5 more mistakes most companies make in their onboarding process

Bringing new starters into your organisation is the final, but most important, part of the recruitment process. You’ve done all the hard work writing ads, filtering applications, arranging and conducting interviews, narrowing down the shortlist and finally making offers. During this time, you’ve taken candidates on a journey as they’ve learned about your company, its culture and aspirations, and they’ve bought into your vision and accepted your offer. This is where it so often goes wrong. All that hard work and build-up of good will is eroded in between acceptance and start date. Here are the 5 key mistakes that most companies make in their onboarding.

They don’t onboard at all

This is an obvious one but having no onboarding at all is a big mistake. Candidates, especially these days, are looking for an overall experience throughout the recruitment process. The process works both ways, and you have to convince the candidate to join your company over the others out there. Effectively cutting off contact after the candidate has accepted the role is no longer appropriate. The more your competitors streamline their onboarding, the more you’ll look less attractive to candidates if you don’t offer this as well. Having a robust onboarding process is a big plus point and you can use this to further confirm in the candidate’s mind that they’ve made the right decision. You can also use this in the attraction phase as a selling point for candidates.

They onboard inconsistently

Inconsistent onboarding is almost as bad as no onboarding. If you’re allowing random employees to conduct parts of the onboarding, because they’re available when the usual person isn’t, this will damage the experience. People who are not familiar with what’s required should be kept away from the process. The worst case is that a bad onboarding experience may make candidates decide not to join after all, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t undertake onboarding. You can design and deliver a brilliant onboarding experience without relying on specific people to deliver content. Most of this can be done online and we always recommend having some form of face to face or virtual session. This virtual session can be delivered by an outsourced partner whose job it is to deliver consistently good sessions as part of their contract.

They wait until the first day

There’s a lot of discussion generally as to when onboarding should commence. We believe that it should start on acceptance, when engagement is at its highest. This is the very best time to lock your new starters in and guide them into their first days at the company. Waiting until the first day, commonly known as the ‘company induction’ is a mistake and a massive missed opportunity. Candidates are generally looking at several opportunities when they’re on the market and looking for a new role. Just because they’ve accepted your offer it doesn’t mean they kill off the other opportunities. You can guarantee that other recruiters are still trying to get them to ‘keep their options open’ right up until they walk in on their first day. Recruiters are trying to make a fee and they don’t care about your role, they care about getting the best candidates for their own clients. Don’t wait until the first day and then throw enormous amounts of information at your new starter, overwhelming them before they’ve got their feet under the table. Drip feed this content to them during their notice period and they’ll arrive enthused and engaged. Most importantly they’ll avoid that first week overwhelm.

They use out of date materials

Often in company inductions, the material is owned by L&D and the business. As a result, it can become out of date with no clear owner in the frame responsible for updating it. Another common scenario is throwing lots of presentations together into one induction pack because it’s already there. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t make sense to the new starter. At the very least an induction or onboarding programme should be designed from the point of view of the new starter, not to save the company time by using materials that already exist. An online onboarding process with proper eLearning content and the ability to interact with other new starters is a rich, deliberate experience that will keep engagement levels high.

They don’t involve existing employees

Your existing employees are probably the best people to sell the company to new starters and get them really enthused. Using the Onbrd platform, new starters can not only learn about the company but they can also have a virtual ‘buddy’ there to answer questions and make them feel at home before they’ve actually started. This is powerful stuff. Every new starter, no matter how confident, has ‘silly’ questions they want the answers to. Things like, ‘Can I bring my bike to work?’, ‘What time to people generally start?’, or ‘What’s the dress code?’, are all things that we want to know, but don’t feel confident phoning up and asking recruitment or HR about. Using the social elements of Onbrd, new starters can ask their buddy in a message, or check the FAQs. It’s a nice way of imparting this information and keeping people feeling like they matter.

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