Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Common Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid

Onboarding is an important process for any new employee. Successful onboarding can improve job satisfaction, work performance, and an overall reduction in employee stress. On the other hand, unsuccessful onboarding is a missed opportunity to get off to a great start with your new employee. We don’t want you to have unsuccessful onboarding. Here are 4 common onboarding mistakes, and how you can avoid them:

Waiting until day one to start communication

The days leading up to a new employee’s first day are crucial. The social pressures and job responsibilities haven’t set in (they don’t even have to remember code to get into the building yet!), and the idea of a new position is hopefully still exciting. Make your move while they’re still happy and naive! Send new employees a nice welcome packet of important onboarding information: important company policy and company culture information, benefits pamphlets, and dress codes are all great pieces of information to share with a new employee prior to their first day.

Not Providing Written Expectations

A written statement of responsibilities, expectations, and goals for the upcoming weeks is crucial to the onboarding process. A new employee should know exactly what he/she should be doing on day one, and should have a pretty good idea where they should be a year from their start date. Provide a written training schedule for the first few days/weeks of onboarding, and a timeline of benchmarks for what will be expected at various stages throughout the first year of employment. After a set time period, ask your new employee to set specific goals for himself/herself for the next year.

Skimping on Company Culture

Company policy, benefits technicalities, and work responsibilities are all important part of onboarding. However, the first few weeks are also a crucial time for new employees to become accustomed to company culture. Employees with a strong sense of positive company culture are more likely to have higher job satisfaction, and are less likely to want to leave the company after being employed for a while. Consider providing a welcome basket with a company coffee mug or t-shirt. Better yet, organize a company luncheon or other small event to welcome the new employee(s) to the team.

Skipping onboarding follow ups

No matter how great your onboarding system is, it will be even better when you schedule follow ups for the first few months, up to a year. Depending on your field, the learning curve for a new hire can be pretty steep. I’ve worked in my job for almost a  year, and still feel “new” at times. Onboarding follow ups can help you make sure that your new hire is still enjoying his/her position. Onboarding follow ups can also give you the opportunity to offer advice if something is lacking, or to spot a candidate who just isn’t working out (hey, it happens).

Are you guilty of any of these onboarding mistakes? How would you like to improve your onboarding process?

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.