Employee onboarding

A new employee onboarding process: 10 onboarding mishaps

Anita Wojtaś-Jakubowska
A new employee onboarding process: 10 onboarding mishaps

Onboarding is a complex and long-term process that involves many people and departments in the company. It comes with its fair share of challenges, from which not every company emerges successfully, scoring onboarding slip-ups along the way. Today we'll take a look at what the most common problems along the onboarding path are, what they are caused by, and how to prevent them.

1. The team doesn't know that a new employee is joining them

It's today! First day at a new job and an opportunity to meet the team. We connect for an online meeting or come to the office, and instead of a nice and warm welcome... surprise. My teammates didn't know that a new team member was joining them.

Instead of minimizing the stress and uncertainty of the new hire, we put both sides in a difficult situation. A new employees feel like intruders whom no one was waiting for, and there are speculations within the team as to why its structure is expanding. Does this mean firing someone from the existing team? Who is this new recruit and why does he/she join our ranks? These are definitely not favorable conditions for effective employee onboarding.

What causes this situation?

The two main reasons are the manager's excess responsibilities and lack of fluent communication with HR. Due to excessive responsibilities, superiors often suffer from chronic lack of time. Notifying the team that new recruits have joined can unfortunately get confusing in important tasks list that is bursting at the seams. Moreover, without a clear onboarding strategy and a clear division of roles, it may lead to misunderstandings. The manager thinks that since HR staff contacts the new employee as part of pre boarding , he/she will also notify the team about upcoming changes, or at least remind the employer that it is time to take such a step. In turn, the team responsible for hiring process, considering it obvious that the hiring manager will communicate with the team on this matter, may delete this point from their employee onboarding checklists.

How to prevent this?

First of all, preboarding activities need to be structured and coordinated. Let's assign specific tasks to individual people (HR, manager) and clearly define when they should take place. Communicating changes in the team, even if they are positive, cannot be done at the last minute... Let's give the team and hiring managers time to face possible questions from new employees, and let's prepare one person to play the role of the new employee onboarding buddy.

2. Lack of equipment on time

The new person formally starts work. There is enthusiasm, there is curiosity and the willingness to act. Meanwhile, in the office there is an empty desk waiting for the new employee, and the first task during the so-called day one is a trip to the IT department for equipment. The matter becomes even more complicated when the first day of work is to take place remotely, and the shipment with the company computer and telephone has not yet arrived...

What causes this situation?

The lack of a clear procedure for ordering equipment can greatly complicate and delay this process. Due to the multitude of duties, a hiring manager must additionally set aside time for the often tedious reporting of the need for equipment and appropriate access. Sometimes he may miss it, then IT gets the order at the last minute. Similarly with HR professionals. Let's add to this various channels of communication with the IT team- e-mail, company messenger, and sometimes even an oral request. In such a situation, it is difficult to control the entire process and check whether the employee received the equipment on time.

How to prevent this?

One slogan: What about automation! All you need to do is implement one tool that everyone will have access to - the manager, the HR department, the new employee and the IT department. Ordering equipment via the onboarding application at the preboarding stage will save a lot of stress for both sides.

3. Absentee manager

According to a study we conducted on a group of Polish employees, 53% of new hires are not implemented by their managers. Meanwhile, the lack of introduction to the scope of duties by the superior means, de facto, the lack of introduction to the new position. So how can a new hire understand his or her role in the new company and fulfill his or her duties in line with the manager's expectations?

What causes this situation?

Once again: managers suffer from chronic lack of time. Their task list is already bursting at the seams, and adding more tasks to it only increases the overload. As a result, it sometimes happens that superiors face a lack of resources to complete all issues related to the onboarding process of a new employee.

How to prevent this?

The cure for the manager's onboarding worries will be to take some of the operational issues of onboarding process off his/her shoulders. Not everything has to go through his hands, such as ordering equipment. With an employee onboarding application, the new hire himself/herself can choose a computer, laptop or work clothes, and the order will be automatically sent to the IT department. The supervisor can monitor the progress of the order and other onboarding tasks. In the same tool, you can also prepare an onboarding checklist that will regularly remind the manager of the various steps (welcome email, one on one meetings, etc.). Our Gamfi application is based on such mechanisms.

4. The great silence between the end of recruitment and the beginning of work

New team members accepted the offer. The hiring process ended with loud congratulations and fanfare, and then... silence. The HR department is silent, the new hire does not know whether he or she has to complete any necessary paperwork beforehand, what his or her first day of work will look like and generally what to expect when taking over new tasks? The closer to the first day, the greater the tension and uncertainty. The initial enthusiasm and curiosity fades, stress increases and doubts multiply. Unfortunately, sometimes they result in a new hires decision to resign from a new job, especially if the previous employer tempts you with another counter-offer.

What causes this situation?

Basically, the reason for this onboarding failure can be summarized in words: lack of pre boarding.

How to prevent this?

First of all, use the potential of the time between the end of the hiring process and the first day of work. This is a perfect moment to build loyalty and employee engagement in the life of the company, familiarizing the new hire with company culture and values. It is also worth presenting the onboarding plan to the new employees, or at least the agenda on the first day, so that they know exactly what meetings are planned and who will take care of them during the first day.

5. Too much of everything at once

Introduction to the company's culture, structure and values. In addition, formalities for the HR department, health and safety training employees, getting to know the team and the work environment topography, and finally getting used to tools and new responsibilities. This is what the first days at work sometimes look like, and sometimes the day itself is too packed with knowledge. The information overload increases stress, which makes our cognitive abilities much smaller and makes it more difficult to retain knowledge at a satisfactory level.

Onboarding new employees: 10 onboarding slip-ups. Point 5 - a flurry of tasks and information [GIF] | Gamfi Blog.

What causes this situation?

The problem of information overload results mainly from too short onboarding process and the lack of structure in this process. As our study showed, 56% of new hires had a week for onboarding, of which 36% of them got to know the company from 2 to 6 days, and 21% had only one day for it. In such a short period, it is impossible to prepare a new hire for full independence in performing new duties, and this is the goal of onboarding process.

How to prevent this?

First of all, you need to map the onboarding process and then plan it within a specific time frame. Employee onboarding is a long-term process, divided into stages. It cannot be summarized into one day, even a week will be insufficient.

6. No set goal

Our study also showed that 21% of new employees complain about the lack of clearly defined goals and tasks to be achieved during the trial period. In short: they do not know what the employer expects from them and how (or at all) they will be held accountable for their work in the initial period of employment.

What causes this situation?

Misperception of the probation period is one of the culprits of this situation. Many organizations treat the first three months of employment as a testing time for the new employees. The period in which he/ she must prove himself/herself and prove that the employment was the right decision. All this lacks thinking about the new employees perspective and a reliable approach to onboarding process, which should prepare new employees to achieve maximum productivity and independently achieve goals.

How to prevent this?

However, this cannot be done without support and a clear onboarding plan, which the new hire can also see. Part of this plan should also include clearly defined goals and tasks to be achieved in the first weeks/months of work. Yes, onboarding process is also a space for measuring employee effectiveness, but in a skillful way, adapted to the onboarding stage.

7. Chaos in the onboarding team

Occupational health and safety training online, a personal visit to the IT department to collect the equipment, and in the meantime, completing paper versions of documents for HR. Additionally, we don't know who will greet us on our first day in the office and what our first day will look like. This is a recipe for onboarding chaos and a new hire getting lost in the thicket of procedures.

What causes this situation?

The onboarding process is a long-term process that involves many people and departments. Cross-processing means that the responsibility for new hire's onboarding process is dispersed. And there is nothing wrong with it, as long as the new hire does not see the "onboarding backstage". Unfortunately, this happens when onboarding roles are not properly assigned or when there is no action plan consistent for all people, preferably embedded in one tool.

How to prevent this?

First of all, you need to map the entire onboarding process and check what the needs of each person/department involved in onboarding process are. The next step is to address these needs and implement tools that will make the onboarding process more consistent. The goal is to provide the new hire with a consistent onboarding experience, without the distraction of several different modes of communication. Everything should work like a well-oiled machine.

8. Lack of ongoing (and two-way!) feedback:

The level of attention we devote to a new hire decreases very quickly. Usually, the first 2-3 days are an accumulation of meetings, conversations and training, then there is silence...

What causes this situation?

Behind this state of affairs there is a false belief that onboarding process is about implementation into the company policies and preparation of equipment. What should you ask a new employee then? What feedback loop should you give him/her if new hires have not taken over their duties yet and have spent the last few days on occupational health and safety training and introduction to the corporate culture?

Additionally, some employers wait to provide feedback until the end of the trial period. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common onboarding mistakes. New hires do not know how the onboarding process is going and how to solve the problems they encounter.

How to prevent this?

The new hire's needs and emotions change over time during the onboarding process and you cannot remain indifferent to them. Failure to regularly examine the level of employee satisfaction is a huge risk that may even result in the loss of valuable talent. Thanks to regular pulse-check tests , we can spot the problems new hires are struggling with in time and provide appropriate support. The lack of constant feedback loop means, de facto, no control over the onboarding process.

9. Problem with knowledge exchange

According to a report by Panopto, new hires spend almost 13 hours a week asking others for help. Moreover, 81% of employees (not only new hires) admitted that they get frustrated when they cannot access the information they need to perform their duties.

The circulation of knowledge in an organization is important from the point of view of employee productivity. Unfortunately, already at the onboarding stage, new people may waste time and energy searching for information necessary for work.

What causes this situation?

Not every company updates the handbook regularly, and onboarding training materials are not always made available to employees. As a result, they do not have access to the knowledge they need in further stages of the onboarding process. Moreover, co workers may have different information than was provided during training. The lack of written and standardized procedures related to the transfer of knowledge means that employees complete onboarding process with a different level of information.

How to prevent this?

Efficient and fluent knowledge sharing will be facilitated by an online knowledge base to which hires will have access at any time, also after the onboarding experience. This will make it easier for them to consolidate and refresh their knowledge.

Avoid onboarding mishaps by automating the onboarding process.

Test the Gamfi application for free!

10. No buddy

Onboarding should address the new hires needs on many levels. Support will be useful not only in formal matters, but also in less official matters, more related to the emotional needs of the new hires.

80% of specialists feel stressed before starting work. The lack of a friendly soul during the onboarding experience may intensify this stress and make it difficult to establish relationships in the new work environment. Meanwhile, according to the 4c model , Connections is one of the foundations of the onboarding process. This is where a buddy has an important role to play. Buddy is an informal mate who will take the new hire under his wing and will be invaluable support during any crises.

What causes this situation?

Primarily from downplaying the issue of employee satisfaction. Meanwhile, even one meeting with a buddy can bring a sense of peace and confidence to a new hire. Another reason is a misunderstanding of the role of a buddy and, as a result, a lack of people willing to take it on. If, in the eyes of employees, being a buddy involves additional responsibilities and a lack of support from the manager and the rest of the team, it is no wonder that they do not want to take on this role.

How to prevent this?

First of all, by motivating and engaging the team to actively support new hires during the onboarding. Buddy should know and feel that he/she is one of the key pillars of the implementation, just like a manager or HR team.

Everyone who takes on this role should know the onboarding plan and their tasks related to it. Moreover, his/her work, commitment and support shown to the new hire should be rewarded.

Is it possible to prevent all the common mistakes described above with one solution? Yes, it's possible! All issues described in this article are addressed by our application for automating the onboarding process.

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