The new job honeymoon phase has disappeared in Australia, with poor onboarding processes leading to new hires feeling less engaged and less likely to stay at the company, according to a new report.

The 2024 Qualtrics Employee Experience Trends report found that Australian workers in general are now feeling less engaged, less included and less likely to remain in their current roles after wellbeing peaked this year.

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 workers in Australia about the leading indicators of a positive employee experience.

Typically, employees are more engaged and happy in their roles during their first year at a new company.

But the Qualtrics report found this is no longer the case, with new hires reporting a less positive experience than their colleagues who have been in the job for longer.

According to the report, 62 per cent of those in a job for less than six months feel engaged, 35 per cent said their experience has exceeded expectations, 65 per cent feel included and 66 per cent said their wellbeing is good.

Just 25 per cent of those surveyed said they intended to stay in the role for more than three years.

These metrics virtually increased across the board when it came to employees in their roles for between six months and one year.

Once a worker has been there for up to two years, 69 per cent said they feel engaged and 40 per cent intend to stay for another three years.

This demonstrates HR leaders may be too focused with finding new employees rather than making sure new employees are looked after adequately in the onboarding process.

According to Qualtrics research, 70 per cent of HR leaders are focused on attracting and hiring talent but only 62 per cent prioritise the onboarding of new employees so they are properly integrated into the company.

Some tech companies have shown the way to properly do this. Cisco was recognised as a great place to work due partly to its onboarding process, which stretches out for 18 months and is customised to the individual’s needs and learning styles.

Onboarding can also be a risky time for businesses in terms of cyber security. Earlier this year, a cyber firm was breached when a malicious actor intercepted its onboarding email sent to a new employee’s personal email address.

The Qualtrics report found that more broadly, Australian workers have experienced a drop in all positive experience metrics after a peak this year.

Reported levels of engagement among workers increased from 61 per cent in 2021 to 69 per cent in 2023, but the latest report saw this figure drop to 66 per cent.

Source: Qualtrics

It was a similar case when it came to those reporting that their experience exceeded expectations, with a drop from 39 per cent to 36 per cent.

The number of people intending to stay in their role for more than three years fell slightly to 54 per cent, while wellbeing dropped from 70 per cent to 67 per cent.

“At a time when Australia is trying to lift productivity and organisations are operating in uncertain and challenging markets, the decline in the indicators of a positive employee experience are a concern,” Qualtrics senior manager, XM Advisory Services, Asia Pacific Dr Criss Sumner said.

“When you consider great employee experiences are linked to positive business outcomes, employers need to act now or they’ll be missing out.”

The research also found that employees working on a hybrid schedule are most likely to be satisfied.

Those working between two and four days in the office are more likely to report better wellbeing and satisfaction than those working entirely at home or full-time from the office.

Another recent study found employee stress levels are on the rise, with 34 per cent of employees reporting lower mental health levels compared to six months ago.