5 Signs Your Employee Onboarding is Failing

Faced with a modern workforce that is more open to job-hopping, or switching jobs more often, it seems like a gamble to search for teammates who stay for the long term, contribute great ideas and understand the needs of the team.

But it’s not completely out of your control. A study of service-sector employees in the hotel industry makes the case for designing a good onboarding process as part of the solution. In the study, researchers found that when employees perceived that the hotel's orientation practices were supportive, they were more likely to be loyal, participate more at work, and deliver higher quality service.

A strong employee onboarding process, also referred to as ‘orientation’ or ‘induction’, is a powerful tool that is often ignored. Use it to tackle a few of the following issues that you might be noticing in your own workplace:

1. Team morale is low and employees are disengaged.

Are there people who rarely contribute in meetings or regularly turn up late? That could be a sign of disengagement. A more serious sign is absenteeism: employees stop coming to work, sometimes missing up to 20 days of work in a month. Granted, these behaviours can be caused by changes in personal circumstances—even so, it’s a huge barrier to innovation, and it creates a vicious cycle of low team morale.

One way of building team morale from the very beginning is to ensure that new hires have many opportunities to interact with the rest of the team. It’s difficult to pinpoint and fix team morale issues at later stages of employment. But if this is what’s happening to you, all hope is not lost! The same technique can be applied backwards by involving your current team members in welcoming new hires.

2. New hires take a long time to become productive.

Are you noticing confusion over roles and responsibilities? Maybe you’re missing your revenue targets and nobody can explain why. Your new hires are hardworking and eager to contribute, but they’re unsure of the objectives being measured, and how every part of your team can work together to achieve them. So, they’re muddling through and spending extra time on simple tasks.

Try laying out your team’s objectives, roles and standard procedures in clear, actionable ways. This can be done by using interactive activities in your online onboarding course, where new hires and long-time employees can refer to them or update them as needed.

3. Employees are leaving within their first year.

If you can’t remember the last time you hired a permanent team member who stayed for longer than one year, it could be time to take a look at your employee churn rate.

While employee churn is natural, a high rate of employee churn is a cause for concern in cost-savvy HR teams. Industry experience shows that the high costs related to employee churn go beyond administrative costs and costs of recruitment, including losing out on potential networks, skills and training.

It’s possible to reduce your employee churn rate, especially within the first year of employment, by addressing issues such as team fit and training opportunities early on in the hiring process.

4. It’s not what your new hires were expecting.

After a few months on the job, your new hire might reveal that the hiring manager gave them a completely different job description during the recruitment process. Perhaps there wasn’t even a clear job description, or it was misleading. In extreme situations this could be deemed ‘catfishing’, and it happens quite frequently: in a survey of young Malaysian professionals, only half the sample felt that their expectations were met after they joined the organisation. 

To avoid miscommunicating the requirements of a job and frustrating your new hires, try using a ‘taster’ online course which gives potential candidates a sample experience of their new role in the team. As a bonus, you’ll be able to gauge their work style and commitment before they even turn up.

5. There’s a lack of communication between colleagues.

It takes an average of 4.5 months for new employees to gain a level of proficiency where they can independently and successfully manage their responsibilities (source). During this time, if they aren’t given a proper onboarding, the process is delayed. An efficient onboarding process can cut the time it takes for a new hire to figure out who to approach and how to communicate when roadblocks appear. 

Help your new hires get acquainted with the rest of the team by providing information on where to go for help and making any standard processes visible, e.g. graphic design requests, equipment repairs, or the claims process.


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Topics: Employee Training and Onboarding

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