17 Common Employee Onboarding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

By Alex
August 2, 2021

The employee onboarding process is an opportunity to set a new employee up for success, but too often, it’s not done well.

Here are 10 employee onboarding mistakes that companies make and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Not Spending Enough One-on-One Time with New Employee

Part of employee onboarding is getting everyone up to speed. Sometimes, this means new employees have to train with multiple team members who are all busy. This often leads to the employee feeling like they don’t actually know anyone in their new role.


You want your employee to finish the employee onboarding process knowing that they have a few people they can reach out to for help when needed.

How you avoid it:

Set aside time with each employee after employee onboarding is over. This way, they feel connected in the organization.

2. Not Giving Enough Information During the Onboarding Process

Employees need information about what will be expected of them during their first few weeks to hit the ground running at full speed. They don’t want to have to learn the ropes while dealing with their normal workload.

How you avoid it:

Send out employee onboarding guides that outline employees’ roles and responsibilities. If everything isn’t in there, ask employees questions during employee onboarding. These questions can then be added to the employee onboarding guide.

3. Not Providing Virtual Tools or Resources So Employees Can Learn on Their Own Time

Employees often won’t take the time to review information about their jobs unless they find it interesting or valuable. And this happens a lot when new tools keep popping up every few months. If your employee has a question about something and doesn’t know where to find the answer, they probably won’t bother asking you anyway.

How you avoid it:

By the time an employee starts work, they should know the employee intranet site or employee learning center exists. This way, employees could easily find answers to their questions online instead of going through a supervisor or manager.

4. Not Having an Employee Checklist for What Needs to Get Done Before New Employee Starts

New employee handbooks aren’t enough for new hires. Break down employee onboarding into smaller chunks so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done before the employee pre-boarding process. This can include tasks like setting up employee email accounts and implementing employee training programs.

How you avoid it:

Make sure you have an employee checklist in place. This way, no employee onboarding tasks are forgotten during the process. The worst feeling is starting your first day at work and realizing there’s still a lot you haven’t done yet.

5. Not Creating a Plan for Employee Training During Onboarding

Don’t wait until the onboarding is over to start preparing for employee training. Your company doesn’t want to pay employees who can’t do their jobs, and new employees don’t want to feel like they are struggling.

Creating a curriculum for employee training will ensure you have all employee onboarding duties covered before training starts. That new employee will be sitting around doing nothing while their coworkers get trained.

How you avoid it:

Have a plan in place so employee training can begin immediately when employee onboarding ends. This way, employees can start working on day one instead of being sidelined until employee training is over.

6. Not Communicating How New Employee Can Get Help During Onboarding

A huge part of employee onboarding is getting everyone up to speed. And this sometimes means your employees might need help from team members.

Make sure the employee handbook outlines how employees can get help from anyone at any time. Or else, make a plan with your new employee for when and who they can ask questions about during employee onboarding.

How you avoid it:

Have new employees meet every person on their team in the first few days of employee onboarding. That way, they know exactly who is available to answer questions for them when they need help.

Often, new employees don’t ask questions because they aren’t sure where to start. Make getting answers easy by having an employee who knows who is around when needed.

7. Not Including Anything Performance Related During Employee Onboarding

Employee handbooks outline employees’ performance expectations. But employee onboarding is the best time to let employees know what it takes to succeed at work. This includes employee goals and how employees can meet them, employee development opportunities, or special training programs available.

How you avoid it:

Include information about employee performance in employee onboarding materials like email and meetings with supervisors. Ensure new employees understand their day-to-day roles and how they can contribute to company goals from the start.

8. Not Going Over Internal Communications During Employee Onboarding

Employees who just started work need to understand internal communication channels. That way, everyone knows where they can go for employee questions or information.

Employee handbooks will outline employee communication expectations. Employee onboarding meetings should make employees aware of all employee communications channels, including employee intranet site, employee newsletter, internal blogs, comment boxes, etc.

How you avoid it:

Make sure employee is familiar with employee intranet site as soon as they start work. That way, they won’t need to spend time looking for the information they need. To a greater extent, when your company has many different communication channels like blogs, social media sites, text message alerts.

9. Not Involving New Employee In the Onboarding Process

Some new employees will love an activity-filled few days with team-building exercises and training seminars. But others won’t want all the attention just because they have started a job. To make sure everyone feels like part of the team right away, employees need help during the onboarding process.

How you avoid it:

Make employees part of the employee onboarding process from the start. This can happen by getting employee feedback on the handbook and providing employees with information about career development opportunities. You can also include employees in meetings that discuss company news and making sure the team has the opportunity to welcome new employees.

10. Not Providing New Employee With Continuous Support During Onboarding

Some employees might be satisfied with their first couple of weeks at work because they were busy with training or orientation. Others might spend their first month trying to learn as much as possible about company culture and how things work before they really feel like a real part of the team. Employees should get plenty of support during the onboarding process to make them feel like they belong at that workplace.

How you avoid it:

Even if an employee has just started working, they should be able to talk with someone who can help them find answers to their needs during employee onboarding. So an employee won’t have to go through a supervisor or manager. And this will show a new employee how important they are for the company.

11. Not Offering New Employee Mentoring Program During Onboarding

Many companies offer mentoring programs for employees once they start working. But sometimes management doesn’t think about new employees and what they need from their first day on the job.

Managers might not realize that mentorship is a huge part of getting acclimated to new employee roles. They are likely to overlook employee who needs it most (especially if the employee doesn’t know anyone in the company yet).

How you avoid it:

If the employee is new, they should have access to a mentorship program as part of the employee onboarding process. The employee can have someone help them learn about company culture, what is expected from employees, and how things work. Basically, anything that might be challenging for employees because of lack of experience.

12. Not Showing New Employee Why Company Is a Great Place to Work

Employees need to feel like their contributions matter. They also need to know how employee innovation ties into the overall success of the company.

New employees must start with a positive viewpoint about their ability to make the company better as they join the team.

How you avoid it:

Employees need to know the organization’s vision and mission. They also need to read the company value statement to know they are part of something bigger than just their roles as employees company. This helps an employee see the workplace in the big picture.

13. Not Training Employees How to Use Software They Need for Work

Managers know how important software and technology are for business, and obviously, they want employees to use company-approved programs for tasks. However, not all managers tell onsite and remote employees what apps are most popular with staff or why they can help an employee with daily tasks.

How you avoid it:

Before an employee starts working, they should be properly trained on using employee-related apps that the company uses for work. An employee needs to learn about technology during employee onboarding. And managers should do a good job of explaining how the app works.

14. Not Offering Employee Opportunities to Learn About Company Culture

During onboarding, it is practically impossible for any employee to really know what it is like working in a company unless they spend time talking to employees already working for the company. New employees need to know more about current employees’ opinions on certain issues or topics such as best employee benefits and what employee schedule looks like on an average day.

How you avoid it:

Include optional employee team activities as part of employee onboarding. This way, new employees will have a chance to meet with current company employees before starting work.

15. Not Training New Employees on Paperwork or Tasks for First Few Weeks of Work

New employees need time to get through paperwork or learn about tasks required for daily job duties before they can begin working effectively. However, many employee onboarding mistakes happen when employee orientation doesn’t offer enough training to keep employees from staying behind at the beginning of employment.

How you avoid it:

Managers should make sure that the employee onboarding process includes information that will help new employees stay on top of employee paperwork and tasks.

You can also check out these best practices outlined by the pros.

16. Not Listening to Employee Ideas or Feedback

New employees want to feel like they can contribute, especially if coming from another job where their ideas were never heard. There is a lot for employees to learn during the first few weeks of work, so sometimes they will have some great suggestions that should be taken into consideration by upper management. For example — how the work schedule could be adjusted to employee needs.

How you avoid it:

Have an employee onboarding plan that provides employees with the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns without being punished. Managers need to encourage their employees and welcome feedback to be successful in the long run.

17. Not Explaining How Employee Benefits Are Used or What They Cost

Employers need to educate new employees about employee benefits as soon as possible. That way, they know what their employee health insurance plan covers or how employee 401k plans work.

The consequence of not doing this is that employee benefits are most likely going to be misused. And this can lead to long-term employee health issues and a bad employee retirement situation.

How you avoid it:

Managers must teach new employees about employee benefits during the onboarding process. Employees need to learn all information regarding employee benefits and how they work for them.

Avoid These Employee Onboarding Mistakes

Employee onboarding may seem like a simple process, but employers can make many employee onboarding mistakes. Employee orientation is an important part of employee training and needs to be treated accordingly. With the right employee onboarding strategy, new employees should feel welcomed and confident as they start their new jobs.

We hope that we have managed to help you understand the employee onboarding process and employee onboarding mistakes in a new light. If you would like to read more interesting information, keep reading our posts.


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