What Not to Do When it Comes to Onboarding


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Onboarding can be a difficult process and many HR professionals will have read endless versions of best practice guides, but have you thought about what not to do?

Article 3 Minutes
What Not to Do When it Comes to Onboarding

Onboarding isn't always straightforward. It relies on companies being able to find the right balance between ensuring support and information is on hand for new hires, and not overwhelming them or interfering as they're trying to find their feet.

Best practices can tell you what to do during the onboarding process , but do you know what to avoid? What really irks employees? And what can quickly cause them to disengage with their job before it's even really started? Here's what not to do when onboarding.

Never make assumptions when bringing in new recruits

Assuming that employees already know something or have already been told it by someone else can create a lot of problems. It may seem like a small matter but it can have a massive impact on how new hires feel during their first few days and weeks. Repeating information is a much smaller hindrance than missing out something that could jeopardize a new recruit settling in. 

For example, not telling people that have just joined a company where the toilets are, when employees take their lunch break, and where to find items to make a hot drink can all cause unnecessary teething problems. These general details can be put in a welcome document  that can be sent over to new hires before their start date, allowing them to get to grips with company etiquette even before they assume their role.

Try not to overwhelm people while onboarding

There are necessary documents that need to be signed whenever someone joins the company but combine this with induction training, meeting their team, health and safety, and everything else a new recruit needs to hear, and you have an overwhelming first few days. This means that very little information will actually sink in and you may find that you're having to remind them of certain details further down the line.

Instead, make sure there is a balance of practical training and socialization to break up the vast number of documents that need to be completed. This can also be arranged ahead of their start date. Work with their Line Manager to devise a schedule for their first week and send it to them as part of their welcome pack.

Don’t just speak at employees

The most frustrating thing for employees about the onboarding process is that it's a lot of being talked at and not a lot of communication. This not only makes it boring but also makes it less likely that any information will be retained. Instead of plotting a schedule that is jam-packed with training, health and safety guidelines, and company policies, ensure that there is plenty of time for new hires to meet their team and experience your company's culture first hand.

Give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions, respond to what they've seen or experienced, and offer ideas. By doing this, you'll engage them in the company's objectives right from day one, and ensure they feel valued as a person within the organization.

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