All Blog Posts

Employee Onboarding

Best Practices

11 Reasons Your Employee Onboarding Process Is Failing—and How to Fix It

By

Employee onboarding is a pivotal process in the employment lifecycle, but it’s one of the most neglected.

You spend a lot of energy scouting, vetting and interviewing new employees. You should spend just as much energy helping them succeed after they’re hired.

Does your employee onboarding program suffer from one of these common problems?

The Problem:
It’s hard for employees to learn all those names.

The Fix:
If your company is small enough, introduce every new hire to every current employee—every time. It means a lot to have a face-to-face introduction. Include a list of employee names, job titles and headshots in your orientation packet, and create a bigger version of this on a wall in a public area like the kitchen.

The Problem:
You’re not ready for a new hire.

The Fix:
Templatize your employee onboarding process as much as possible so you don’t have to scramble. Create templates for a company-wide welcome email, company history and overview presentation, and company hierarchy/workflow, along with your basic orientation info about benefits, taxes, etc.

The Problem:
Your employee onboarding is too job-function focused.

The Fix:
Company culture, history, values, mission, and vision—these are the foundation of your brand, and they’re incredibly important for a new hire. Don’t just talk about the job an employee is here to do. Take time to teach them about the environment they’re working in, and the people they’re working with. We all do better when we understand our role in the big picture.

The Problem:
You’re too focused on the big things.

The Fix:
The big stuff is important, but nothing is too small to cover in the employee onboarding process: how to sign in at the security desk, where the bathrooms are, what’s appropriate to wear on casual Fridays, the work-from-home policy, why the printer on the 15th floor is to be used only by the accounting department and no one else, your dirty dishes policy. Give employees all the info they need to seamlessly fit into your company culture.

The Problem:
Your onboarding goes one way.

The Fix:
Onboarding is not a one-way street! It’s as important for you to talk to your new hire as it is for your new hire to talk to you. Schedule time for ongoing conversations. Move beyond online-only training and make sure you include sufficient face-to-face meetings and presentations. Make feedback a built-in part of the process.

The Problem:
Your employee onboarding is outdated.

The Fix:
The last time you had a free minute to update your employee onboarding materials was ten years ago. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since then! Don’t get stuck in a rut by waiting to overhaul your materials every few years. Take 30 minutes each week to make small updates, so your new hires are always assured the most up-to-date information.

The Problem:
An employee’s first few days are a frenzy, then… nothing.

The Fix:
Are you guilty of the “Onboarding Tornado”? Don’t put employees through a frantic whirlwind of onboarding in their first few days, followed by radio silence. It’s impossible to retain all of the necessary information in a short period of time. And there’s so much more they need to learn. Spread out your orientation over months—even a full year.

The Problem:
Your employee onboarding takes place in a vacuum.

The Fix:
Your company is so much more than organizational charts, processes, and procedures. It’s about people. So build socialization moments into your employee onboarding: Welcome parties, meet and greets, cocktails/coffee with new team members, etc. That’s where the real learning and connection happens.

The Problem:
Your staff doesn’t have time to help with employee onboarding.

The Fix:
We get it—your team is too busy to help you onboard every new employee. Streamline their involvement. Instead of asking every department to give a presentation to every new hire, only ask key departments to present. And always thank your team for taking time out of their busy day.

The Problem:
You employee onboarding doesn’t reflect reality.

The Fix:
Sometimes we’re “Onboarding Idealists,” presenting to new hires how we think our company should work, not how it actually works. But when your training doesn’t match their day-to-day, new hires get frustrated, fast. Avoid this tension by being honest and upfront about how things really work.

The Problem:
Your employee onboarding is too formal.

The Fix:
Every employee has different needs when it comes to onboarding. Invite your new hires to speak up about what they need during the process. Be flexible and accommodating. They should be able to ask questions, raise concerns, or knock on your door at any time for help with anything, big or small. And have fun with it. Employee onboarding should be exciting for a new employee—not a chore!