First impressions are important because they last well past their initial impact. This is exactly why onboarding programs make all the difference when hiring new employees. Not only for companies but in general, when you meet someone new or have a first-time experience, you are likely to remember it more than later encounters. This is called having a primary effect. Onboarding is similar; in fact, it is more crucial as it is an opportunity for the organization to showcase their work culture.
It is a fantastic way to put their best foot forward to reassure the new hire that they have made the best decision by joining the firm. This gesture is bound to leave employees with great motivation and confidence to start their new roles.
Doing it the Right Way Makes All the Difference
The importance of having an onboarding program is inarguable. The fact is, onboarding programs are only effective when executed systematically. Having proper guidelines to reciprocate the effectiveness of new hire employment programs is a major factor. Companies often make mistakes while developing their onboarding procedures by neglecting vital protocols. In this article, we will be highlighting some of the common onboarding mistakes companies should avoid.
Why Does Onboarding Fail?
In most companies, onboarding is mistaken for an orientation session that entails exercises like filling out forms, setting up company accounts, employee handbooks, etc. An effective onboarding program requires much more than the nitty-gritty tasks. These are only a small part of the checklist, not the heart of the entire process.
Remember the objective of having a fully-functional onboarding process: to ensure that new hires are being welcomed into the company fold properly. This means the company and its hiring managers establish strong connections to insert the new employee’s desire to exceed their performance at the job. Another major goal for having a systematic onboarding program is to give them a chance to blend well, feel accepted, and understand the work culture, environment, and most importantly, the team and company’s overall goals.
If the initiation does not include all the factors, you are not likely going to get the best outcome from your new hires. Your company should have a checklist in place to run a productive training program for new hires. If you don’t have one already, then we suggest you invest some time into incorporating adequate onboarding practices.
For your information: Companies with standardized programs have reported an increase in new hire productivity by 54 percent and retention by 50 percent. On the contrary, about 35 percent of companies across the UK and US spend no money on onboarding programs—and they are surely having to spend much more on new hires, probably too frequently due to low retention rates.
Checklist of Mistakes to Avoid
Let’s look at some of the mistakes companies often make while onboarding new hires. By avoiding them, you can lead the way in setting examples of great employee onboarding strategies.
Rushed Orientation Session
Orientation programs are like ice breakers. Most employees look forward to the opening formal meeting with their co-workers and managers for multiple reasons. Some new hires are anxious to get to know their team members, while others lookout for opportunities to impress their managers by active participation during orientation meetings.
There is more to this than just being present. It allows the new hire to learn about the company’s commitment to their employees. They immediately improve their motivation because they feel more valued. This makes a great impact on the overall outcome of the new hire’s performance.
Treating the first few days of the new hire as ordinary is probably not a very welcoming start to their career. Therefore, try to welcome them properly through lunches or team meetings. This will pump them up with the right attitude and make them feel like part of the team already.
Use the orientation program to give them a walk-through of the office. The important places like meeting rooms, lunchroom, copy room, and all of the other office necessities—all of these are expected to be covered during the orientation programs.
It is also ideal to hook them with the IT guy to help them set up their desk and devices. HR should also play its role in handing out important documents, company guidelines, ID, and other important paperwork. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get acquainted professionally.
Lack of Opportunity for Networking with Peers and Potential Mentors
This is also a good time for companies to have their employees come up with internal collaboration ideas. The new hire has come to the company with a fresh mind and perhaps great ideas, so take advantage of that. Get them to share their viewpoint. Something great might come out of it.
Another example that has become a common practice in big organizations is impact onboarding. Companies allow new hires to participate in an opening assignment within their first week. It is more like a business challenge, where they are expected to work actively with other team members to develop a solid plan, taking it forward by presenting, testing, and submitting it to the managers.
To have an improved working relationship, you can come up with plans to pair the new hire with another existing team member. It is also scope for the mentors to identify the new hire’s potential. New employees, on the other hand, gain insight on building their career trajectory by working with a mentor.
Throwing New Hires Under the Bus
Don’t put them on the spot. That’s the worst thing a company can do to demonstrate their work culture. As tempting as it is to hand off the tedious jobs to new hires, try to refrain from doing so. Even with smaller projects and responsibilities, it’s best to allow them ample time to absorb information, at least for the first few days.
It can be overwhelming for new employees to feel pressure at the beginning of their job, leading to inefficiency and confusion. It can also push them into doubting their choices, maybe even setting the path for your new employee’s early departure.
This is known to be the most common onboarding mistake. Asking the new hire to fully submerge into his tasks can lead to long-term losses. It is very likely they will begin to feel that the company is not well-managed, and team members are not cooperative. Therefore, it is suggested to give them smaller tasks during the first few weeks.
Being Unclear About the New Hire’s Job Responsibilities and Expectations
The first days are full of enthusiasm, many companies unknowingly make wrong moves and kill it right off the bat. Enthusiasm deflation primarily takes place when there is a lack of clarity. This can have an immediate impact on the new hire’s job performance—a negative one. The most important ground rule is to make sure they have a clear understanding of goals and expectations.
Now, let’s establish one thing. Every organization is different, and it is common for them to have different visions and mission statements. But the top practices in most companies include defining the new hire’s job role, goals, and expectations. You should also include KPIs and how performance is monitored on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.
This is a fantastic way to show new employees that the company has effective ways to observe and track everyone’s performance, pushing them to enhance their productivity and efficiency.
Inadequate Training Sessions
This is also known as technical learning. Companies often forget to train their new hires on their technological systems like databases, apps, and internal information systems used for email, communication, daily reporting, etc. If there are any other management systems in place, this should also be addressed.
Many companies run small workshops for newcomers on time management and client relations to help them get up to speed with the ongoing projects.
Not Checking in
This is probably the most impactful onboarding mistake that many companies make without realizing it. Bringing on a new hire and forgetting to check in with them makes them feel disconnected after a while. It is a very simple task to add to your onboarding program. Maintaining a calendar to touch base with your new hires will make them feel more valued. It can be as simple as a quick check at the end of the day or the week.
You can allocate time for a one-on-one session to give the new hire a chance to share their ideas and feedback. It can be an insightful and interactive session with great outcomes. Some companies get creative with the check-in practices by organizing weekly lunches for their teams.
It allows everyone to come together to discuss work informally. It has been seen that these sessions often help companies tweak their onboarding programs for the better. They get ideas from new hires on how to improve current strategies and develop more impactful ones.
Onboarding New Recruits in Style Ensures Overall Success
Recruits are known to be an expense at the beginning, but you can easily turn them into assets with the right moves. Hiring is an expensive process for most companies, but ensuring that you are not doing it too frequently can cut down on future losses.
Therefore, focus on building your teams and departments by executing successful onboarding programs. If you are willing to focus on growth, retention, and company work culture, you can make your new hire onboarding procedures efficient and effective. We recommend preparing a standardized brief guide to hire new employees for HRs to give out to the managers. It will surely make all the difference from day one and beyond.