3 Nasty Onboarding Blunders You Need to Avoid

November 22, 2016
3 Nasty Onboarding Blunders You Need to Avoid

According to Forbes, up to 20% of your turnover can take place within the first 45 days of employment. In other words, if you aren’t onboarding new starters properly, your retention figures are taking a big hit.

Here are four of the biggest onboarding blunders that many companies make. Aim to avoid them at all costs!

1. Giving no guidance on a new starter’s first day

In a study conducted by reed.co.uk, one participant reported their worst first day at work. Upon arriving to start their new job, they were told “here are the keys, here is my mobile number, good luck”.

This is a very dangerous way to kickstart a person’s employment. Sure, you might want them to prove their ability to do their job, but what exactly does throwing them in at the deep end achieve?

The start of a person’s career with your company is not only their chance to impress you, but it is your chance to impress them. This is how loyal, long-term employer-employee relationships are formed.

2. Forcing new starters into embarrassing “confidence-building” situations

There is certain value to be found in taking people outside of their comfort zones and encouraging them to interact with more confidence. But in the same study by reed.co.uk, one participant reported being made to hop on one leg, singing “we all live in a yellow submarine”, in front of 20 other new starters.

Hop on one leg. We all live in a yellow submarine. Really?

I can’t see what the employer in question had to gain by giving this request. But unfortunately, forcing people into horribly uncomfortable situations during their first day or week is a mistake many employers seem to make.

This kind of activity will rarely help new starters settle in faster.

3. Breaking new starters in TOO gently

Remember what we said about throwing employees in at the deep end, and how it might be a bad idea sometimes? Well there’s another side to that coin. And that’s breaking new starters in TOO gently.

Vidette Vanderweide tells a story of how she was thrilled to have landed a temp job at CNN. This could have been the start of her dream career! Only… she spent her entire first shift sharpening pencils.

Admittedly, CNN really needed pencils sharpening as a matter of urgency. They were running a promotion at the time with Delta Airlines, to give kids an in-flight colouring book and pencils. But what a way to spend your first day!

Many companies make the mistake of giving new starters boring, repetitive and mundane tasks in their first day, week or month. Maybe it’s because they want to break them in gently, or maybe it’s because they really need pencils sharpening. Whatever it is though, it doesn’t give new starters much hope about what life is going to be like working for your company.

Needless to say, Vidette didn’t build her career with CNN.

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