How to avoid a horror onboarding experience

Posted in Best Practice

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Starting at a new company is something that everyone has to do, and most people are nervous about. Some companies onboard their new hires well, some not as well. We hear of so many subpar new hire onboarding experiences, so we decided to put the word out and collect some of the worst ones we could find! Here is some fun to read, but bad to have onboarding experiences, and tips on how to avoid them.

The "we're not ready for you" walk

One respondent told us that they were due to start at a particular time. They received a call shortly before this, advising them that in fact the team weren’t ready for them yet, and asked if they could walk around the block for 30 minutes before heading on up.

TIP: Someone should always be meeting a new hire as a point of contact. To mitigate this situation: A representative could have taken the New Hire for a cup of coffee and chat at a nearby place before heading in.

Whoops, we've moved offices

Another example was that after moving offices, a manager forgot to tell the new hire that they had in fact moved offices. When turning up on day 1 to find an empty office, let’s just say that it was quite a scare.

TIP: This is a classic case of no-one feeling responsible for the new hire before they start. A Clear line of communication before day 1 would have solved this situation.

Sorry, do you work here?

After flying across the other side of the world, another respondent told us that their company wasn’t aware that they had actually started with the business. This led to nothing being organised, one lost new hire - and lots of stress for all involved.

TIP: There’s so much wrong with this experience. Simple notifications, automated provisioning forms and checklists for HR and hiring managers should fix these sorts of problems.

Thanks… good luck!

When starting a new role, your manager is crucial in your success. Another respondent told us how, on day 1, they were advised that their manager was finishing that day - and for the next 6 months there was no manager in that seat. The words, “Here’s some information, figure it out yourself” were mentioned.

TIP: One of the best solutions to this problem is to create a buddy system. By introducing the new hire and buddy prior to the start date, it creates a point of contact beyond the direct manager and relieves unnecessary stress.

Great onboarding

It’s all about the basics

Despite some of these quite crazy stories being shared, the overwhelming responses that we received were around the basics not being done well. Make sure that you nail these top 5 items for your new hire to have a great start on day 1:

  • Have their IT equipment and access passes setup and ready to go. This was the number one issue that respondents felt let down their experience and made them think poorly of the organisation.
  • Make sure that someone is there to greet the new hire with a smiling face on day 1. New hires are unsure of everything on their first day, so having someone to reassure and guide them is crucial.
  • Have an actual plan for the new hire on day 1, and for the first week - don’t force them to read the procedural manual for 5 days straight. Some time spent planning in the short term can lead to much higher engagement in the long term. Which stakeholders should they meet? What meetings are happening that they can attend? 
  • Have payroll setup in advance. It’s great to think that a new hire will be working at your company purely for the love of it - however, they also need to get paid. Having any delays in the payslip being handed over can prove damaging.
  • Be clear on the start date. Yes, we know that things do change. However, with these changes, it’s crucial that you communicate these well in advance. Your new hire has their own life outside of work, and will often have commitments that they can’t drop. It’s not fair to call a new hire on the day before to advise them that they will be starting the next day.

What ways do you ensure your new hires have a great experience when they start with your company? Send us your suggestions in a short email wow@enboarder.com, we’d love to hear from you!