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How To Overcome Common Pitfalls of the Onboarding Process

Whether you dread or embrace onboarding, the reality is that onboarding is a crucial part of operating a business.

To be clear, for many who fall into the former category, it’s not usually the actual process of onboarding that inspires feelings of dread. Rather, it’s often related concepts like retention and turnover, not to mention recruitment and actual hiring, that are commonly associated with onboarding and historically make onboarding a much more difficult, less pleasant experience for many.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Ultimately, we all strive to find the best, most qualified applicants and onboard them in such ways that allow them to be fully briefed and sufficiently prepared to meet the expectations of their new jobs. Though many of the concepts listed above are separate from onboarding, it’s all related, and they come together like pieces to a puzzle, allowing you to maintain high-quality standards when it comes to the talent working at your business or company.

As it turns out, there are a number of things you might be doing as part of your onboarding process that could actually be hindering employee satisfaction and, by extension, productivity. Fortunately, there also happen to be a number of ways you can build a better,

more effective onboarding process, which means happier employees and a much stronger bottom line for your business or company.

Common pitfalls of the onboarding process

Information overload

It’s not easy to start a new job. Even when taking a similar position in the same industry, every company attributes different duties and assigns unique responsibilities to a certain title. That means there’s a lot for a new hire to learn before he or she can actually step into his or her new role.

While we hope for all new hires to hit the ground running, so to speak, it’s important not to overwhelm them during the onboarding process. Especially when yours is a storied company with an extensive history and a prominent place in the general market, there can be a lot of information to take in. So be aware of how much info you’re throwing at your new hire because there’s only so much they can catch.

A one-size-fits-all onboarding model

In virtually every aspect of business and even life overall, there’s a very common refrain: Everyone is unique. As cliche as it sounds, it’s actually true, particularly when it comes to learning styles. For instance, some people tend to absorb information best when they read it. Others are hands-on learners, retaining information when they’re worked with it in a tactile manner. Similarly, some people learn things quickly while others need to sit with the information for a while. So failing to account for the many ways people differ in how they receive, process, and retain information is another common pitfall of the onboarding process.

Failure to follow-up

In addition to inflexible onboarding that presents way too much information at once, another pitfall of onboarding is when there are no follow-ups after the onboarding process has concluded. In other words, the new hire is ushered through the onboarding process and sent on his or her merry way, which is like saying, “Welcome to the team. See you at your first performance review.”

When there are no follow-ups, you could encounter a number of related problems. What if the new hire forgets a crucial piece of information that was presented during the onboarding process? Or what if there’s information that your new hire doesn’t realize he or she doesn’t have? What if there’s some new rule or policy that hasn’t been added to the onboarding materials? And there are countless other “what if” scenarios that come with failure to follow-up after the onboarding process.

Better onboarding for better employee satisfaction

An ineffective or poorly-designed onboarding process is extremely problematic for your employees. In fact, the best case scenario is that they become frustrated due to being poorly prepared and briefed for their jobs, possibly contributing to your turnover rate. At worst, your new hires aren’t provided with the information they need to fulfill the duties of their jobs, potentially causing problems in other departments and affecting your bottom line.

So here are some ways you can improve your onboarding process and, by extension, boost employee satisfaction.

Better onboarding materials

There’s a lot of important information provided to new hires as part of the onboarding process. Some of this information will directly pertain to their individual responsibilities while other information will relate to the company culture. But it’s all important, which is why it’s important to make sure that you’re providing quality, up-to-date onboarding materials. And providing these materials to new hires via a simple system like Trainual will ensure they become ongoing resources used throughout the lifetime of their position, and not just half-way consumed and forgotten manuals.

A more flexible onboarding process

As alluded to above, everyone learns at his or her own pace. To make your onboarding process as effective and efficient as possible, you should allow for some flexibility or versatility. For instance, since some people might need more time with the information so they can retain it, it’s a good idea to make it easy to extend the onboarding period so as to accommodate each new hire. Create bite-sized tests within Trainual that new employees can take and reflect on at their own pace to optimize the experience for each individual.

An opportunity to make connections

Since your new hires are learning about your business or company and the unique company culture as part of the onboarding process, it’s a good idea to encourage them to connect with your existing employees. This achieves a couple of things: First, meeting and forming relationships with your established employees will help new hires to feel more comfortable. Additionally, most new hires will find themselves having been taken “under the wings” of your employees as part of mentor-mentee relationships, providing your new hires with a valuable resource that will extend far beyond the onboarding period.

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies.

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