7 mistakes you’re making in onboarding

The onboarding process plays a crucial role in setting the stage for a new employee's success within a business.

With Lever reporting that “88% of new hires think their employer did a poor job of onboarding them”, whether it's in-person or remote, getting onboarding right from the start can make a significant difference in an employee's engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction. 

Unfortunately, many companies make common mistakes during the onboarding process that can hinder the new employee's integration and growth. We are going to explore seven mistakes you might be making when onboarding new starters and provide insights on how to avoid them.

Lack of structure & clarity

One of the most significant mistakes businesses make is a lack of structure and clarity in their onboarding process. 

Without a well-defined plan, new employees can feel overwhelmed and unsure of what is expected of them. 

To avoid this, create a detailed onboarding roadmap that outlines the objectives, timelines, and key activities for the employee's first weeks and months. Clearly communicate the goals, responsibilities, and expectations to set them up for success.

Neglecting pre-boarding 

Pre-boarding is the period between when the new hire accepts the job offer and their first day. 

“There is a reason why the most successful organisations – 83% of them – begin the onboarding process before a new employee even sets foot in the building on their first day of work” says Betterworks.

Neglecting this phase can leave the employee feeling disconnected and disengaged even before they start. Make sure to establish regular communication during this time, providing essential information about the organisation, team, and any pre-work they may need to complete. 

It's also a great opportunity to assign a buddy or mentor who can answer questions and help them feel welcome.

Overwhelming new hires

While it's important to provide new employees with the necessary information, bombarding them with excessive details can be counterproductive in those early days.

Avoid overwhelming new hires with a deluge of policies, procedures, and documentation on their first day. 

Instead, focus on providing them with the most critical information they need to get started and gradually introduce additional resources and training materials as they settle in.

stack of books on table

Lack of personal touch

Creating a personal connection with new employees is essential for fostering a sense of belonging and engagement. 

However, remote onboarding can make this more challenging. To overcome this, leverage technology for virtual introductions, team-building activities, and informal chats. 

Encourage managers and team members to reach out and establish personal connections, making new hires feel valued and part of the team, regardless of their physical location.

Netsuite encourages us to remember that “the goal of onboarding is to bring new hires into the company fold. That means making a connection strong enough to stoke an employee’s passion for the job and desire to innovate while feeling included, welcomed and committed to departmental and company goals.”

Insufficient training & development 

A common mistake in the onboarding process is failing to provide adequate training and development opportunities. 

New employees need guidance and support to understand their roles, learn about company processes, and develop necessary skills. Incorporate a blend of on-the-job training, mentorship programmes, and formal training sessions to help them gain the knowledge and skills required for their roles. 

This investment in their development will contribute to their long-term success and satisfaction.

Ignoring feedback 

Onboarding should be a two-way process. It's crucial to provide new employees with opportunities to share their feedback, concerns, and suggestions. 

Betterworks explains why feedback is so crucial in the onboarding process. “Neglecting to collect feedback throughout that employee onboarding is intentionally ignoring a vital source of insightful people data that is very difficult, if not impossible, to gather by any other means.”

Regularly check in with them to gauge their experience and identify areas for improvement.  Actively listen to their feedback and make necessary adjustments to the onboarding process. 

This demonstrates that the business values their input, fosters a culture of continuous improvement, and helps tailor the onboarding experience to individual needs.

black and white printed textile

Prematurely ending onboarding

A common mistake is considering onboarding complete after the first few weeks or once the new hire is up to speed with their basic responsibilities. 

Onboarding is an ongoing process that extends beyond the initial weeks. Keep providing support, guidance, and opportunities for growth even after the initial onboarding period. 

Consider implementing a long-term onboarding plan that includes regular check-ins, performance evaluations, and ongoing professional development. This will help new employees continue to grow, adapt, and integrate into the business over time.

Effective onboarding = success

Effective onboarding is a critical component of employee success and satisfaction. By avoiding these common mistakes, businesses can ensure a smooth and engaging onboarding process for new starters, whether they are joining in-person or remotely. 

Investing time and effort into a well-planned onboarding process demonstrates the company's commitment to its employees' growth and success. It sets the stage for a positive employee experience, increased productivity, and long-term engagement. 

So, are you ready to revamp your onboarding process and set your new starters up for success? 

We have created a free, 30m webinar, Onboarding into product teams, where Glen Duncan, Co-Founder of IRIS, shares his successes with onboarding practices and shows the ways product leaders can blueprint onboarding to help create a future-proof and watertight experience for all new starters.

Share this:

A profile picture for Natalie Lomas

Natalie Lomas

7th June

Career Advice