5 mistakes to Avoid When Onboarding New Employees

4 MIN READ TIME

Employee onboarding is much more than an initial introduction to an organization. The first few weeks of work are critical to overall employee engagement, work quality, and tenure, and the cost of doing it incorrectly has far-reaching implications across an organization.

With the average cost of replacing an employee hovering between sixteen and twenty percent of that employee’s salary, high-turnover and repeating the recruitment process is well worth the effort to curb those costs. To ensure employees get a great start, we’ve reviewed five of the most common onboarding mistakes to avoid and how to overcome them.

1. Ignoring the Pre-Boarding

The natural gap between the date of an employee’s contract signing and their first day at work is a valuable period, which employers often ignore at their own expense. “That period of time is an excellent opportunity to align expectations and get a new team member excited about their new position,” says Ann-Katrine Schepler, Learningbank’s Senior Learning and Implementation Consultant, noting, “An effective pre-boarding process allows for a sound orientation that gives employees enough information to feel effective and engaged even before their first day.”

A poor pre-boarding experience has given rise to the phenomenon known as ‘employee ghosting’ where an employee, who has signed a contract fails to show up for the first day and doesn’t respond to follow-up requests. While this only affects roughly 4 percent of new employees, it is a significant problem which is inconvenient and costly to organizations across the globe.

One of the best ways to administrate a pre-boarding process is through interactive learning modules which allow greater retention of information due to their interactive nature, and ability to offer instant feedback. Moving the completion of policies, paperwork and other internal processes frees up and employee’s attention for their first day on the job.

2. Keeping it Administrative

The employee onboarding process has typically focused on the internal processes and paperwork required for salary, payroll, and benefits, but fails to account for the additional information that employee is required to learn to complete their job successfully.

To be successful, the onboarding process needs to account for the specific complex requirements of not only their particular job but of the organization itself. Information, such as where washroom and kitchen facilities are located, parking locations and building access should accompany general specifics about technical working knowledge required for an employee to successfully navigate their workspace and any equipment they may be required to use.

3. Structuring it as a Short-Term Event

Too often, the employee onboarding experience is a considered a finite-event, which is successful when the employee has completed their first few weeks—or even their first day—on the job. Unfortunately, a whopping twenty percent of new hires leave for a new opportunity within the first 45 days on the job, indicating that the onboarding process has failed in it’s job to help retain new talent.

With effective and structured onboarding, companies can see a 58 percent increase in new talent remaining in the organization longer than three years; a number which has positive implications on the high cost of continuous recruiting. Further, a well-planned and structured onboarding process solidifies the organization’s commitment to a culture of learning and helps set the stage for future digital learning opportunities for employees, from compliance training to product rollouts.

4. Underestimating the Culture Impact

New employees are often filled with expectations about the journey they are about to begin. If a new employee’s first experience with your organization is filled with boring policies to read and a multitude of papers to sign, it can overshadow the culture of your organization and negatively affect an employee’s sense of belonging.

Structured onboarding gives the valuable opportunity of introducing a new hire to the unique culture of an organization through a customized learning platform that reflects the organization. “The key to effective culture assimilation,” Schepler notes, “is blending structured training with the human side of the business. While an employee is in their fist-critical months at an organization, pair them with a learning mentor who can answer their questions and help them integrate as one of the team.”

5. Failing to Measure it

Bar none, one of the biggest mistakes many organizations make, is not measuring hiring statistics. Onboarding statistics are critical to measure as they offer insight into whether the training process is working, and how well. Pre-boarding and onboarding should integrate feedback mechanisms to help gauge user interest and information retention. By comparing these statistics with overall retention, time to hire and cost to hire, an organization can gauge how well the time spent learning matches the financial input.

Great onboarding shouldn’t just be a way to orient new employees to an organization, but an ongoing process designed to achieve the highest possible outcome for everyone involved. With reduced hiring costs, employers can then strengthen a culture of learning, which will benefit the overall profitability of their organizations.

 

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