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5 Employee Onboarding Fails and How to Avoid Them

Features Recruiter.com

New employee onboarding is an easy thing to muck up, and unfortunately, there's no going back once the damage is done. You can, however, move forward and improve on your flawed onboarding process.

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With that in mind, here are five very common mistakes employers make during the onboarding process, as well as some advice on how to avoid them by implementing a better employee onboarding process:

1. Assessing New Employees Too Quickly

Twenty-seven percent of executives think employers form an initial opinion as to whether an entry-level employee will be successful during the employee's first two weeks on the job.

Really? Two weeks? If only 2 percent of executives thought this way, it wouldn't be cause for concern, but we're talking about a little more than one in four. At Click Boarding, we talk a lot about employee development, and that's never more important than it is in a situation like this!

Fix It: During an employee's first few months on the job – especially if the employee occupies an entry-level position – managers shouldn't be focused on whether or not the employee is going to be successful. A few months isn't even enough time for employees to prove themselves to you!

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Furthermore, as a manager, it's your job to help employees develop over time. Keep your unconscious bias at bay by setting performance goals early and collaborating regularly with new employees to ensure they have the resources and motivation they need to meet these goals.

Start Now: Set performance expectations in the job advertisement and during the interview process. Once you've extended an offer, outline the new employee's goals for the first day, week, month, and quarter. These can be cultural and social goals (e.g., have lunch with your team once a month), or they can be goals related to technical skills (e.g., learn how to properly file documents per project guidelines within one month). People have an easier time meeting expectations when we've set clear ones.

2. Failing to Give Employees a Sense of Purpose

Fifty percent of employees do not find meaning or purpose in their roles.

What an unfortunate statistic! Much research suggests that job satisfaction is tied to company values, organizational culture, and the honesty and respect of leadership. So, how can you ensure that your new hires find their work meaningful?

Fix It: Tie meaning into onboarding by giving new employees a chance to see the parts they play in the big picture. Take them around to meet the leadership team, to mingle with other departments, and to get a good look at what the rest of their team does. Finally, remember to talk about company success stories, accomplished goals, and struggles that have been overcome.

Start Now: Build a communication plan that introduces all employees to your values on a weekly basis. Each week, share a story, quote, or update about your organizational values in practice through the company intranet or via email. Consider using this opportunity to spotlight employees who embody certain values.

3. Driving New Hires to Quit

Employees are 10 times more likely to quit a job at the one-year mark than at five years.

Despite the very common belief that today's workers, especially millennials, are chronic job hoppers, research suggests that they're more loyal now than they've been since the 1980s. What's more, 53 percent of workers feel that a job in which they can make an impact is important to their happiness.

This means that employees have the inner motivation to do well at work and that they want to find companies where they can plant their roots, but companies are failing to meet their needs.

Fix It: Managers should extend the employee onboarding process as long as is necessary for the new hire to really feel connected to the organization. That might mean implementing a year-long onboarding process, but it's definitely worth your while.

The closer you get to the one-year mark (or whenever your onboarding process is set to end), the more conversations managers should be having with their new employees about performance goals and where they see themselves in the future with the company.

Start Now: Check in with new hires who have been at the company for a while. Many employers give up at the 90-day mark. Use a survey tool to find out which of your employees might be getting ready to go because they don't feel their work or presence is valued.

4. Fostering Negative Attitudes

Replacing a toxic worker yields almost four times the value of hiring a top 10 percent performer.

What this stat tells us is that managers need to be aware of the feelings and attitudes of their newest workers. Toxic behavior spreads and negatively impacts the performance of the entire team. This is one area that managers should carefully investigate in order to gauge whether or not a new employee's sour attitude is temporary. If it's not, they should consider whether they should try to change it or let the employee go.

Fix It: Managers should be communicating frequently enough with employees that they can catch toxic behaviors and attitudes before they spiral out of control. In order to take corrective action, the driving forces behind dissatisfaction must be identified. If the company or manager is at fault, then they need to do all they can to remedy the situation through thoughtful leadership and relationship management.

Start Now: Look over recent performance data and discuss toxic performers with your managers. Find out if there are opportunities for additional training or team/role restructuring before you end up disenfranchising new hires.

5. Not Recognizing Employee Achievements

Only 42 percent of employees are happy with the rewards and recognition their companies offer.

What a disappointment! Rewards and recognition are what engage and inspire employees to go above and beyond in their work. This is never more true than it is throughout the employee onboarding process. Failing to recognize a new employee's work doesn't just negatively influence the perception they have of the company, but it can also delay employee development.

Fix It: If an employee isn't being recognized for their work, they aren't able to build on their strengths. Communicating with new employees regularly is an important aspect of employee development because the feedback managers give helps employees understand what they're doing right, what they should improve on, and how to make that happen. Additionally, rewards and recognition provide employees with an added incentive to perform well.

Start Now: Build a rewards and recognition program founded on values, performance, and progress. In this way, virtually all contributors can be recognized wherever they are in the organization. Recognition can be as complicated as an employee awards banquet or as simple as an intranet "Thank you!"

Hold Your Head Up

Fear not, onboarding managers, these employee onboarding fails don't have to happen to you. However, if your employee onboarding process is stuck in the past, you may need to make more than a few adjustments. With the right employee onboarding software and these tips, you can rest assured that your process is headed in the right direction.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Click Boarding blog.

Christine Marino is the chief revenue officer at Click Boarding.