useful tools that every employee uses.
Take, for instance, the onboarding stage, which can determine whether a new hire stays or leaves within their first six months and which is chock-full of meaningful moments. Consider these substantial differences between the experiences of traditional and hybrid workers on Day One:
For most new hybrid hires, virtual onboarding is lackluster. A recent Eagle Hill Consulting survey of hybrid workers—49% of whom were onboarded virtually—found that most companies’ onboarding falls short, with 71% of new hires ending up feeling socially isolated, and 62% saying that the culture doesn’t match what was presented to them before they accepted the job.
Benjamin Granger, chief workplace psychologist at Qualtrics, says this is because of “the modality of how people connect. Hybrid journey mapping has shown us that some of these experiences, like onboarding, are better done in person.” But with many hybrid workers in another city, or across the globe, in-person onboarding usually isn’t feasible.
It can be hard for HR teams to detect when hybrid critical moments fall flat, especially if employees are loath to share negative feedback on surveys. “When we were all in the office together, you could see how a new hire was doing. The lack of visual cues is challenging in terms of gauging how the employee journey is going,” Connery says.