There’s plenty of content out there on making sure your new employee has an awesome first day – and tips for seamless onboarding and induction. But, what are the key mistakes every employer should avoid during the employee induction process and when introducing a new staff member into the team?
Providing a great first impression to a new starter is vital for your business – it ensures a low staff turnover rate and overall higher employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing. That’s why I’m here to tell you all the BIG employee onboarding and induction mistakes I’ve seen over the years, so you don’t make them when the time comes.
Mistake #1. Not following up with a new starter in the lead up to their first day
So you’ve made the candidate a job offer, set a start date and then… radio silence. Why?
I’m not saying you need to pester the poor person everyday until they start with countdown-like announcements – but checking in a few days before their first day just to remind them of anything important they might need to bring, or giving them a run through of how the day will go might help them feel more at ease. Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking so making sure they’re at-ease before they start goes a long way.
Mistake #2. Not being prepared for your employee induction
Always be prepared. If someone is coming to start a new job, it’s your responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to get up and running as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Any uniform they might need
Equipment such as laptops, safety equipment, tools etc
Login details or access codes to different company systems
It’s not the new starter’s job to sit on the phone to IT for hours on their first day because they can’t login to your super-secure system. And they shouldn’t have to bring in their personal laptop because you forgot to order them one.
Make sure their work space is clean, tidy and set up ready to go! Remember, it’s all about setting a good first impression so another tip is to make sure all the equipment you have given them actually works.
In our webinar on ‘How to create an awesome first day’ we talk in more detail about nice touches you can make to really make a good first impression on an employee’s first day.
Mistake #3. Overloading your new starter with information
Don’t overwhelm your new starter with too much information. This could result in them feeling disheartened and that they’re not a good fit for the role. Instead of having a full-on induction day, why not try an induction week? So that your new starter has plenty of time to learn the ropes at their own pace.
💡Insider tip: Something we implemented earlier in the year at Employment Hero HQ is that we now start all new employees on a Wednesday. This means they have 3 days of training, induction sessions and welcome meetings that teach them everything they need to know about the business and their new role. They then have the weekend to digest it all, do some independent work if they need to and then come in fresh on the Monday ready to deep dive into their new role.
Don’t just think of induction as ‘one of those things you have to do’. Instead think of how you can create an induction journey for your new starters that’s efficient but also helpful and manageable.
Mistake #4. Handing them a mountain of paperwork
The classic mountain of paperwork imagery that we all know and love is back… but it’s still as true as ever. No new employee wants to start off their new career with a large amount of paperwork to sieve through.
One of our heroes recently wrote a blog showcasing exactly how our HR tech can help you eliminate this stack of paperwork for your new starters – and why it’s appreciated so much by employees. New starters want to be doing more exciting things on their first day, and focus on learning as much as possible.
Mistake #5. Impersonal experiences during employee induction
Make your new employees feel like one of the team, not just another number to the business payroll.
Think outside the box for ways you can personalise their induction process into your business. Whether that’s a welcome card on their desk, a name card hanging in their work station or a friendly email to the rest of the workforce introducing them to the business.
💡Insider tip: At Employment Hero we get all our new starters to feel out a short and sweet bio about themselves which includes a bit more information about them, their Linkedin profile and a quote about why they are excited to join the Employment Hero team. We then send this round to the entire business so everyone can learn a little more about our new starter.
Mistake #6. Not introducing them to the team or wider company
This leads us nicely onto our next mistake that’s all too common. Mistake number 6 is not introducing your new starter to the team and wider business. You want them to feel at home as soon as possible, so make sure everyone knows who they are, why they are there and that they are welcomed.
Mistake #7. Assuming your new starter knows the lingo
Your team might not be using universal or industry specific language, so you shouldn’t assume that your new starter knows what you’re talking about.
If you regularly abbreviate words or use acronyms a lot in your day-to-day, try to remember to explain them. Or, why not go that extra step for your new starters by creating a cheat sheet or glossary? This means that every new starter will always have something they can use as a resource to get themselves up to speed with the business lingo. This is something a few of our internal teams have introduced and the positive effects have been noticeable.
Mistake #8. Not asking for feedback
Feedback is key for any growing business, and this is the same as growing your people. Don’t bombard them with feedback questionnaires on their first day. We suggest sending them a few brief questions at the end of their employee induction process and again at the end of their probation to get some honest feedback about how they found the process.
If the new starter finishes the new employee induction or onboarding process without knowing their main responsibilities of the new role, something wasn’t made clear to them. And that fault is on you.
You want them to have a firm understanding of how the team operates, how their role fits into that and what their key goals will be throughout their time at the company.
Mistake #10. You stop training
Just because the induction process is over, don’t stop supporting your new employee with their professional development. Make sure there’s always a way for them to learn more information – whether that’s about the company or specific to their job role.
To do this successfully, it’s good to get a good idea of their goals from the start and then you can schedule regular catch-ups with them and their working manager for a progress report. We also have a VERY exciting new feature coming very soon to Employment Hero that will help your business creating a culture of learning… I’ll just leave this information about Hero Learning right here.
What do the people have to say about their employee induction?
We asked some of our employment heroes for their best and worst onboarding experiences throughout their careers. To show you exactly what employees expect on their first day, and what an employee doesn’t appreciate.
Megan Bonnett Marketing Team at Employment Hero
“In one of my first jobs out of university, I showed up on my first day and my desk wasn’t ready, there was no computer set up and the old recruit still had all their stuff on the desk so I had to sit on the edge of my new managers desk for the whole day. I spent my time watching the manager work. This made me feel like the new business I was involved with were extremely unprofessional and unorganised – which was a precedent for the rest of my time with them.
The CEO also didn’t know the Events and Marketing team were hiring a new employee… so he was surprised when I rocked up to the office for my first day and asked, ‘Who is this?’ to my new teammates.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
❎ No matter if it’s a senior role or an intern, always make sure your new starter feels welcome, and that the whole business knows they’re starting so you don’t put them in an awkward position.
❎ Also be prepared, have their desk, equipment and another else they need ready to go so they don’t feel like a spare part on their first day
“Something I loved about my induction experience at Employment Hero is that I was buddied up with another new starter in the marketing team. This meant we went to all our induction and learning meetings together so it wasn’t as overwhelming.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
✅ A ‘buddy system’ is a great way to make new starters feel more comfortable on their first day
Charlotte Shaw Recruitment Specialist at Employment Hero
“One of my first jobs was for a charity, I turned up on my first day and there was no desk space for me, no laptop and I spent the day on the phone to IT support trying to get myself set up. It was very frustrating and a bit of a disappointing first day.
I had a very similar experience in another job. I turned up ready to make a good first impression and show them what I could do. But when I arrived I didn’t have a laptop or log-in details. I also didn’t have a direct manager as she was starting 2 weeks after me. This meant for 2 weeks I had no work and I soon discovered they were still fleshing out what my role would actually entail which made me feel very uneasy. I quit after 3 months…”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
❎ Bad preparation, or a lack of it at all seems to be a common theme in bad induction experiences. It can make your business seem unprofessional, unorganised and give your new recruit a bad first impression
❎ Always make sure the role is set out and clear to the employee before they start. If a role is constantly changing within your first few weeks it will make the new starter feel on edge and unsettled. If the role changes dramatically and it’s not what they signed up for, they will leave your business very fast.
“The best induction experience I’ve had has been here at Employment Hero – Alex, who is my direct manager, sent me an induction schedule before I joined. She was in regular contact with me up until my start date. When I arrived, my laptop and desk was set up and ready to go (they even put a few goodies on there for me!). I had an HR induction session to fill me in on the companies background and really felt set up to hit the ground running in my new role.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
✅ Keep your new starters in the loop before their first day
✅ Include insightful information about the companies background and other information in induction content so your new starter feels part of the team straight away
Mark Sendecky Marketing Team at Employment Hero
“A company I worked for started out great with their induction. I was taken on a tour, introduced around the office and shown a pretty fancy presentation. But after that, I headed to my desk and was presented with the only Mac in the office which none of the staff knew the login details for. So, I spent ¾ of the day on the phone to IT support trying to figure out how to use my computer only to be told “I’m sorry we don’t support Macs”.
It got worse… there weren’t any policies to read or signs which I thought was odd. When I asked a fellow colleague if there was any, he said “just stay clear of the bosses wife, that’s the only policy you need around here.” I shockingly lasted 6 months in that business.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
❎ Make sure you have policies in place so your new starter knows what is what in the business
❎ It shouldn’t be the new starters responsibility to set themselves up on the company software. Be prepared and get them access to anything they might need before they arrive on their first day.
“In contrast the job I ended up in after that had a great induction process which consisted of an online course that you needed to complete out prior to starting (with policies and emergency procedures). On my first day I was given all the right paperwork and details to log into the systems I needed, they even provided me with a great 1 pager that explained everything in a nutshell and they had a team welcome lunch prepared!”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS:
✅ Make your new starters feel like part of the team straight away by taking them for a team lunch or coffee. This also means they can introduce themselves to everyone in a less intimidating or formal setting.
Some Concluding Thoughts on Employee Induction
We hope these living examples of the good, the bad and the ugly side of onboarding and induction help you gain even more insight into how you can smoothly transition someone into your business (the right way!). Avoid the mistakes of businesses past and make sure your business is doing right by all your new starters!
If you want more information on what employees expect from their employers download our insight report on what Australian employees really want from their employers. The report includes;
What benefits they most desire
Eyebrow raising statistics regarding the financial health of the Australian workforce
How employers can assist their employees when it comes to allowing salaries to stretch further and providing flexible pay
Alex Hattingh is the Chief People Officer at Employment Hero and she has over 15 years experience in people management. Alex derives energy and passion from helping both companies and their employees succeed. Alex’s roles have covered large Fortune 500 companies through to start-ups.