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Onboarding Employee Engagement

How to Fix 5 Common Onboarding Problems

May 18, 2023
6 min read

New Hire Onboarding Checklist


This article was originally published in April 2021. It was updated with new information about common onboarding problems in May 2023.

The onboarding experience is new hires’ first look at what it’s really like to work at your organization, and it’s also a test of sorts. New employees are excited about meeting their team, getting settled in, and diving into their first project. But they’re also learning whether or not the role, company culture, and opportunities for the future are what they expected based on their candidate experience.

If you pass the onboarding test, you get engaged, productive employees who stay for years. But if you fail, you could lose valuable top talent, negatively impacting morale and employee engagement. So, it’s essential that your company avoids common onboarding problems and provides a great onboarding experience to engage new hires and lay the groundwork for their success.

However, Gallup data shows that 88% of organizations do a poor job of onboarding their new hires, which can lead to gaps in productivity and a disengaged workforce. Finding ways to overcome employee onboarding challenges and create an enjoyable experience will help you keep your top talent and create a resilient workforce.

Did you know that 20% of new hires quit within their first 45 days? Improve #onboarding and #retain new employees by fixing these 5 onboarding problems:

In today’s post, we’re covering five onboarding issues HR often encounters and ways to overcome them.

Onboarding Problem #1: New hire turnover is high.

It’s not unusual for new employee turnover to be a bit higher than the average rate — around one-fifth of new hires quit within their first 45 days. But that’s not ideal, given that the average cost-per-hire is $4,700, and replacing full-time employees can cost around 40% of their salary. After putting in the work to find and hire top talent, you want them to stick around.

If your organization sees unusually high turnover among new employees, a poor onboarding experience is likely a factor. Do you have an onboarding plan in place for every employee? If yours is part of the 35% of companies that say they don’t spend any money at all on their employee onboarding process, yours may be lacking or nonexistent.

Solution #1: Provide onboarding programs for all new employees.

If you want to reduce new hire turnover, you need to invest in a structured onboarding process for every new employee. Research shows that building a great onboarding experience can increase your new hire retention rate by as much as 50%. Hold onto top talent and create an enjoyable experience for everyone, including your HR and hiring teams, by ensuring every employee goes through an onboarding program.

In our modern workplace, traditional onboarding efforts just don’t cut it anymore. Your onboarding strategy needs to be comprehensive and support the workforce you have, whether in-person or remote, hourly or salaried, in the boardroom or on a construction site.

With tools like paperless onboarding and self-service portals, you can create onboarding experiences that are user-friendly, role-specific, and engaging. Reduce turnover by helping every new hire prepare and settle into their roles during onboarding.

Get the Resource: Download The Essential Guide to Onboarding in Today’s Modern Workplace

Onboarding Problem #2: New hires don’t know what’s expected of them.

“Clarity of expectations” is directly tied to employee engagement, according to Gallup research, but too often, companies aren’t making it clear what they need from their new hires. 23% of employees who quit during their first six months at a job said that clearer expectations could have helped them stay longer.

Does your company talk to new hires about what they’re expected to do during their first days and weeks on the job? If not, you could be losing employees and causing frustration and confusion for others.

Solution #2: Set onboarding goals.

Creating onboarding goals can help new hires feel in control of their onboarding experience and understand what they need to accomplish. Onboarding goals can be simple, like completing paperwork and meeting a colleague from another team, or they can be performance-based. For example, new sales employees might have quotas that are a fraction of their eventual expected quotas during onboarding, while new HR generalists’ goals might include helping onboard three new employees.

Onboarding Problem #3: HR and hiring teams aren’t on the same page.

Staying organized and communicating clearly during onboarding can be the difference between high employee satisfaction and new hires that are already disengaged. It’s also the difference between an efficient HR team and one that is always playing catch-up. Hiring teams are also involved in the onboarding process, and they need access to some of the same information as HR.

If your HR team is using siloed or manual systems, they could be causing miscommunication and errors and making onboarding inefficient and unpleasant.

Solve miscommunication on your HR team and create a better #onboarding experience with #OnboardingSoftware:

Solution #3: Use integrated employee onboarding software.

A centralized method for storing important employee information is the answer. It ensures your team, including hiring managers, can quickly access the most recent, accurate data and prevents miscommunication.

If you want an organized employee database, look for onboarding software that is integrated with an applicant tracking system or full-platform talent management system. The information you collect about new hires can be easily integrated into your performance management system, payroll functions, and HRIS platforms with integrated onboarding software. Having all of your data in one place allows for heightened transparency and accountability.

An onboarding solution that integrates with recruiting software or a complete talent management system serves your employees throughout their employee journey and keeps their valuable data in one place. It also helps HR connect valuable people processes, like performance management and hiring, and make data-informed strategic decisions.

Onboarding Problem #4: New employees feel disconnected.

Feeling disconnected is all too common, especially among remote new hires. 31% of HR professionals with new hires who have only interacted with the company virtually said their new hires are having trouble making connections. But when employees do feel connected to their workplace and their peers, they’re more likely to stay at your organization, and they’re more productive, too.

Play an active role in helping new hires build relationships to increase their sense of camaraderie and increase retention with a mentorship program.

Solution #4: Establish connections with mentors.

91% of employees who have a mentor say they are satisfied with their jobs. Mentorship programs help new hires learn company history and build new relationships. Employees might feel more comfortable asking questions or discussing their future at the organization with their mentor than with their supervisor. Mentors can also help your new hires identify and grow their strengths in addition to boosting employee retention.

Onboarding Problem #5: New employees aren’t getting enough support and feedback.

Onboarding isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it process. It’s the foundation for the entire employee experience, and it requires involvement from HR, managers, and of course, your new hires. But new hires frequently express that they’re not receiving enough support during this critical time. On the other hand, a positive onboarding experience means employees are three times more likely to feel supported in their roles.

Solution #5: Schedule employee-manager one-on-ones.

Set up regular one-on-one meetings between employees and their managers that occur frequently. That could mean daily for the first few days and then a few times a week when onboarding starts. Though it may seem like a lot, checking in for just a few minutes helps reassure new hires that they’re on the right track and gives managers lots of opportunities to offer constructive feedback.

Even after onboarding is complete, managers should continue these check-ins at least once a week — 43% of highly engaged employees say they meet with their managers weekly. If you use digital onboarding software, you can provide additional support by adding helpful resources to employees’ self-service portals. That includes everything from role-specific materials to employee handbooks and policies.

As you analyze your current onboarding process, identify opportunities to embrace a modern, digital approach. In today’s marketplace, your company needs to find tools that can seamlessly work together and provide you with the deeper insights you need to make strategic decisions.

With ClearCompany’s Onboarding software, organizations can:

  • Create onboarding checklists to avoid missed tasks or incomplete processes
  • Build new hire self-service portals for fast, standardized paperless onboarding
  • Conduct background checks, verify employment eligibility, and more from the platform
  • Welcome new hires with team introductions, company resources, and a structured onboarding plan

Learn more about how you can create a positive new hire experience and avoid these five common onboarding problems with ClearCompany — sign up for your free demo now.

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