The importance of onboarding is often forgotten. Having gone through lengthy talent acquisition processes – from advertising a role, sourcing & screening candidates and coordinating interviews to eventually hiring a candidate, many employers mistakenly believe that in getting a candidate through the door and having them sign a contract, their work is done. 

But in reality, onboarding is so much more than that! Onboarding is about embedding a new hire physically, professionally, and emotionally into an organisation, and setting them up for success. Failing to realise this can be costly not just to the employer, but also to the new hire. In fact, research from ELMO’s 2022 HR Industry Benchmark Report shows it costs on average $23,860 to hire one employee.

And with research confirming 15% of new hires who quit within the first six months cite a lack of onboarding as a key reason for leaving, it’s clear that onboarding phase is something employers must take seriously. 

In this blog, we outline five common onboarding mistakes to avoid. 

1. Thinking of onboarding as an administration process

Yes, onboarding is admin-heavy. There are multiple documents to be signed and personal details to be collected when a new hire joins an organisation – and these are all essential steps that can’t be skipped.  

But all too often, onboarding is thought of solely as an administrative task, and little consideration is given to the relationship with the candidate. A key objective of onboarding should be to make a connection between your new hire and the organisation, so that they feel supported and develop a positive attitude towards their role. Onboarding is also an opportunity to introduce a new hire to an organisation’s mission, culture, and values – helping to make them part of something that is bigger than themselves. 

By using onboarding technology to automate the admin-heavy elements of onboarding, HR professionals and managers can focus on making their new hire feel welcome and truly part of the organisation.

HROnboard offers technology that streamlines the essentials of onboarding, secures first-choice candidates faster, and leaves your new hire with a positive impression.

2. Making the onboarding phase too short 

Many people believe onboarding ends after the first month of employment. In reality, it can take up to eight months for an employee to become fully productive and effective in a position.

Failing to keep the onboarding process going beyond the first month of employment risks leaving your new hire feeling neglected and out of touch with the organisation’s mission. 

Regular check-ins should take place with your new hire, while onboarding technology can help to provide a more structured and consistent approach to the onboarding workflow so that no step gets missed.

3. Failing to reach out to new hires before they start

Not making regular contact with a hire between them accepting the job and their first day is a common error that sends the wrong message. A lot of excitement comes with job acceptance, so it’s important to keep the momentum going until the day they walk through your company doors for their first day. Feeling more connected to the organisation before joining will also help to ease those first day nerves!

A bigger risk of radio silence is that during this time, your new hire might still be hearing from other potential job prospects, so keeping that line of communication open with them will reduce the chance of them being tempted to accept another offer.

4. Failing to cross-board

While many organisations offer onboarding programs to new external hires, the same is not always true for internal employees who have either been promoted or moved department. There is often an attitude of “they’ve worked here a while, so they know how it all works”, but this isn’t always the case. Often, a transferred employee will need to adapt to a department’s style of working, a new manager, and different systems and processes. 

Read more about the importance of cross-boarding in our blog

5. Not measuring the success of onboarding processes

According to the latest HR Industry Benchmark Report by ELMO, HROnboard’s parent company, only 36% of organisations do not measure the performance of their onboarding programs. 

As HR professionals, we’re probably all familiar with the phrase “what gets measured gets managed”, so by not measuring the effectiveness or ROI of your onboarding efforts, how will you know whether they are effective? As a minimum, organisations should aim to use the most common onboarding metrics of ‘New hire retention’, ‘employee performance milestones being met’ and ‘impact on ream morale / culture’, all of which were highlighted as the top three onboarding metrics in ELMO’s 2022 HR Industry Benchmark Report

Just as companies measure the effectiveness of customer programs, the same should apply to employee-facing ones. Gathering feedback from new hires and data points will help you to continuously improve your company’s onboarding program.

For more information on all the steps to cover off throughout the onboarding phase, download HROnboard’s Onboarding Checklist

HROnboard, an ELMO company, offers a best-in-class software solution that reduces the amount of time HR teams and leaders spend securing the best candidates and undertaking the critical onboarding process for new hires. Our solution also helps manage internal employee role changes and can create a smooth and seamless process for exiting employees. To find out more, reach us here.

ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll offers end-to-end solutions for the entire employee lifecycle, from ‘hire to retire’. This includes recruitment, learning, performance management, payroll, rostering / time & attendance, and more. For further information, contact us.

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