Posted May 1, 2022 by Mark Perna
88% of employees weren’t thrilled with their onboarding experience. Are one of these common onboarding mistakes hurting your team retention and performance? Mark’s article, “7 Onboarding Pitfalls That Are All Too Easy To Fall Into,” published at Forbes.com on April 26, 2022.
You landed the job of your dreams, with a company you’re excited to work for. Everything seems great—until your first day. Yes, it’s onboarding time.
If a poor onboarding experience has you second-guessing your decision to accept the role, you’re not alone. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees feel their organization does a good job onboarding new hires—leaving 88% with a negative view of the process. And yet it’s such a critical thing to get right: a strong onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
I recently connected with Lindsay Chim, SVP of the Talent Management Practice of Right Management, about the strategic advantage of an effective onboarding process. This is part one in a two-part series on why onboarding can make or break an employee’s commitment to the organization—and how to make onboarding a positive experience for everyone.
Unfortunately, many employers may feel like they are ‘done’ as soon as a job is accepted or an employee has access to the right tools and systems. “It’s almost like a set it and forget it approach,” says Chim.
Instead, companies should realize that getting someone in the door is not the finish line. And that’s where a fast start comes in. “The first days and weeks in a new job is when an employee is most open to learning, but also most concerned about whether or not they made the right decision on the role and company to begin with,” says Chim. “A fast start can make the new hire feel like they are set up for success.”
A faster onboarding is a win-win for both sides, reaffirming the employee’s decision as well as benefiting the company in higher, quicker productivity. “Of course, the idea is not to rush the process,” says Chim, “but rather invest in the experience to achieve the best outcome for the employee and the employer.”
Despite the demonstrated importance of onboarding, many managers and companies are failing to do it right. The following seven pitfalls are especially common.
If a manager sees any of these onboarding pitfalls taking place within the organization—or has committed these errors themselves—it’s time to go into action.
First off, remember that these mistakes are extremely common. “As new relationships are being developed, there will invariably be misalignment or misunderstandings,” says Chim. “After all, we all take our histories into our futures by leveraging heuristics we developed from prior lives into new ones.”
Second, don’t delay rectifying the mistake. When there’s a breakdown in the onboarding process, it should be addressed in real time. “Whether the conflict is between the new hire and their manager or a peer, we recommend that the individual who is incumbent to the organization take the lead in initiating a follow-up discussion to talk about what happened, why and how to address things differently in the future,” she says.
Handled correctly, an onboarding issue can actually become a retention opportunity that deepens the connection between the company and employee. “Showing a new team member that the organization is able to professionally and directly diffuse and help to address the situation will reinforce to the new hire that this is a place that they want to be,” says Chim, “where they won’t be left questioning both the why and the how of issue resolution.”
Be sure to catch part two of this onboarding conversation.