Employee onboarding is important for the growth and success of every company. When done well, it can decrease employee turnover, improve company culture, and increase job satisfaction.
But organizations today are met with many challenges when it comes to onboarding new employees. And research from Gallup shows that only 12% of employees believe their company has a good onboarding process.
So how do you ensure you give your new hires the best onboarding experience? The answer is to learn the unique challenges in your onboarding programs to know how to manage them.
This article will run through current major onboarding challenges and share tips on how your team can handle them.
What is employee onboarding?
Simply put, onboarding includes the steps that integrate your new hires into a role. This process starts after assigning an offer letter to your new hire, with a period called preboarding.
This process mainly includes the participation of the HR and the people operations team.
An onboarding process timeline varies with different organizations but it should last until the new team member adjusts to their role and the company culture.
This process should strengthen, encourage and uplift new employees so they can become reliable members of the company.
A first impression is the best impression. Good onboarding is the best first impression your new hire gets about your organization. It sets the tone for their work in your company and it’s what helps them decide if they’ll stay for long or if they’ll quit.
Here are some onboarding challenges you might experience and the steps you can take to prevent them:
1. A lot of manual tasks
A manual process reduces productivity for you and your new employees. With manual onboarding, communication happens through the phone and email. And this process can become time-consuming and clanky.
In a remote working environment, a manual onboarding process is either impossible or difficult. Moreover, with a manual process, you’ll have:
Difficulty trying to build a personalized onboarding program
Too many to-dos because of paperwork
To constantly send reminder emails and forms
Here’s what you can do:
Automate the entire onboarding process with an HR onboarding software like BizMerlinHR onboarding solution that can help you to:
- Send automated and customized emails
- Assign training to new hires
- Approve document uploads
- Run background checks
- And more
Automating your onboarding program will help you focus on other onboarding activities that can help your new hire feel welcome.
2. No investment in employee onboarding
Many companies neglect employee onboarding until it’s time to hire. This leads to poor speed and efficiency. In fact, different studies show that most companies don’t have an employee onboarding plan.
Without an investment in onboarding, you’ll have no centralized knowledge base on how to integrate new hires into your company culture.
This will not only lose you employees but also the money you’ll use to hire new employees because of high employee turnover.
Here’s what to do:
Educate your entire company bosses on the importance of good onboarding. And don’t only tell them, show them the statistics on the importance of good employee onboarding.
This will make them invest resources for onboarding once they see the high cost of hiring a new employee each time.
3. Neglecting employee feedback
Congratulations, you’ve onboarded a new employee through your onboarding program which you think is the best.
But have you gotten feedback from them to know how they felt during the entire process? What worked and what failed? You might be surprised to see that some steps you felt improved engagement actually made them tired.
Asking for feedback will not only help the employees feel welcomed but it will also help you measure onboarding outcomes such as:
- New hire satisfaction
- Employee engagement
- Training completion rates
- Voluntary/involuntary employee turnover
Here’s what to do:
Create a system for getting new hire feedback after you’re done with the onboarding process. You can follow steps such as:
- Doing one-on-one sessions
- Doing quantitative surveys
- Investing in HR onboarding software that lets you get real-time employee feedback data
- Just ask the new hires to honestly tell you how the experience has been
We spoke to Ian Wright, the managing director at Business Financing to know how getting new hire employee feedback has helped his company. “Investing in people at the beginning of onboarding has incredibly been successful – new employee turnover is almost at 0% because we solicit regular feedback from our new starters.”
4. Lack of employee engagement
Most onboarding programs don’t encourage employee engagement. It’s just doing the manual or digital process and that’s it. This makes your employees not feel welcome.
It also gives a bad perception about your company culture. To solve these problems, do this:
- Encourage authentic expressions with no bias
- Set clear goals and expectations
- Create gamification activities
- Connect them with an onboarding buddy
This will not only help improve the overall employee engagement in your company, but it will also help your company make more money.
5. Too many company tools
Research from Nielsen Norman Group shows that employees use too many tools while working which leads to unproductivity.
When your team members use many tools, it becomes difficult to train new employees to master them all. It’s also a waste of effort, time, and money.
To overcome this problem is simple: let your new employees be trained on the tools they’ll need to immediately use after starting their jobs.
Then the other tools can be explained in recorded videos that the employees can watch when they’re free or when they need to use them.
This will also make them self-sufficient by reducing their dependency on colleagues, managers, and HR.
6. Information overload
Different studies show that new employees complain about being given too much information on their first day. Often this is usually an intentional mistake. But what should you do to ensure they get to know all the information at a pace they can understand?
Here’s what to do:
- Send out important documents like the employee handbook before the first day.
- Split your onboarding program into different steps. For example have steps for employees to know about the product, another one for their role and another one to know their bosses.
- Try creating gamification programs that can be used for onboarding.
- Have an onboarding checklist and ensure it’s specific to the new employee’s role.
This will ensure that your new team members only receive the important information they need for a smooth transition.
7. Unrealistic work expectations
Sometimes during the employee onboarding process, there is usually no role clarity. For example, what is written in the job description ends up being different from what the employees are supposed to do.
This creates confusion while you’re onboarding the employees. Moreover, it makes the employees doubt whether they can achieve the expectations you’ve outlined because they weren’t prepared for them.
And most times, new employees end up taking on projects they can’t handle so they can prove themselves.
Here’s what to do:
Let the managers develop a 30-60-90 day plan with the new employees. This will make it easy for them to achieve their goals and business goals within a manageable timeframe.
Also, give the new employees a chance to ask questions and make changes to the program during the onboarding session.
Have the managers perform regular check-ins to ensure the new employees are progressing well, identify problems, and come up with solutions. Moreover, regular team meetings will also strengthen bonding with new employees.
8. Lack of human touch
Most employee onboarding programs these days lack a welcoming and personalized experience. This is especially true with remote onboarding.
To create a human touch during the onboarding process, do this:
- Let the new hires interact with their leaders in physical onboarding
- Customize the experience eg ask them about themselves
- In remote onboarding, give them an onboarding buddy
- Learn about their different culture and language especially if its in remote onboarding
We talked to Maciek Kubiak, the head of people at PhotoAiD and this is what he recommends: “ New hires know themselves best, to create a good human touch, plan the onboarding together with them. The more personalized the onboarding process is, the quicker a new hire will turn into a productive and efficient employee.”
Overcome all onboarding challenges with automation
The challenges above are tough but manageable and the leading solution for them is Automation.
William Vanderbloemen the author of Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace recommends automation in his book as a way of making onboarding easy by saying “ Automating the onboarding process ensures new people are getting consistent information from more than one source in your company—the HR person—and it also allows them to interact with people around the company early, so they feel welcome.”
BizMerlinHR onboarding software cuts your onboarding time in half by automating the whole process. Create automated workflows, notifications, reminders, and more.
Forget working through a stack of forms and book a demo with us today.