Employee retention is at the top of many companies’ priority lists, and Shift Shock is not helping. Shift Shock results from the Great Resignation and Rage Applying when workers feel their new job is very different than what they were led to believe.  

Regardless of how employees felt about their new roles, they used to at least stick it out with their new employer for a year. But in a post-pandemic world, 80% of employees feel it’s acceptable to leave a job within six months or less if it doesn’t live up to their expectations.  

Shift Shock was always prevalent, but today employees are using actions over words with their disappointment. And the last thing organizations want is new hires to have “new job regret.”  

Learn more about Shift Shock and how to mitigate new hires from experiencing it.    

How Shift Shock impacts the workplace 

The modern workplace keeps evolving, and a new phenomenon has emerged: Shift Shock. With the Great Resignation, 47 million people quit their jobs in 2021, and 50.5 million resigned in 2022. And while most were happy in the moment, many regretted their decision after discovering their new job wasn’t much better than their last one.

Shift Shock is the regret a person feels when starting a new job and discovering that it isn’t what they expected

Kathryn Minshew, the CEO of The Muse, describes Shift Shock as the regret a person feels when starting a new job and discovering that it isn’t what they expected.  

Think of it as similar to house hunting. You find a home you love online! To the point where you are convinced this is the house for you. Its kitchen appears remodeled, the yard looks huge, and the front of the house is well-landscaped. But to your surprise, it looks different when you see it in person. While the countertops are new, the floors are old and damaged. The yard is smaller than it looked online. And while the house has green grass and lovely bushes, the homes around it are falling apart, and the neighborhood alone will likely bring down the home’s value. There’s no denying it; you’ve been deceived. 

Shift Shock doesn’t only impact employees but also businesses. Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new employees costs money, so maintaining high employee retention matters.  

This latest trend has driven employers to reflect on their employee experience to ensure it aligns with their company values.

Be upfront about work culture and job role 

Being authentic is critical during the recruitment and onboarding processes. You don’t want to mislead your candidates more than you want them to fool you. Share a realistic representation of your company culture. Doing so will help you determine if a candidate is the right cultural fit for your organization.

Avoid Shift Shock with authenticity

You can attract employees with similar beliefs and work styles by expressing your company values and priorities upfront. Today, a critical piece to work culture is what working model you offer your employees.  

For example, if your company has a hybrid work model and a candidate wants strictly in-office or remote, they may not be a good match for your business. Could you make accommodations for them? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they are suitable for your company. Someone that wants to be in the office full-time may be looking for more hands-on support than a hybrid environment can offer them. On the flip side, an individual looking to be fully remote may crave more flexibility than you can provide. 

Whatever work model your business supports – in-office, remote, or hybrid – look for candidates that feel that also best supports their work methods. Dive deeper into your interview questions. Here are some to think about:  

  • How do they work best? 
  • What work model is their current job?   
  • How long would their commute be, and would this be a problem?   
  • Do they have a space in their home where they can comfortably work remotely part-time?   

 And so on. Otherwise, you may run into issues down the line due to them experiencing Shift Shock.  

Now let’s say you found a great candidate for your work model. Are they the right employee for the role? Don’t undersell or oversell the position. Explain what the job responsibilities are and what a typical day in that role would look like. Frankly, a job title doesn’t tell the candidates enough. The same title may look different for two companies.

Make sure the job a new hire begins aligns with what the recruiter and hiring manager pitched
One of the leading causes of Shift Shock is that the actual job varies from the one discussed during the interview process. To avoid this, make sure the job a new hire begins aligns with what the recruiter and hiring manager pitched.  

Remember, interviewing isn’t only about finding the most qualified individual. It’s about finding the best candidate for your company, specifically. Other questions to think about: 

  • Will this employee enjoy the job role?  
  • Will they mesh well with others on the team?  
  • Will they be able to abide by company policies?   
  • Or do you foresee a conflict, despite their near-perfect resume?

Under no circumstances should you deceive a candidate. That won’t work out well for either of you. Deception is a fast track to losing new employees to Shift Shock.

Involve your team in the hiring process 

Your team is your compass through the interview process

Involving your team in the hiring process is a great way to give candidates a more transparent look into your work culture. Think of your team as your compass. Not only are they helping the candidate understand if they will enjoy working with your company, but they can also detect if the candidate will be a good fit.  

Shift Shock is likely to be avoided if you use a collaborative hiring strategy. This team-based hiring method structures your recruitment process to get colleagues across your company involved. With collaborative hiring, team members are part of the screening, evaluation, and selection stages.

The more people you include in your hiring process, the higher your retention rate. Companies that utilize collaborative hiring reduce employee turnover rates by nearly 50%. Less employee turnover means fewer new hires impacted by Shift Shock. 

For a successful collaborative hiring process: 

  1. Make sure they have the proper resources to conduct the interview. 
  2. Pre-plan the touchpoints when the team should meet to discuss candidates 

Collaborative hiring can help mitigate Shift Shock among new hires

Your team knows your company culture best — after all, they are a large piece in creating it. And your perspective as a manager may differ from your team’s perspective. So, why wouldn’t you use them to help avoid Shift Shock? 

Top tips to create and maintain a great employee experience 

An employee’s experience is constant. As previously mentioned, with Shift Shock, employees today don’t see a problem quitting a new job within their first six months — with most resigning after two months. Having a great onboarding isn’t enough for new hires; you want to maintain a positive workplace throughout their employment. 

According to BlueBoard, nearly 80% of employees reported they want to be at an organization where they feel connected to the people within the company, including management.

Coffee chats with C-suite leaders improve employee-executive relationships among new hires and employees, thus mitigating Shift Shock

Coffee chats with C-suite leaders are a popular new trend among companies to improve employee-executive relationships. With many employees either partly or fully remote, organizations received feedback that employees felt disconnected from leadership. To help fix this problem, they scheduled monthly meetings where new hires and current employees could virtually chat with C-suite employees while enjoying a cup of coffee.  

Other ways to create and maintain a great employee experience include: 

  • Keep your promises to employees 
  • Learn what motivates your workers 
  • Provide clear direction for growth 
  • Find ways to show employees they are valued 
  • Don’t promote micromanaging 
  • Build a community within the organization 
  • Focus on employee wins, not failures 
  • Always make time for employees 

Don’t underestimate the importance of these tips. Improving the overall employee experience — from onboarding to everyday work duties — will relieve Shift Shock among employees.   

Stay connected beyond onboarding 

Today’s job market is competitive. If employees leave a new job, it’s likely for a good reason. Don’t ever mislead professionals. Guarantee that the job they show up for on Day 1 is the same as the job offered during the hiring process.  

Never assume employees are content and satisfied, especially new hires. Assumptions can result in miscommunication. Go out of your way to connect with your team beyond the onboarding process. Providing a great employee experience can make all the difference.  

Ultimately, regular check-ins with your employees help prevent Shift shock by addressing any issues as they arise. Stay connected with all team members to ensure they feel engaged, heard, and valued. 



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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.