When we consider that six in 10 Australian managers have had a new employee resign during their probation period due to poor onboarding processes, it’s clear there’s a lot that can go wrong during this important phase. 


Having gone through lengthy talent acquisition processes – from advertising a role, sourcing and 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 at this point, the onboarding process is far from over. 

Successful onboarding programs are comprehensive, efficient, and rely on excellent communication. Though too often, onboarding programs fall short of these essential criteria and organisations fail to measure their effectiveness. In fact, research found that only 26% of HR professionals measure the success of their onboarding processes.

In this blog, we outline 5 common reasons onboarding programs fail. 

1. The onboarding process is too short

A popular HR misconception is that onboarding ends after the first month of employment. 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. 

In reality, it can take up to eight months for an employee to become fully productive and effective in a position. A highly effective onboarding program will extend right up until a hire’s one-year anniversary. 

Regular check-ins should take place with your new hire – an area in which onboarding technology can help. Using onboarding technology to provide a more structured and consistent approach to the onboarding workflow will see to it that no step gets missed in the process!

2. The human element is lacking

Equipping your new hire with the technical knowledge to perform their role is an important component of any onboarding program, quickening the time to productivity. But it’s equally important that your new employee feels welcome on a social and cultural level.

To make your hire feel embedded into the team, organise a team lunch for them on their first week, and consider assigning them a buddy for the first year of employment who can help to answer any nice-to-know questions they may have. More information on buddy systems can be found in our Ultimate Buddy Guide.

3. A lack of communication

Not making regular contact with a hire between them accepting the job and their first day is a common error. 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. A lack of shared responsibility

Too often, onboarding programs demand too much from one stakeholder. When one division is over-burdened with onboarding duties, this can lead to burnout for the concerned team members and risks compromising the new hire experience.

When done well, onboarding duties extend beyond the HR team; they are centralised, balanced and customised by the hiring manager.

5. A lack of goal setting

Onboarding fails when employees don’t know how to define success because their goals are unclear or non-existent. For some roles, such as sales, companies can generally provide clear metrics from the outset. In other cases, managers need to sit down with the employee and jointly agree on specific goals and the date by which these should be achieved.

Most companies employ a combination of these approaches, usually with the help of HR technology with performance management and goal-setting capabilities.

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 Software is a cloud-based solution that helps thousands of organisations across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to effectively manage their people, process and pay. ELMO solutions span the entire employee lifecycle from ‘hire to retire’. They can be used together or stand-alone, and are configurable according to an organisation’s unique processes and workflows. Automate and streamline your operations to reduce costs, increase efficiency and bolster productivity. For further information, contact us.

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