Organizations with strong onboarding processes are shown to improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Onboarding is one of the very first interactions between your new hire and your organization, and it has to be managed carefully to assure them that they've made the right decision to join your organization. Even a few small glitches or miscommunications during the process can deter new hires from staying for the long haul. A well-planned onboarding program should help new hires acclimate to the company culture, understand the particulars of their new role, and get to know their team members.
To help you build an exceptional onboarding program for your new hires, we've listed five challenges associated with new hire onboarding and tips to overcome them:
Challenge #1: Lack of communication during pre-onboarding
Some organizations fail to engage with new employees between the acceptance of the offer letter and the join date. During this phase, candidates may wonder if they've made the right decision and if they are truly valued by the organization. This can make them anxious and, in some cases, even deter them from turning up on their first day.
Tips: During the pre-onboarding phase, introduce strategies to build rapport with your new hires. Touch base with them to find out if they require help with relocating or figuring out their work commute. You can also send them a collection of company swag so that they feel included right from the first day. If they are working remotely, it's important to send the required tech tools even before they start work. A quick and informative call from their immediate reporting manager can also help new hires understand what to expect on their first day.
Challenge #2: Never-ending paperwork
Onboarding often comes with a great deal of paperwork. Offer letters, I-9 forms, W-4 forms, withholding certificates, contract forms, and proof of identity are some of the many documents that organizations and new hires have to deal with. Overwhelming your new hires with all this paperwork on their first day can cause unnecessary stress.
Tips: Instead of waiting until the first day to complete paperwork, help your new hires complete their paperwork during the pre-onboarding phase. It can help to provide documents one after the other instead of sending it all at once and setting an immediate deadline. If you have an onboarding management system, you can use the corresponding portal to share documents with employees. This way, they can e-sign and return the necessary paperwork right from their computer. Reassure your new hires that they can reach out to you anytime in case they have any queries.
Challenge #3: Failing to educate employees about their organization
Most candidates research a company before attending the interview and after accepting the job offer, but there's only so much they can learn from online research. For them to work effectively, new hires must understand the ins and outs of your organization and their work. Otherwise, they'll have a tough time aligning with your organizational values, mission, and culture. When this is the case, they'll only find ways to quit your organization.
Tips: During the pre-onboarding phase, provide employees with documents, videos, websites, podcasts, and other content that can help them understand what your organization stands for. On their first day, it can help to organize a separate session where you elaborate on your products, services, and other initiatives, as well as and how they align with your vision. If you onboard multiple candidates on a single day, you might also organize a session where C-level leaders address and interact with them. Give them a quick office tour and introduce every department, if possible.
Challenge #4: Not providing proper training
Your organizational practices, the way your teams work, and even the work itself may be new to your new employees. That's why it's crucial to organize suitable training programs. Otherwise, your employees will lack a clear sense of direction and have a hard time excelling in their roles.
Tips: After a week or so, once your new hires start exploring their roles, introduce them to your training courses. Discuss this with managers to understand the skills and knowledge new hires should have when it comes to their line of work, and create courses based around those needs. For instance, if your new hire is a product marketer, they'll have to know the ins and outs of their product. A detailed course that explains your product, its target audience, and so on would help them develop stronger marketing materials.
Challenge #5: Not requesting feedback from new hires
Striking the right balance for employee onboarding is a continuous process. Over time, you can evolve your approach and set the pace for the entire employee journey. This will be possible only when you receive ample feedback about the recruitment and onboarding processes from your new hires. Otherwise, you'll never know what's working and what's not.
Tips: During week two or three of their tenure, send out a survey to your new hires to understand what they thought about their onboarding. Include questions like what they liked the most about onboarding, which aspects were difficult for them to follow, and what would have made onboarding exceptional for them. Then, you can use the data to improve your onboarding process.
Overcoming the challenges associated with onboarding
Having a proper onboarding process in place is crucial to motivating your new hires, helping them feel aligned with your organizational values, and encouraging them to stay with your organization for the long term.
Zoho People, our human resource management software, comes with a built-in onboarding management system that automates paperwork, engages new hires, and makes onboarding a breeze for both candidates and HR teams. Learn more about Zoho People's onboarding management system.
Also Read: Top 6 benefits of automating onboarding