What’s Making Your Onboarding Process Inefficient

An image of a pile of puzzle pieces. An HR organization has all the necessary pieces for employee onboarding, but hasn't created a process for it yet.

Bringing on a new employee is always exciting. The department is thrilled for additional support, the new hire is ready for a new start, and the recruiting team is proud to fill another role. However, with all the celebration, the onboarding process can be an afterthought. 

Overlooking the onboarding process can lead to minor inefficiencies like missing an employee’s onboarding documents or HR teams repeating answers to frequently asked questions. However, these minor inefficiencies often come from major organizational problems. Discover the causes of unproductive onboarding and the next step to avoiding them. 

Lack of orientation.

In many organizations, the HR team has to move quickly through onboarding so that they can move on to the next new person. When the HR team has limited time, the first knowledge to go involves job responsibilities, vacation policies, and company background. If the HR department is too busy to focus on orientation during the onboarding process, new hires often have inconsistent and negative experiences. 

In a recent study, ServiceNow asked new hires about their experiences when starting their job. 

  • 33 percent said they received no essential training.
  • 28 percent said they didn’t even receive clearly defined job responsibilities and goals.
  • 26 percent reported not having a clear onboarding process. 
  • 19 percent said they didn’t feel fully onboarded even after three months on the job.

A consistent onboarding process allows everyone to receive the same knowledge and start at a level playing field. When everyone receives different information from day one, there’s a high probability for knowledge gaps within the organization. This can reduce purpose and morale in an organization and lead to larger silos in the organization.  

The silos. 

Like Anton Chekhov famously said, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” When information in an organization isn’t properly communicated, it loses value. 

During the onboarding process, details can slip through the cracks. Imagine a recruiter scheduling a new employee’s start date for Wednesday. The recruiter communicated this with the hiring manager and the onboarding team, and everyone is ready for Wednesday. In the last minute, the hiring manager requests the recruiter to move the start date to Monday. The new employee agrees to Monday and comes in bright and early. But, no one is there to welcome the new teammate on Monday because no one updated the onboarding team!

Now the onboarding team has to scramble at the last minute to get all the necessary employee onboarding documents ready, the new employee feels confused and unwelcome, and the hiring manager is focusing on the mishap at hand instead of their work. If you think this is uncommon, think again.

When teammates don’t share knowledge, onboarding can go downhill fast. This ultimately puts the onboarding team in a box where they can only focus on transactional problems instead of operating as a resource that helps the company and employees.

The same ServiceNow survey revealed that employees report spending 40 percent of a workday on busywork. This can be extremely detrimental to the onboarding team when they should be focused on welcoming new employees. 

Unaccessible and inaccurate information. 

The knowledge that the onboarding team dishes out during the first few days can be a lot to take in, and sometimes people forget the things they learn. And sometimes the onboarding process doesn’t include the knowledge in the first place. Bottom line, it’s common for employees to ask questions once they’re settled in. 

When those questions come up, the new employee has to reach out to a person in the organization, but they don’t always know who, which takes up everyone’s time. Consider a new teammate asking their manager or coworker a question. Their manager or coworker may not know the answer if it’s in the HR wheelhouse, like employee onboarding documents. The manager or coworker may provide an answer, but there’s a big chance their answer isn’t up to date. Maybe the HR team changed the payroll process. Maybe the HR team moved the company to a new medical provider. Now, not only is there inconsistent information floating around the company—but it’s just plain wrong. 

Let’s say the coworker or manager redirects the new teammate to the HR department. Now the HR department is providing answers to frequently asked questions instead of focusing on value-driven work.

The wasted time, inefficient processes, and loss of knowledge is rampant when the onboarding process (and the organization) lacks structure. 

If you resonate with these points, stay tuned for our second article. In it, we’ll cover employee onboarding checklists and automation in HR processes that can streamline employee onboarding documents and answer frequently asked questions.

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