The expectation vs. reality gap is everywhere—from memes to dating apps and even corporate culture. When new hires realize the employee value proposition they were sold in the interview process isn't true to the actual experience, they can suffer from a case of buyer's remorse. And in the business world, the expectation vs. reality gap often relates to company policies.
In a recent article for Forbes, entrepreneur and Rules for Renegades author Christine Comaford writes that, based on her informal survey of her coaching clients, the "new job honeymoon" ends after the first 60 to 90 days at a new workplace. "This is when a new hire, then, is most at risk of buyer's remorse, of regretting that they accepted a role at your organization," she asserts. "This is also when a new hire has 'gone native'—they are now a part of the tribe and no longer have the fresh unbiased perspective of an outsider."
According to a 2013 study, nearly half of all employees have experienced buyer’s remorse after accepting a job offer. And it’s no secret what happens when an employee regrets their decision—they quit. Replacing an employee can potentially cost a company two times as much as their annual salary.
While there are many possible reasons for “early attrition,” Comaford explains that remorse is likely to set in when policies that were promised by leadership are not honored or followed. As Gallup's Vipula Gandhi writes, "Executives and leaders create company-wide policies to shape the culture and spirit of their organization. But those ideals only make an impact when they are experienced every day—especially in the way managers interact with employees."
Gallup mentions improperly-instituted flexibility as one catalyst of employee buyer's remorse. Too often, flexibility is unstructured, inconsistent, and impersonal. Too often, flex isn't baked into corporate culture, and employees either don't know about their access to flex or feel uncomfortable accessing it. Too often, flex is delivered transactionally or on an ad hoc basis, with employees forced to campaign for their right to flexibility. Too often, a "one-size-fits-all" mentality dictates flexible work policies, as if all employees have the same needs (spoiler alert: they don't).
"Leaders must ask: Do the intended benefits of our policies reach the individuals they were meant to reach? And how are they really experienced?" Gandhi explains. "Knowing what your employees and managers think, see and experience on a daily basis is the first step to answering these questions."
The good news? Werk can help.