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Top Five Employee Onboarding Mistakes

Onboarding a new employee is a process every business has to go through. Yet unfortunately, many companies minimize the importance of onboarding and don’t do the best they can for their employees’ well-being. In fact, 28% of hired employees will quit their new job within three months of working there.

Although every company should customize its onboarding to its own needs and the needs of its employees, if your process includes any of the following, it shouldn’t be a surprise if your retention rates aren’t doing well.

Top five employee onboarding mistakes

5. Relying too much on job shadowing

Employees come to their first day to be trained and to learn what the company standards are. It may seem obvious that the best way to offer this is to have new hires shadow the top employees. Unfortunately, this can come with a lot of flaws, such as:

  • No clear standard practices. Many employees who have worked for a company long enough develop their own way of completing work. Although this is commendable, if new employees are training by job-shadowing several top employees, they may get confused when nobody does the same position in the same way.
  • Even the best employees may come off as disgruntled or show disinterest in the company. Although it’s difficult to change their attitude after working for the company for an extended time, if a new employee catches a whiff of that attitude, they may think they’ve joined a toxic culture and start planning their exit.
  • Everyone learns in different ways. Some learn by doing. Others learn by observing. Many also learn by breaking a problem down into abstract ideas. If you only offer to shadow for training, you’re assuming that’s going to work for everyone. And we all know what happens when we assume.
  • This puts pressure on current employees and may hinder their ability to do their job. Having a job shadow takes time and effort to be done right. If a worker is busy on projects, they may feel disgruntled at having to do the extra training or put in minimal effort.

Although it’s advised that some degree of employee shadowing be included, it’s not an effective onboarding program on its own and would be better if used minimally.

4. Avoiding looking at employees’ emotional needs

It may be easy to ignore an employee’s emotional needs and focus solely on how informed employees are of the company’s needs. Yet, remember that most companies lose almost a third of employees before their 90-day mark, meaning their employee satisfaction is nowhere near where it needs to be.

Your company doesn’t have to make every moment of formal onboarding into a therapy session, but it should focus on creating a dialogue where employees feel comfortable communicating their needs. For example, this could be a space where they can talk about what they’re nervous about with the new job, or it could be a way to increase employee engagement by helping them see what other employees felt at the beginning and how they’re succeeding now.

Nobody wins by having an almost sterile or clinical employee onboarding program. Instead, have human resources available and ensure there’s the opportunity for a dialogue on what each employee needs.

3. Offering as little training as possible

Of all of the mistakes to avoid, this is a major one. Companies that rush through their onboarding orientation checklist and avoid spending much time on training are far more likely to have a high turnover rate. Employees have to be confident in what they do to want to keep a job. If they feel that every day they’re just barely getting by, or they fear mistakes because they don’t completely understand the program they’re working in, they could be set up for failure.

Effective onboarding should create confidence in employees and open their eyes to the possibilities the company has for them. If you plan this poorly or avoid having informed employees, you could risk losing them.

2. Refusing to change or improve the process

Formal onboarding may feel like something that can be ageless, but it’s not. If you notice that parts of the internal onboarding process aren’t working for your company, and you stick to it anyway, you aren’t giving your company the chance that it deserves and you’re failing your employees.

At least once every year, human resources should review the onboarding experience and decide if the process is still benefiting the company. Everything should be discussed, from the utility of the hiring manager, to how thorough the training process is.

The best way to give your company a leg up in this process is to put in the time to gather anonymous surveys from everyone who has completed the employee onboarding program to gather their opinions on what should be changed and what works.

1. Waiting until their first day to begin onboarding

Many companies wait until employees are officially working for them before they start the onboarding process. This leads to a day of scanning and filling out boring paperwork that could have, and should have, been handled beforehand. If you avoid handling this early, you’ll make the onboarding process take longer than it has to, and your employees will remember their first day as being uninteresting.

On the other hand, you want to wow them from the start, so get the boring onboarding parts completed before new hires walk in on their first day.

Onboarding employees is the first step to their careers

Onboarding a new employee can be thrilling for both the employee and the company! There’s the promise of a new career and the hope that this will work out for both parties involved.

But, you must not underestimate the importance of onboarding in recruitment. The mistakes laid out here should serve as lessons on what employees want and need from their employers. They need to feel listened to, be genuinely trained at their speed and in their own style and they need to know that the company respects them and wants them there.

Jobvite wants to be there to help, too. Our talent software suite makes the hiring and onboarding process easy and efficient. Request your product demo today!


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