If you want to set the right starting point for new hires, then ensure to conduct a seamless onboarding process. After going through rounds of recruitment activities and sealing the deal, the next stage is to send new hires away for work through an efficient onboarding process. Onboarding goes beyond helping new employees adjust to their job roles and company’s culture; it goes far to influencing their retention rate and engagement in the workplace.
Onboarding process holds an important role in determining the overall hiring success. According to SHRM research, half of senior recruits fail within 18 months after starting a new job, and half of hourly employees quit within 120 days. According to the same study, properly executed onboarding processes will lead to many advantages such as increased work satisfaction, commitment to the company, decreased absenteeism, greater performance levels, career effectiveness, and less stress. Understanding the importance of onboarding, HR leaders need to come up with the best strategies and know what not to do. Here are some common mistakes in onboarding to avoid:
1 . Unpleasant First Impression
First impressions may not be 100% accurate, as it is just a ‘first look into something’, but it surely leaves a great mark on people’s thoughts. Onboarding is a lot like making the first impression pleasant and the journey afterward just as good. One of the most common mistakes is creating an unpleasant first impression for new hires. This can be judged from many things; the mannerism, choice of words, tone of speaking, and how the onboarding materials are delivered.
As an HR manager, you need to make sure whoever leads new hires’ onboarding process will make a good first impression. Make sure that the process does not come out as intimidating or scary for new hires, as they should feel welcomed, not threatened. Feeling warmly welcomed, they will be more encouraged to learn about their new working environment, culture, colleagues and even other areas that are outside their primary duties and job roles. This is a great start to help new hires adapt to the new workplace.
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2 . Not involving the other departments
The HR department is in charge of ensuring that the onboarding process goes well, but it takes up coordination with other departments too. Most HR managers and supervisors only include coworkers in the same department to assist the new hires because they will work together as a team, thus getting to know each other is vital. While effective, this practice can cause an issue later on.
Different departments may have different rules or work requirements that need to be informed upfront and HR leaders need to communicate about these with new hires. Moreover, HR managers should also involve the overall employees of the company to help the new hires adjust to the new work environment. A simple action by announcing the new hires’ names and job positions can induce new hires’ feeling of acceptance and as part of the company.
3 . Unclear expectations and company policy
One of the most often committed mistakes during the onboarding process is unclear expectations and company policy presented to new hires. For example, new hires may not be clearly informed about their leave arrangement clearly, where employees can only file for annual leave after 6 months of employment. If not informed, new hires can be frustrated when their leave request that they file on their 4th month of work is rejected due to insufficient length of employment. As a result, this will create tensions for both employees and the HR department, whereas it can actually be informed clearly upfront.
In addition, all new hires should understand the company’s mission and core values, and how their current positions can contribute to achieving them. They should have the chance to review any guidelines, proactively inquire about them, so they will be on the same page when it comes to fulfilling the company’s expectations towards employees. Making descriptions and expectations as clear as possible towards the job position will allow them to be more focused on their job roles and elevate their capabilities as well. Conversely, unclear ones will create a vague, even frustration that dampens productivity.
4 . Putting aside the follow up
Last but not least, one of the common mistakes HR needs to anticipate during the onboarding process is putting aside the follow-up. Employers and HR managers should seek feedback for the overall onboarding process from the new hires. While all HR managers may expect a solid, tested-through-time onboarding strategy to be used for a long time, adjustments may be needed as time goes by. You need to encourage new hires to not be hesitant in giving constructive criticisms about their onboarding experience, as many of them are still afraid to be truly honest when sharing their inputs. Such valuable inputs will give adequate evaluation and space for improvements to have a better, more effective onboarding process in the future.
Ensuring that your employees have the best experience working for your company begins as early as the onboarding process. By avoiding these mistakes, companies will have a better chance to achieve better recruitment gains in the form of more engaged employees that are ready to give their best at work!
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