It doesn’t take an HR wizard to recognize the signs of a bad onboarding process. If a business has trouble integrating new employees, fostering communication between employees, while suffering from a misalignment between employee expectations and reality, chances are the onboarding process is a part of the problem.
Add a high employee turnover rate – especially relatively quickly after hiring – and you’ve got yourself a textbook case of onboarding gone bad. Because it’s sometimes too difficult to notice that you’re doing something wrong while you’re doing it, here are some common onboarding mistakes you should try to avoid.
Doing Too Much in Too Little Time
Onboarding is a process. In some jobs, the simple ones where few people are working together, onboarding can effectively be handled in a day or so. But most of the jobs today aren’t that simple and require a higher degree of sophistication, knowledge, and familiarity with the process.
A short onboarding process might not give the instructor enough time to explain everything the new hire needs to know. Even worse – it might force the instructor to dump impossible quantities of information right in the new hire’s lap, leaving them with little time for questions, and even less time to process it all. The best thing you can do for new employees is to take your time when onboarding them.
Using Ineffective Techniques Too Much
Have you ever tried to handle a complete onboarding process by having someone just shadow you? And how did it turn out? Some people don’t learn that well by just watching. It isn’t the best way to engage the new hire, either. Try to give them a more active role. At the very least, explain the workplace and its dynamics while they’re following.
Using the Same Process for Every Hire
You must vary your onboarding game depending on the type of hire you have in front of you. Someone new to the line of work will need plenty of explanations and demonstrations. Someone with more experience might do better if you let them do something.
You could take a page from the different teaching styles employed at colleges. People respond to different things, that’s true. But there’s also kind of a way to segment hires into groups that will respond better to different onboarding approaches. Previous experience could be a useful criterion.
Not Communicating Important Stuff
What are the important things a new hire needs to know? What’s their job, of course, and how you want them to do it. However, you’d be surprised how much information is left out during the onboarding process, and how much damage that might cause in the long run. Make sure to start providing feedback to the hire early, and always be clear with what’s expected from them. You want their goals to align with those of the business. That can’t happen if either side has unclear expectations.
Not Onboarding Internal Hires
Finally, let’s just take a minute to acknowledge that people who are transferred from other departments are still new hires and they might need help. Sure, they already know a thing or two about the company. But if the new department and the role it plays in the business is a mystery to them – that’s a mystery on top of what their new job is – make sure to give them the full treatment you would to any other hire. Don’t create unhappy employees just because you presumed they already know what you have to say to them.