Articles & Insights

Our expert shares five onboarding failures and how to win over new starters.

In a recent survey, Gallup reported that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job onboarding new employees. With the tight job market and good candidates being hard to come by, organisations must create an excellent first impression with new starters.

Employees' first impressions of their new company, boss and team will significantly impact how well they integrate, engage and succeed.

Watch out for these five onboarding failures:

  1. Information overload. Too much information too soon will overwhelm the new starter.
  2. Lack of adaptability. Assuming managers can run remote and in-person inductions similarly will lead to a poor onboarding experience. Make sure you adapt your onboarding process for remote and in-person delivery.
  3. Absence of ownership. Failing to allocate responsibility for the onboarding experience can leave the new starter feeling lost or twiddling their thumbs in the first few days.
  4. Lack of tools. Hold-ups in procuring IT equipment or other vital tools will leave the new starter feeling you don't care. It also means they can't get on with work, wasting precious development opportunities.
  5. Short induction. Limiting the onboarding process to a few days is risky. The first two to three months are critical for new starters, so a two-to-three-day induction won't cut it. Establish regular catch-up sessions so employees know you care about them and value their contribution.

Six tips to win over new starters:

  1. Provide new starters with relevant information before day one. This preparation will help ready them for their first day and give them reassurances about what to expect.
  2. Focus not just on what information you share but on how and why. Put yourself in the new employee's shoes, considering how they're likely to feel during their first few days. What information is most important from their point of view and yours?
  3. Include social elements in the onboarding process. Introduce the new starter to their colleagues and create social bonds. Invite them to a social event early on to meet new colleagues. Build connections with simple introductory activities - such as asking them to introduce themselves on Microsoft Teams.
  4. Hold an 'expectations exchange'. Reflect on what you think your team member expects of you and your expectations of them. Ask them to do the same. An expectations exchange is a way of gaining clarity and developing an informal but clear "contract" between the new starter and their manager about how they'll work together.
  5. Clarify how performance is measured. Agree on goals and targets and provide regular feedback on progress. Remember to discuss their development needs and encourage them to create their own development plan.
  6. Remember to ask for feedback. Ask how the employee found the onboarding process. What worked well, and what could you do differently in future to make it even better for new recruits? Commit to making changes and let them know what you plan to do due to their feedback.

If your managers need support with effective onboarding, why not turn to an onboarding expert? Individual, tailored career coaching, among other interventions, can be invaluable - as this recent Working Transitions onboarding participant shares;

"Having landed my 'dream role' I was keen for it to work out and was lucky enough to be offered onboarding support by my new employer. My coach was superb. Having a mentor external to the organisation meant I could express my concerns – no matter how small – without feeling that I was damaging my credibility. My coach helped me accept that all organisations operate differently and supported me to adjust to the new culture. I have now been in post for 6 months – the job is going well - this success is definitely partly attributable to the support of my coach. I am so grateful that my employer offered me this support."

For a no-obligation chat or advice on affordable onboarding solutions, contact: [email protected] or call 01604 744 101, or for more information, visit Working Transitions' website. 



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