5 Ways to Completely Bomb Your Onboarding Process

You can’t do anything right if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, especially not when it comes to onboarding!


Leen Sawalha

VP Product & Growth

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


It goes without saying that the onboarding process is crucial for effective HR management – this isn’t really breaking news. We all (hopefully) know the basics of how these things go; prepare their workstation, have all their documents ready for signing, etc.

But if we all know the basics, why do we keep looking for information on how to make onboarding more effective?

Easy; because the basics are simply not enough!

But before you start figuring out how to make things right, you should probably start by avoiding doing things wrong. So without further ado, here are 5 ways to completely bomb your onboarding process (that you should definitely aim to avoid!)


How to Engineer the Perfect Employee Retention Plan

We constantly express our love to those most important to us; our friends, family, significant others… But there’s a group of individuals that we often forget to show our love and appreciation for; our employees! Your employees are your resources, your workers, your intellectual thinkers, and your greatest asset.


1- Ignoring informal onboarding

Believe it or not, onboarding doesn’t just include the formal procedures that you’ve spent weeks planning for in advance. Beyond the official introduction to policies, procedures, and action plans, an effective onboarding process takes into account informal onboarding.

What is informal onboarding, you ask?

Informal onboarding is everything your new employee learns that is not included in your formal organizational plan – things that are there but not explicitly identified.

What’s an example of this?

Yep, you guessed it: Organizational Culture!

If you’ve ever tried to explain your company’s culture to a friend, you know exactly what I mean. You can’t write down a “definition” of your organizational culture, but you can describe instances or situations that represent it, one way or another. Culture would be even easier to grasp once you start experiencing it yourself.

This initial “experience” with culture has a lot to do with whether or not your new employee thrives within your company, or falls flat on their face.

In conclusion, don’t ignore informal onboarding! It’s just as important as any other part of the process.


2- Thinking effective onboarding starts on Day 1


If you really want to reap all the amazing benefits from effective onboarding, then you need to realize that the process starts well before the new employee’s first day.

Just try to think back and remember your first day. Were you a little nervous starting in a new company? Worried about forming relationships with your new colleagues? Trying to make a good impression on your boss? What about trying to learn the million new things that came your way?

Admit it – it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park!

If you want your new hire to be effective, efficient, and performing as fast as possible, then you need to make sure their integration is as smooth and comfortable as possible.

Putting in a little effort here will go a long way. Prepare for their arrival in advance. I can assure you, you won’t regret it!


6 Reasons why you Shouldn’t Ignore Employee Assessments

Employee assessments are all the rage; whether it’s assessing employee engagement via a survey or assessing performance at the annual review, it sure seems like we can’t get enough of evaluating our employees. But have you ever thought of assessing personality and potential with psychometric tests?


3- Not considering their personality on your onboarding process

Doesn’t it make sense that your new employee will be effective, efficient, and productive sooner if you provided them with an environment that capitalized on their strengths?

The most basic concept of effective onboarding is preparing for the arrival of the employee by making sure they have all the equipment they need to actually do the job.

So if we all know that giving them what they need in terms of equipment facilitates their integration into the company, doesn’t it make sense to also provide them with the right environment for them to flourish?

Would they learn best with written out guides, or with concrete hands-on trial-and-error? Would they like to have a fully organized schedule for the upcoming weeks, or would they appreciate more spontaneity? Would they prefer having a big outing where they are the center of attention when meeting their new coworkers, or would they rather meet everyone in smaller, more intimate gatherings?

Not considering your new hire’s personality is a huge missed opportunity when trying to integrate an employee into your organization as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Be sure not to let such an opportunity pass you by!


4- Not providing a resource/support center

It is absolutely critical that your new employee knows where to go and who to go to for help during their integration into the company. You have to consider that, to them, it’s like walking into a whole new world – new place, new people, new culture, new boss, new office, new computer, new everything!

Remember that we don’t all share the same experiences in a particular situation. What one person might perceive to be an exciting new adventure can be quite overwhelming to someone else.

But whether or not your new employee is resistant to the pressures of starting a new job, you need to make sure they know where to go for information, and who they can consult for support during an understandably stressful time.


Should you be promoting learning culture in your company?

You’ve probably heard of the expression “The day we stop learning is the day we die”. Although a little extreme, it is meant to shed light on the fact that life is an ongoing process of learning, discovery and self-growth. We encounter new situations, meet new people, uncover new tools and solutions to our everyday lives.


5- Disregarding the importance of the boss/employee relationship

Yes, I know. We’re all sick of seeing the same statistic everywhere. You know which one I’m talking about; the one that demonstrates that a very large percentage of people quit their bosses, not their jobs.

But guess what? You can be sick of it all you want – it will still be true.

You really don’t want to be spending weeks hiring, selecting, onboarding and training only to have your new employee leave the organization before they were even fully integrated.

It would be even worse if you knew that the disaster could have been avoided if you were just a little more proactive.

Evaluate the relationship between the new employee and their manager and measure their compatibility.

I’m not suggesting you hold off hiring an employee until you find one that perfectly fits with their manager… But knowing which areas require more attention and using the onboarding process to overcome these issues will not only facilitate the employee’s integration, but also result in a better, more harmonious working environment.

 The onboarding process is fundamental to ensuring your recruitment and selection efforts do not go to waste. Actually, I don’t think I can say it any better than a quote that I found in SRHM’s Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success guideline:

Used in conjunction with HRM best practices, effective onboarding will result in a faster learning curve for new hires, improved communication and a more productive and engaged workforce

– Dr. Talya Bauer

So, give your onboarding process some love, avoid these 5 pitfalls, and be well on your way to organizational success!

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