7 Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid That You Should Know

Without a decent onboarding process, employees may become unproductive, quit their jobs, or make costly mistakes.

Onboarding isn’t just about orientation. It’s also about helping new hires to blend in the workplace and perform more efficiently.

Here are 7 common onboarding mistakes to avoid that any business owner should be aware of.

1. Not prepared for new hires’ arrival

It would be unprofessional if the new hires show up at your door and you haven’t prepared anything to welcome them. You don’t seem to care much about their arrival. Should they stay at a workplace like this?

Employee onboarding starts way before the day employees arrive. Don’t wait until after their arrival to stumble around to find the necessary equipment and resources. 

Make sure to:

  • provide them with the right equipment (computers, desks, etc.)
  • give them access to company platforms, databases, etc.
  • provide login info
  • create a schedule or a task list so they know what to do

2. Fail to show a bigger picture

Many companies simply let new hires shadow the work of senior staff without giving them an overview of the bigger picture—what’s actually happening in the workplace.

Competent employees don’t just imitate what others do. They actively observe, make decisions, and contribute to the business.

If you want the best people to stay and engage, you need to show them the overall business goals and purposes. In other words, let them know why they have to do certain tasks.

3. Fail to make expectations clear

Employees need to understand what you expect from their work results and performance. Without setting clear expectations from the beginning, they may get lost and demotivated. They simply don’t know if their work is good enough.

Although your company’s expectations may lie in your job description already, you need to discuss them with your new staff again. 

Do you want them to complete a certain number of tasks or reach a certain metric in their performance? What’s considered a good outcome for each task?

Make sure everything is explained in detail and new hires’ questions are answered.

4. Clueless and toxic managers

Nothing makes as bad an impression as a manager who is clueless and toxic. Below are common examples of a bad manager:

  • Offend new hires with inappropriate and diminishing criticisms. It takes time to fully understand and complete a task in a way that meets your expectations, so give them some time.
  • Pass the buck to employees. Examples include letting senior employees do all the onboarding and training for the new hires.
  • Doesn’t know what to do with a new employee. This mostly happens to new and small businesses where there’s no plan for the onboarding process yet. However, as a manager, you should really think about this and making a plan for it.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Give employees time to adjust and get familiar with their tasks. 
  • Provide proper training instead of putting the burden onto some staff’s shoulders.
  • Have a plan for the onboarding and training process.

5. Fail to provide feedback properly

New employees need feedback to pick up the right habits. If you fail to deliver feedback often, it may form bad habits which can affect work results. That’s not to mention you have to correct them multiple times in similar tasks later on.

Giving the right feedback soon helps new hires adjust their performance, change their habits early, and meet your expectation more easily.

6. Think of the onboarding process as a one-day thing

One of the most common onboarding mistakes to avoid is to think of the onboarding process as a one-day thing.

Some employers simply introduce the new hires to current employees, give them some information regarding work, and then leave new employees on their own feet.

In fact, onboarding can take up to 6 months. Employees need time to adjust to the new environment and tasks. You can’t expect them to get familiar with everything and do a perfect job right away. Without proper leadership, they also feel lost and disoriented.

7. Disappoint new hires with small details

Here’s a list of the worst small things that can let employees down and want to leave right away:

  • Not introduce new hires to the team
  • Write their name wrong/mis-spell their names on written forms or business cards
  • Mistake them with other employees
  • Give them a messy workspace that the previous employee has left

So, don’t forget to pay attention to small details. They are important in keeping the best people, too. 

Don’t send your new hires running for the door

Don’t send your new hires running for the door with a bad first impression. Be aware of onboarding mistakes to avoid and keep the best people with your business.

Be well-prepared and be clear about work information. Provide employees with necessary resources and feedback. Remember that onboarding is a continual process and small details are important, too.

Even though your company’s onboarding process isn’t perfect now, you can always refine it and make it better later on.

Read more about onboarding best practices to improve employee retention.

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