The onboarding processes – Key mistakes companies make

What defines an exceptional onboarding experience? That depends on whom you talk to. For some, it is a new culture. For others, it is an opportunity to work on a project or team with passionate people.

An onboarding program serves as both a process and an action to help employees find their way into the new workplace. Programs should be designed to be inclusive, provide information relevant to the new position, and enliven the culture of the organization.

The goal of an onboarding program is to ignite employee enthusiasm, introduce new ways of working and foster a sense of belonging, among other things.


Those who strongly agree their onboarding process was exceptional are 3.3. times as likely to agree their job is as good, or better than expected.

– Gallup’s Perspective on Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees


But the reality is different. A recent study by Gallup has found that most organizations are falling short of expectations. Only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does an excellent job of onboarding new employees.

Getting new hires off to the right start is crucial, but it’s often tricky for HR and management. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:


1. It is an HR responsibility


Although HR and leadership should implement onboarding, they can’t cover the fact that managers must model what it requires to succeed.

Managers must be active participants in the onboarding process and ensure that they are doing everything they can to help new hires settle into their job.


When managers take an active role in onboarding, employees are 3.4 times as likely to strongly agree their onboarding process was exceptional.

– Gallup’s Perspective on Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees


It sounds basic, but when you fail to onboard new hires, it becomes a huge issue. Without the right process in place, new hires can end up feeling unwelcome and demotivated. Because employees are so new to the organization, there may not be a bond of understanding between them and their new leader. This leads to anger, resentment, and exit options.

How can you fix the problem? It’s simple. Implement a formal onboarding process for all hires. This should involve the leadership team, human resources, and the hiring manager/department head. The onboarding process should be designed to empower each participant to understand what they should expect from the new job, what their main duties will be, and what opportunities are available to them.


2. Your program is too short


New employees are often assumed to be resources that can be deployed immediately. But research shows that this is often not the case. Studies have shown that the average employee takes about 8 months to reach their new roles’ full potential.



This is not unusual for new employees as companies fail to make the distinction between potential and job performance. You should take time to understand your employee’s strengths, as well as their weaknesses, and try to nurture them. This can be emulated by setting up training programs, offering adequate support systems, and coaching your staff more frequently.


3. Onboarding does not match your company culture


Organizations must embrace the notion of onboarding even more strongly now that the modern workplace is fluid. If you want your team to buy into your vision and values, you have to empower them with information that is trustworthy, authentic, and relevant.

One simple mistake is presenting your new hire with a thick software package that tries to cover all bases – HR sensitive data plus job duties, plus key information on training and development, plus a laundry list of responsibilities. Instead, offer a slimmed-down version of what you think will be most effective for your audience, and allow them to make comments and suggestions as they go through the material.

Effective onboarding doesn’t just involve getting your team engaged — it involves funneling them through various stages and values of the organization to ensure that they are ready for their new roles. Once employees feel connected, they will work harder, smarter, and more productively.


4. Not answering 5 key questions


If your organization has a culture that values teamwork above everything else, you need to make sure everyone feels included and aligned before they even step foot in your company.

That means making it easy for employees to access resources and connect with individuals who are willing to help them get up to speed on what you do day in and day out.

Gallup has discovered five employee questions that, when addressed, allow you to create an onboarding program that sets employees up for success.


The Five Questions of Onboarding:

1) What do we believe in around here?”

2) “What are my strengths?”

3) “What is my role?”

4) “Who are my partners?”

5) “What does my future here look like?”



When employees strongly agree that they have a good understanding of “how we do things at this organization,” they are 4.7 times more likely to strongly agree their onboarding process was exceptional.

– Gallup’s Perspective on Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees


It is good to have some shared values around as you start an employer-employee relationship. You can even create a list of core values for your company if you are going pro. But what does your company stand for, and how are you going to prove it to your new employees?

It’s something every organization should seriously think through before hiring anyone.


5. Not automating the onboarding process


Automation can help you solve many of the problems associated with onboarding new employees. Several research studies have shown that it takes an average of 22 hours for HR departments to fully process employee information. Automation can help decrease the number of hours that are spent onboarding new employees and reduce human error in the process.



A company with a non-optimal process can expect the following:

– Approximately one-third (33%) of new hires look for a new job within the first six months.

– To replace an employee, an employer will need to spend an average of 16–20% of that employee’s salary.

– 69% of employees who undergo effective onboarding are more likely to stay with an employer for at least 3 years

– Organizations that invest in an effective onboarding program retain 50% more of new hires than their competitors do.


Automating your onboarding process can provide a template or framework that leaders can use to get started with someone right away. The process can be streamlined, reducing the amount of time an employee spends on procedural questions while getting to know the company and your customers.