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6 Common Employee Onboarding Process Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Common Employee Onboarding Process Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Common Employee Onboarding Process Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

As part of Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Jesse Liszka, the Senior Communications Specialist at Paylocity, outlines some common employee onboarding process mistakes companies make and offers solutions to help avoid them.

The recruitment process can be costly and time-consuming. Businesses put a lot of energy into attracting the right talent. People are what make companies thrive in a competitive world. Yet, only 43 percent of employees had an onboarding experience lasting more than a day. All that time and effort was put into hiring an individual, and onboarding takes a day? That’s hardly sufficient to complete all the necessary paperwork. Not to mention getting new hires up to speed with company culture and values.

One way to avoid mistakes during recruitment and onboarding is by using an interview scorecard. Including an interview scorecard can help businesses make more objective hiring decisions, ensuring that each candidate is evaluated based on the same criteria. Companies can use an interview scorecard to ensure they hire the best candidates and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

Spending too little time onboarding isn’t the only mistake some businesses make. Read on to see the common mistakes companies make during the process. If you recognize any of these, don’t worry. There’s advice on how you can avoid them in the future.

6 Common Onboarding Process Mistakes

1) Skipping the Pre-Boarding Stage

Pre-boarding is a huge time saver. It should be part of every business’s onboarding process. You can use it to get a lot of the paperwork out of the way before the new hire’s first day. If you skip it, you have much more work to do once the employee has started. During pre-boarding, employees can complete the necessary paperwork. Documents needed for legal compliance, processing payroll, and HR can be done and filed. This way, the onboarding process can focus on integrating the new employee.

2) The Onboarding Process is Delayed

If you want to make a new employee feel unwelcome, delay onboarding altogether. This is how to make a bad impression. You won’t have to worry about them for long because they’ll soon be looking for opportunities with a competitor. Alternatively, have someone assigned to welcome the new starter. An experienced colleague can show them the ropes and provide a warm welcome. They can begin the process of integrating the new hire into the team. 

3) Lack of Organization

Onboarding is a process. Processes need forethought and planning to be effective. This is a fundamental principle of project management. Yet, some companies don’t apply that to onboarding as much as they should. Employees of some companies find themselves subject to ad hoc onboarding arrangements. This sets a bad precedent for how their time with the company may develop. They’ll have one eye on the door from the get-go.

Get organized with a checklist for your onboarding process. The example below should give you an idea of what it looks like. Your list will look different depending on the nature of your business. It may also vary depending on the role you’re hiring for. 

  • Welcome the new employee via email.
  • Prepare paperwork for completion by the employee. Send as part of the pre-boarding stage.
  • Set up a meeting between the new hire and a manager or colleague.
  • Let the team know that there’s a new colleague.
  • Update security arrangements like logins and passwords.
  • Ensure the new hire has the equipment or tools needed to work.
  • Prepare the new employee’s schedule.
  • Provide the new hire with access to relevant company policies.

4) Overwhelming New Hires with Information

When you welcome a new team member, there’s often a lot to cover. Try to do too much at once, and you’ll make it hard for the employee to retain the information. This may leave the new hire confused. It could delay their transition from a new hire to an active contributor. That’s why it’s best to make onboarding a longer process. Your company may have hundreds of policies, processes, and procedures. Take time to introduce them to new hires. Point them to valuable resources, like the beSlick policy guide. The process should last at least three months, and it’s not unusual to see onboarding take up to a year. 

During that time, you should schedule onboarding meetings. These act as check-ins for leadership to review how their employee settles in. Consider setting up meetings for the end of day one, week one, and month one. Then meet again at the end of the third month and the first year.

5) No Opportunities for Employees to Offer Feedback

If a business never invites feedback, it’ll never improve. That’s true of all aspects of business, including the onboarding process. For example, use check-in meetings to seek feedback from new hires. Give them the chance to ask questions and seek clarity on any issues. 

Meetings will be more valuable if the employee has time to prepare. Ensure to send email reminders in the run-up to a meeting. The employee will be able to gather their thoughts to provide constructive feedback. At the end of the onboarding process, ask for the employee’s thoughts on the overall process. This will allow you to see where you can make improvements.

6) Bad Expectations Management

New employees are often unsure about what their employer expects of them. Additionally, employees can sometimes misperceive what they should expect from their employer. This mismatch in expectations occurs when communication isn’t what it should be. Several risks emerge from bad management of expectations. The examples listed below are just some of them.

  • Employees may be less effective and productive.
  • New hires could become demoralized.
  • Security best practices may not be followed.
  • New starters may become resentful that their expectations have not been met.

This is why an onboarding process needs to last more than a day. Use early check-in meetings to lay out expectations. This is for both the company and the employee. Succeeding meetings then allow leadership to monitor the progress of the new starter. Also, employees can provide feedback about where their expectations aren’t met. Together, you can discuss how best to align expectations.

The Importance of Onboarding

A quality onboarding experience aims to speed up the time it takes for a new employee to become productive and confident. Hiring and workplace training have a raft of associated costs, so there’s a big incentive to make that investment pay off as soon as possible. By creating a robust onboarding process, you’ll have a happier, more productive workforce, making that investment worthwhile in the long term. Additionally, a robust onboarding process can help with employee retention, as new hires who feel welcomed and supported are more likely to stay with the company longer.

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