Common Onboarding Mistakes Made by Employers and How to Avoid Them


There’s a lot more to onboarding new employees than simply vetting them during the hiring process and then providing training or orientation once they’re on the job. Onboarding is an intricate new hiring process that can take weeks or months to implement. It’s an adjustment period both for you and your new hire. For that reason, it’s important that you give them access to all of the necessary resources, training materials, and contact information that they’ll need to be successful and productive long-term employees. Since this integration process and adjustment period is crucial to the employee-employer relationship, here are some common onboarding mistakes made by employers that you should actively avoid.

Common Onboarding Mistakes

Short-Term Onboarding

There really is no such thing as a short-term onboarding process. In fact, there’s no given or definitive timeline in which every employee will adjust to their new surroundings. Onboarding is an ongoing long-term process and depending on a number of mitigating factors including the employee’s experience level, the company culture, the amount of training they receive, and the demands of their new position, there’s no telling how long the onboarding process will take.

As long as you provide proper training, extensive resources, and an open-door policy to let your new hires know they can always turn to you for assistance, then you’ve done everything you possibly can to make the transition as seamless for them as possible.

Failing to Prepare Your Team for New Hires

Failing to prepare your staff for new hires is a huge onboarding mistake. Your existing employees need to be made aware of any and all changes to the company culture and that includes the addition of new hires. Employees need to be prepared to train new coworkers and show them the ropes to help them become integrated in the existing company culture. They also have to adjust to sharing a space and a workload with new hires.

Relying Too Much on Employee Shadowing

While employee shadowing certainly has its merits like allowing new employees a chance to get to know their coworkers and learn how things are done from a skilled professional, relying too much on this training technique also has a few drawbacks. Over time, some employees—as great as they are at their jobs—can develop some bad habits or their own way of doing things. The last thing you want is for these bad habits to be passed on to your new hires. And that leads to the next point…

Treating Onboarding Like a One-Time Process

As mentioned, onboarding is an ongoing process. That means that even your most experienced employees who have been with your organization for a number of years need continuous training on various processes. Over time, your organization will no doubt update its policies and make some necessary or inevitable changes. It’s important to guarantee that all of your employees are updated on these changes, properly prepared for them, and that everyone is on the same page.

Onboarding doesn’t end after employee orientation or after they pass their probation period. In this day and age, new technological breakthroughs are constantly happening, and company policies and values are changing at the speed of light. Employees need to be brought up to speed and it’s your job as their employer to ensure that they have all of the tools ready at their disposal to be productive and successful. After all, your employees’ success is also your success.

Failing to Clearly Explain Your Expectations

Clear communication is an essential aspect of any working relationship and that means you need to be open and honest about your company’s values and goals from the very beginning. As an employer, you also need to provide a platform for your employees—both new and old—to ask questions, provide feedback, and expand upon their professional knowledge and experience. Be clear about what your expectations are, but make sure to communicate that to your employees before their first day on the job. You should also make it a point to gently remind them of these expectations throughout their employment so that they’re always aware.

How to Avoid Onboarding Mistakes

Hiring new employees is always a big gamble for organizations of any size. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business or working in a certain industry, sometimes your gut instincts about a certain employee can steer you in the wrong direction.

Certain candidates can look great on paper and they know how to navigate through the interviewing process (in the recruitment business, these are called “professional job interviewees”). They know all the right things to say, how to dress to look professional, and how to conduct themselves in interviews. But that doesn’t always mean they’re a good fit for the job. In fact, it’s impossible to know with certainty whether any candidate is actually a good fit for your business until you’ve actually seen them on the job and given them some time to adjust.

Here are a few things you can do to make the onboarding process a little easier both for you, your existing employees, and your new hires:

  • Give them a human touch. At the end of the day, hiring new employees and onboarding is all about making strong personal and interpersonal connections. Let your new hires and existing employees know that as their employer, you’re always available to support them and provide them with the appropriate resources to help them succeed.
  • Make time for all of your employees. All of your employees are deserving of your time and attention, but make sure to make a little extra time for new employees and don’t fault them for not catching onto things right away. Keep in mind that everyone learns at their own pace and some people may be a little slower to the punch but that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad hire or bad worker.
  • Check in on employees from time to time. Offer support to your employees without being overbearing or micromanaging them.

Need help hiring and onboarding quality candidates?

Resolve Recruit Inc. is one of the leading staffing and recruitment agencies in Ontario. We have a broad database of experienced candidates across all industries and can match you with the right candidates for your organization. Contact us today to learn more.