How to Avoid these Onboarding Pitfalls

July 26, 2018

In this blog, Laura discusses the common mistakes to avoid when onboarding in a new organisation.

By Laura Hayden

An effective onboarding process is crucial for providing new hires with the tools and know-how to achieve a fruitful career within a company. Whilst many employers do their best with this stage of the employment lifecycle, too much emphasis can be placed on chance as to whether the new person will ‘work out’. Few businesses recognise the impact of a successful onboarding programme and understand that there’s more to it than the traditional induction. Here are the common mistakes to avoid…

Paperwork – Zzz…

 It’s your first day in a new job, you’re nervous but excited about the future and have high hopes that you’re about to start your dream job!

But when you arrive, you’re shown to a room and asked to sit on your own and spend your first day completing reams and reams of paperwork – BORING! You feel frustrated because this could quite easily have been done at home in front of the TV. You leave feeling deflated, uninspired and relieved that your day is over and realise you haven’t learnt anything new about the company PLUS you haven’t even been introduced to your peers and colleagues. Clearly, this leaves you with a terrible first impression that you’re a cog in the machine and not going to be valued by the organisation. This has negative impacts on motivation, engagement and culture.

Ok – I might be being dramatic, but so many organisations make this mistake. Investing in a cloud-based HR Software allows new hires to fill in their starter information before they start work, which not only saves time, money and trees as everything is electronic and completed before you start to pay them, it gives the impression that the organisation is modern, efficient and innovative. Some software will even allow training presentations to be uploaded so that some key learning can take place before joining.

This way, the first day can be spent finding out about the company, the job, systems and the team.

Failing to prepare workspace and equipment

You’re shown to your desk and find Gary from IT frantically trying to set you up with an email address and system logins so that you can actually be trained to do your job. Although you try to reassure yourself that they must have been busy and had no time to sort this out before you joined, you can’t help but wonder if you’ve not been a priority for the business. Then you realise that you’ve not even been provided with essential equipment such as a pad of paper or a pen. Joy.

Although there’s often urgency to back-fill a vacant position, it would be far better to delay the start date of an employee to enable everything to be set up, tested and working before they join. This makes for a much smoother training process, gives a much better impression and ultimately, allows the individual to be up to speed much quicker.

Many employers give the impression during the recruitment process that the company is unbelievably amazing but if they can’t get something as simple as preparing for a new arrival correctly, the employee’s perception isn’t going to be wonderful.

Not setting clear expectations from the beginning

 In order to be set up for success in an organisation, the new hire must have it made clear to them what the expectations are of the company – including the key policies, behaviours and working practices and conversely what they can expect from the company and the management team.

Without this, it can’t be assumed that the employee is aware of what is expected of them, and therefore, they are unable to model their actions accordingly.

 Not offering any type of recognition during onboarding

 It’s well known that people no longer tend to have a job for life. Employees do not tend to stay put in organisations unless they feel valued, recognised and loyal to a business – and loyalty is easiest to earn from off-set rather than starting to build it after an individual’s own opinions and impressions have been formed, which if negative, are hard to shake.

Many organisations wait until an employee has passed their probation before offering access to benefits such as healthcare – and of course, this makes sense, but recognition can come in many forms, doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and should start from day dot as the earlier an organisation starts to build a meaningful connection with an employee, the better.

Low cost, collaborative initiatives for recognition that provide feedback and reward good performance and behaviours result in greater productivity and morale. Something simple like an employee of the month award that comes with a small reward, such as a gift card, can go a long way.

Not getting feedback on the induction received

Don’t assume that the onboarding process is slick Rick! Gaining relevant and timely feedback from new joiners can help companies ascertain what has worked well and what might need extra work.

The induction should be regularly updated so that it moves with the organisation – otherwise, it can very quickly become out of date; hence a new joiner is not being provided with the most relevant skills and training to become the best employee they possibly can be – and equally for the company to be the best employer they have ever had!

If you’re interested in learning more about onboarding new employees, just get in touch with the team.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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