In a fast-paced work environment, onboarding new hires effectively can be a challenge. But an employee’s first month on the job can often determine the duration of their career with your company—and how well the perform while they are part of your workforce. Bringing in new hires and expecting them to “wing it” tends to drag down the performance of the entire team. Finally, not having a solid onboarding process in place creates much more administrative work, confusion, and compliance problems down the road. Take a look at these problems with onboarding new employees in 2018.
So, What Is the Purpose of Onboarding?
What are you hoping to achieve? Is it just about getting the paperwork done? Is it providing orientation on the basic information about the workplace and the assigned duties? Or is it more?
Onboarding at its best accomplishes many goals:
● It decreases the time for new hires to reach their minimum expected productivity level.
● It helps the organization reach its goals in a measurable way (sales revenue, repeat business, customer satisfaction metrics, speed and accuracy of product/service delivery, etc.).
● It integrates a new hire successfully into the larger team so everyone can work well together.
● It sets the right expectations and understanding about performance and speeds assimilation into the corporate culture.
● It reduces risks to the business by increasing compliance with requirements for federal and state recordkeeping for DHS, DOL, IRS, and other agencies.
With these goals in mind, here are seven common problems with onboarding new employees in 2018 and how to avoid them.
#1 Overloading on Their First Day Is One of the Problems with Onboarding New Employees in 2018
Everyone is nervous on their first day at work. They are under pressure to learn new information, they may be feeling a sense of relief and giddiness at having found a new or better job, and they don’t want to mess up and look bad. They also need to start forming relationships with coworkers—knowing that making a favorable first impression is essential. Keeping the social and emotional experience of a new hire in mind, it may be smart to space the onboarding process out over time instead of trying to launch them into the unknown on day one and just hope they make a safe landing. A checklist that covers the integration process over the first week can help prevent overload. Just make sure the new hire forms are filled out either prior to or during the employee’s first day on the job—because the government is serious about those deadlines!
#2 Assuming New Hire Education Will Stick
Even if you spread out the orientation and training so it occurs over several days or weeks, you need to be aware that most people only retain a fraction of the information they learn. Whether you are using classroom training or a “buddy” system where the new hire shadows a more experienced worker, you need to follow up to see what information was retained. According to Panoptico, “Studies show that just 30 minutes after they finish a training session, your people will remember only 58% of the material you’ve covered — and just 7 days later they’ll have forgotten fully 65% of what you had shared.” Having online training such as video or other interactive solutions in place may help, especially if it is gamified to re-engage new hires over their first weeks and months on the job to ensure vital information isn’t being forgotten.
#3 Not Making New Hire Onboarding a Priority for Leaders
Nothing makes a new hire feel more like an expendable cog in the machine than starting on the job and being welcomed to the team and oriented by someone who just started six months ago. It sends a signal that those higher up the chain can’t be bothered to learn the names and faces of their employees. Managers and supervisors must care enough to provide personal attention to new hires. This is the time to set positive expectations and give the employee a feel for the leadership’s personality and management style. Avoid having new hires start on a day when the management team is unavailable for a meet and greet. Because if it doesn’t happen on day one, it’s likely to never happen at all.
#4 Not Having a Trackable System in Place
Without a process in place, it’s very easy for things to slip through the cracks. Plus, it’s not possible to improve on what you can’t measure. On the compliance side, steps like routine I-9 audits help ensure that onboarding is being done correctly (and integrating with E-Verify makes this even easier). On the orientation and cultural onboarding side, having a routinely scheduled “check in” to evaluate the new hire’s performance and assimilation is a smart idea.
#5 Talking but Not Listening
Speaking of checking in, this isn’t just about monitoring the new hire from a top-down perspective. It needs to be a two-way conversation from day one. ERE.net puts it very well “The best programs directly ask new hires about their concerns, who they wish to meet, what they wish to learn, and how to best motivate and manage them. They also ask new hires for referrals and they gather feedback from them on how to improve both the recruiting and the onboarding processes.”
#6 Failing to Pay Attention to the Details Is One of the Problems with Onboarding New Employees in 2018
An employee’s first day is going to be much more stressful if things haven’t been set up in advance. Their uniform, name tag, intranet log-in, time-clock swipe card or pin, and all the other tools they will need to start work should be in place and ready for use. Again, checklists are essential for making sure nothing is missed. If an employee requires a reasonable accommodation for a disability, it’s especially important to plan in advance for this accommodation so they are supported in being fully productive.
#7 Using Paper Processes Instead of Online/Automated Onboarding
Online onboarding allows new hires to complete paperwork without getting paper cuts. Actually, the benefits go way beyond saving money on Band-Aids! HR’s administrative burden is greatly reduced with automated onboarding from Efficient Forms because proper completion is enforced by the rules of the software. Employees feel more empowered to compete their forms because they are walked through a simple step-by-step process that clears up common areas of confusion. The precise set of forms presented and the workflow can be customized for different roles, locations, manager signatures, etc. And the whole thing is done in a fraction of the time with duplicate information being auto-populated across the forms. Paperwork can’t get lost, smudged, or delayed in transit to Payroll and other departments when it’s all digital.
Want to see how it works and avoid the problems with onboarding new employees in 2018? Request a demo today.