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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Onboarding New Hires

Posted by Leslie Ruhland on Jun 12, 2018 9:20:09 PM
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Many companies have a process for bringing new hires on board their organizations. Unfortunately, many others do not. And, in fact, these businesses diminish their own employee retention because of it.


An onboarding process for new hires is often approached as cursory task, involving little more than setting up a work station and taking a quick tour around the work place. But onboarding, done properly, can provide a great opportunity to ensure long-term employee retention, and speed the transition process.
However, done badly - or not all - it can lead to a potential new hire disaster. In previous posts we have highlighted best practices for effective onboarding, and what's essential for an optimal onboarding process. 

In this post we want to highlight five of the most common onboarding mistakes typically made when bringing new employees into a company. One major reason for these types of mistakes is that too many companies leave the entire process to one or maybe two of their staff members, and with little or no structure. 

But this approach not only diminishes the experience for the new employee, but it plants the seed for potential issues down the road. Because new employee onboarding is often seen as nothing more than a series of forms that must be filled out for the HR department, it s a process that is overlooked or at least badly managed, at best.

Five Onboarding Mistakes To Avoid

The ideal onboarding process actually begins before a new employee is even hired. In other words, one of the fundamental elements of a successful onboarding process is having the right employee coming on board! This can mean having a comprehensive recruiting and hiring process in place that helps to ensure your new hires are a good fit not only for the position, but for the company and culture, as well.

Once hired, though, there are a number of common mistakes employers often make when it comes to bringing new employees on board.

Here are five onboarding mistakes you would do well to avoid:

1. Having No Documented Onboarding Process

Not having a structured and documented process for onboarding new hires is probably one of the most common mistake employers make. What this means is that far too many organizations simply "wing it" or get by with an ad hoc approach that is incomplete and inconsistent.

Unfortunately, without a thought-out plan to successfully assimilate and integrate new workers, the process will always be arbitrary, haphazard and incomplete.

However, with a documented procedure in place, every manager and employees involved in the process will know what needs to be done and when. Having a documented approach will also allow management  to monitor and improve the process over time.

2. Failing to Involve Other Employees

Too often, new hires have to navigate their own way among their new colleagues and new surroundings. This can be difficult for many people and doesn't do much for the employee's morale. Failing to involve fellow co-workers in the onboarding process leave a new employee feeling out of place and create an unintended atmosphere of isolation. 

It might be assumed that a new hire and his or her new co-workers will simply introduce themselves and establish relationships. However, this isn't always an automatic process and the challenge of an unfamiliar environment, combined with the normal stress of starting a new job, can be overwhelming.

And, depending on your company's culture, much of the inclusion offered by fellow employees may consist largely of gossip and uninformed opinion. Prepare instead to intentionally assimilate new hires into your company's culture acquainting them with  your company's shared values and ideals.


employee handbook guide

3. Providing Insufficient or Incomplete Information

Clear communication is often a challenge for most businesses. Unfortunately, it's during the onboarding process where it can be frustrating and embarrassing. The mistake too many managers make is to only provide what they feel is necessary for the moment. However, this can leave a new hire unable to function confidently.

Instead, new employees should understand not only their job functions, but the layout of the workplace, relevant company-wide functions, and even where and when people eat, or socialize as co-workers. And don't forget the paydays and any extra holidays, etc. A comprehensive employee handbook is essential for this function.

4. Failure to Provide Essential Work Tools and Resources

How many times does a new employee show up for work on their first day only to find that their workstation hasn't been completely set up? Or that there are essential tools or hardware missing? A new employee should not have to hunt down office supply items themselves.

Besides, the HR team and management worked hard to find and hire the new worker. Why damage the reputation and perception of the company now by appearing to be ill-prepared or, worse, inept? Again, having a comprehensive and documented process with checklists will prevent these scenarios.

5. No Follow-up After the Onboarding Process

The onboarding process does not end after the first or second week, or even after the first month. In fact, it's been shown that a large percentage of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days after a new hire begins work.

One survey noted that onboarding programs last anywhere from less than a week to six months or longer. Over half of the businesses surveyed felt their onboarding only needed to be less than a month. On the other end of the spectrum, however, just under half of the respondents took two to six months for their onboarding.

In addition, having a structured process for eliciting feedback from new hires is critical. Hearing from your new employee about their onboarding experience shouldn't end once they're "up to speed". Ongoing feedback is critical for assessing the onboarding process and communication is essential for the successful transition of the employee.

Find the Resources You Need to Optimize Your HR Experience

In addition to a growing and demanding role in recruiting, hiring, and continually training employees, the HR staff is responsible for other functions they are typically tasked with such as payroll management, tax filings, employee records compliance, and so forth.

Considering alternatives such as outsourcing is increasingly becoming a cost-effective and strategic option. Accuchex can help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands. Get your Free Download: Payroll Outsourcing Guide to help you make an informed decision or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.

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Topics: new hire, onboarding best practices, employee onboarding process, employee onboarding, workforce management

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