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by Peter Horvath | November 30, 2022


“New hire’s remorse”—at least under this name—is a recent phenomenon that we broached last week. Also called “shift shock,” it arises when an employee regrets taking a job because it isn’t the right fit or is completely different from what was expected. As noted previously, 72% of 2,500 jobseekers surveyed earlier in 2022 reported feeling new hire’s remorse.[i] Reasons for increased awareness of shift shock include (1) decreased exposure to a new workplace and future coworkers because of the rise of virtual interviewing, (2) dissatisfaction with the amount of time employees are expected to be in the office, and (3) the evolution of “rules” for how long employees are expected to remain at a job.

So, how can employees and employers address shift shock?

What Employees Can Do to Avoid or Overcome New Hire’s Remorse

Given the overall abundance of available positions nationwide, employees in certain sectors can afford to be more selective in finding new jobs. Here are some recommendations for avoiding new hire’s remorse in a new position:

  1. Be as informed as possible when deciding whether to accept a position. Gather all available information and fully vet all aspects of the employer.
  2. Ask to meet people—not only those interviewing you, but future coworkers and other people in the office. It is important to determine whether you can see yourself working with them and to hear about their work, experiences, successes, and challenges with this employer. If it’s not possible to meet these people in person, then ask to meet them virtually.
  3. Ask thoughtful questions, either during the interview or afterwards as you consider accepting the position, including:
    1. Why is this position open?
    2. What systems are in place to support long-term career growth?
    3. Is there work-life balance? What supports are there for mental health?
    4. Are position responsibilities actually as advertised?[ii]
  1. Make sure you take enough time—within reason—to make an informed decision on accepting the job or not. Don’t feel rushed or pressured by the prospective employer to decide too quickly.
  2. Once you’ve accepted the position, prepare yourself mentally for adapting to and managing something that may be outside of your comfort zone. It’s impossible to see or experience all aspects of a job before you’ve actually spent some time with it, no matter how many rounds of interviews you’ve had, questions you’ve asked, or people you’ve met. You need to be ready for some surprises and have plans for how to address them.
  3. If you’re on the job and begin feeling regret at having accepted the position, talk with your manager. Discuss how the job, workplace, or culture isn’t what you expected. Offer examples of what you’re experiencing versus what you were told.[iii]
  4. Should you feel like you want to resign from the position, don’t act too hastily. Give yourself adequate time to make an educated decision. It may be anomalous that the employer is experiencing unique challenges at the time you begin working, and hopefully the employer has solutions in mind for how to manage these challenges.

How Employers Can Prevent or Mitigate New Hire’s Remorse

Hiring managers and human resources personnel should be prepared in the following ways to better engage and retain new hires so they don’t regret their new job placements:

  1. Communicate well and often in order to be transparent, and present an accurate picture of the job. Companies need to be honest about what it’s like to work there, including not only positive aspects but areas for improvement as well.[iv]
  2. Offer a detailed and personalized onboarding process. Each new hire is unique and likely needs distinct matters addressed, so don’t simply rely on an incomplete or boilerplate process. Strategic onboarding “helps retain employees, creates an engaged workforce, and boosts organizational and individual performance.”[v]
  3. Make new employees feel welcome. Arrange initial (and ongoing) introductions with managers and coworkers; assign mentors; and encourage peer support, teamwork, and collaboration.[vi]
  4. Track success (or shortcomings) by surveying new employees and looking at retention.[vii] Firsthand feedback is integral in learning whether what you’re doing is satisfactory or not.
  5. Consider making new hires feel special with some free giveaways, or “swag.”[viii] Beyond what you can do—or how you may be limited—in terms of compensation, benefits, and perks, who doesn’t love free stuff that displays the company name and, hopefully, captures or improves company morale?

Though early dissatisfaction and “new hire’s remorse” among employees have become more prevalent in workplaces, there are steps that both employees and employers can take to avoid it—or at least minimize its effects.

[i] Tomb, D. (2022, August 30). 72% of Muse Survey Respondents Say They’ve Experienced “Shift Shock”. The Muse.

[ii] Jackson, S. (2022, April 6). Nearly three out of four new hires regret accepting a job offer. Here are the questions to ask to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Business Insider.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Liu, J. (2022, March 2). 72% of young workers say they’ve regretted a new job after starting. CNBC.

[v] Starner, T. (2022, April 14). 4 new onboarding frameworks to help prevent ‘The Great Regret’. Human Resource Executive.

[vi] Comer, L. (2022, October 4). Is Your Sales Onboarding Giving Your New Hires Buyer’s Remorse? Mindtickle.

[vii] Ryba, K. (2022, February 8). How to Reduce Turnover With an Employee Retention Survey. Quantum Workplace.

[viii] Sohal, G. (2022, August 15). Company Swag Meaning & Benefits For Company Culture. PerkUp.