First impressions are important in all aspects of life, even at the office. While the recruiting and interviewing process is often the actual introduction of your company for new hires, their first day is the real test. If your company has a carefully thought out plan and utilizes onboarding software, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls that can ruin the experience for new hires.
Here are the most common mistakes companies make when onboarding new employees (plus, tips for how to avoid them):
Starting on day one (instead of before)
Hiring new employees is expensive and time consuming! Don’t wait until they show up in person to start gathering materials. You need to get everything, including paperwork and equipment, ready in advance. If you start a month ahead, then you can use the last week to double check.
New hires can also start their paperwork before their first day at the office. Use onboarding software and all your employee information is easily transferred to connected HR systems.
Improvised training process
Too many companies lack a formalized onboarding and training process. Your process needs to be repeatable but still flexible to account for different roles, seniority, and potential unforeseen roadblocks.
Do you rely too much on shadowing current employees? You may be passing along bad habits and shortcuts. With a more standardized process, you can make small changes for better results.
Setting unclear expectations
Do you have a clear timeline and benchmarks for new hires? Without clear expectations, you’re setting yourself up for complications. When you change the rules for a new hire, it looks unfair to existing employees. It’s better to avoid ambiguity with clear definitions and goals.
Using onboarding time to introduce new hires to your performance management process is a great way to ensure expectations are set right from the start and everyone is one the same page.
Treating onboarding as (only) an administrative task
Obviously, there’s going to be significant administrative paperwork. But don’t let that get you into the wrong mindset. There’s so much more to do—equipment, introductions, tours, meetings, training, etc.
Supervisors and co-workers must also be invested and involved with new hires. Team building starts immediately, as well as figuring out work dynamics and allocation of duties. Likewise, an early social connection with other employees will make a big difference in retention.
Dragging out the process
How long is too long? The duration will likely depend on the job and other factors, but you don’t want onboarding to take longer than necessary. Some employees will be content to sit alone and watch training videos for days, but that is not setting the right expectations or productivity.
Your goal during onboarding is to get employees up to speed, familiar with procedures and people, and comfortable in their new surroundings. Onboarding software helps keep these goals on track and achievable quickly.
Shortchanging the process
How fast is too fast? Sure, “on the job” training works in some roles, but you don’t want to rush the process either. Complete the necessary paperwork quickly. Encourage new hires to get involved, just don’t throw them into the deep end.
Facilitate training using onboarding software and learning management tools. Start them out slow and add more duties as they grow more comfortable. Give your new workers multiple opportunities to get to know coworkers in their department. If they can make personal connections, it will be easier to get help from their peers.
Not checking in enough
After the initial welcome and training, you can’t just leave new employees to fend for themselves. Depending on your performance management schedule, you may check in with established employees once a week or once a month, but new hires will need more frequent check-ins (daily at first, then weekly).
You should have tons of things to discuss. Ask how they are fitting in. See if they have questions about employee benefits or other lingering HR questions. Get their input about ways to improve the training process. Just as important as connecting with co-workers, managers and HR must also connect with new employees and establish trust.
Separating training from continued learning
Training is important for new hires and seasoned employees alike. All employees benefit from continued training. Let new hires get a preview of their potential professional growth at your company while benefiting from new hire training in their first few weeks. The training process and software are the same, so they are set up for success early on.
While some industries require continuing education credits, every office can benefit from extra training. Use a Learning Management System to cross-train employees, and you can let experienced employees learn new skills alongside the newbies.
Not collecting data or measuring success
How do you know whether your onboarding process is working? Do you ever forget steps or papers during onboarding? The easiest way to begin standardizing your process is to make a checklist. This will go a long way in establishing a baseline for you to begin collecting data.
Once enough data is collected, you can analyze your onboarding process for success. Make changes to the process, as needed—from the order of tasks to the effectiveness of training. Aided by onboarding software, your new hire process should be consistently examined for improvements based on data collected and direct feedback.
Failing to evaluate and improve the process
Nearly every industry is suffering from a shortage of motivated workers and a high rate of turnover. Those also happen to be warning signs of bad training and onboarding software. Unfortunately, a lot of companies fail to notice when their onboarding process may be broken.
Even if it won’t fix the global economy, an overhaul of your onboarding and training can improve your retention and company culture.
A great onboarding process backed by HR software can make the most of your new hires. More than your company’s bottom line, it’s also about your employees’ job satisfaction and culture. When everyone works well together, it’s a pleasure to welcome a new member to the team.
Discover how Netchex onboarding software can help you improve your onboarding experience:
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