Onboarding mistakes companies do and how you can avoid them

Avatar of Seb Waterfield

Seb Waterfield

Marketing Communications Manager at Teamtailor with a particular interest in work culture and diversity and inclusion.

So, you just signed your dream talent (yay!) and now comes the step that could, but shouldn't happen: the dreaded onboarding mistakes. You can understand a lot about a company by the way they onboard their new employees. Onboarding is not just about showcasing your company culture , it is actually one of the critical steps that creates culture. 

Get it wrong and your new employees will probably feel less engaged, take longer to feel comfortable in their new role and leave sooner. But, if you get it right it’s ✨magic ✨. Your new recruit will feel better about the company, step up to full productivity faster, understand and align with the company goals and stay longer. 

Onboarding is a critical process within HR and it determines whether you will give a great employee experience and drive a successful company or not. Data shows that 15% of new talents quit within the first six months When asked what the main reason was, it was the lack of good onboarding.

Grab a coffee, keep on reading and we will give you examples on onboarding mistakes companies do and how you can avoid them. 

Lack of pre-boarding

Many companies just want to sign the new recruit and tick it off their list but this would be your first mistake. Few companies have a pre-boarding process that would teach the new hires about the company policies, the workplace and the service or product. What we at Teamtailor do (and my tip to you!) is to send home a welcome package. Here’s what you should include:


    • A one-pager about the service/product you have
    • An employee handbook
    • A link to webinars or training sessions on how to use the tools your company uses on a daily basis (e.g. Hubspot, Planhat, Slack etc)
    • An organizational chart, that tells the newbie who does what
    • A guide on company policies 
    • A list of the team members they will work  closest with
    • And merch, everyone loves merch. Not only that, but it is great for announcing a new role- on Linkedin. 

An unstructured onboarding program

Structure might sound boring but trust us, it will help you with your onboarding process. We will dig deeper into this later but your onboarding checklist should include:


    • Early onboarding: share relevant information that will help your new hire to get going for the first few days.
    • New hire onboarding: welcome kit, team lunch, invite to recurring meetings, invite to chat groups etc.
    • First week: schedule coffee chats with colleagues and provide your new hire with a tasklist (e.g. what to download to the computer etc.)
What is important is to make sure that your new hire has everything they need on their first day. With that we mean things such as tech equipment, keys and tags etc.

Unclear goals and expectations

Being the newbie is always tough, and lack of great two-way communication makes it even harder. If your new hire doesn't know who to talk to when they have questions, they are probably going to start questioning their performance and capabilities. Unclear goals and expectations can lead to unnecessary anxiety, which is  why a great onboarding process is crucial. New employees take approximately six months to get the hang of their work in a new company. A little tip from us: goals are much easier to visualize how to reach if they are broken down into smaller tasks. For example, your new employee might be tasked with   reading and understanding a dashboard. 


Lack of good feedback and support

Feedback is more than just “negative feedback” (we like to call it developmental feedback) on mistakes.. It's important to also give feedback and recognize success. You can think of it as 80% of feedback should be on the great things your new employees have achieved and 20% development feedback A tip is to keep the format on how you give the feedback the same. Feedback should also be two-way, so remember to give room for your new employee to give feedback to managers. But, giving good feedback is hard, so here are some tips on how to do it: 


    • Gather feedback by sending out anonymous surveys
    • Analyze feedback with your management team and HR
    • Act on (and use!) the feedback gathered by implementing changes or compromises
    • Follow up on feedback to show your employees that they are taken seriously and appreciated

Not providing the right tools and resources

Think back to your first day at a previous job (or your current one). Did you show up only to find out that your workstation hadn’t been set up? Or that the software and tools you need were missing? Not a great onboarding experience, right? New employees shouldn’t have to go on a treasure hunt for supplies. What is important to remember is that HR and the management team worked hard for the new recruit, so keep the onboarding great to keep your company's reputation great. Our tip is to have a checklist to avoid scenarios like this. 

With Teamtailor as your ATS you can be sure that your onboarding, whether it is in person or remote, will be great. We have partnered with HiBob to create a warm and streamlined experience for your new hires. With HiBob’s onboarding workflows it will help you to automate your onboarding processes, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. Give your people a warm welcome and positive onboarding experience with opportunities to get to know the company, their new colleagues and the company culture. Read more about our partners here