HR & Management

Employers are failing to implement effective onboarding processes

4 min read

25 September 2018

Reporter, Real Business

A study has revealed that HR teams and new employees hold disparate values about what constitutes effective onboarding.

New research has revealed that whilst many businesses, or at least their HR departments, believe they make efforts to integrate new employees into their teams, the reality is that many fail to do so properly.

This has been backed up by research conducted by Belgian based Vlerick Business School and HR software company, Talmundo. It revealed that 40% of employees felt they did not receive the minimum support requirements when starting a new job.

The Europe-wide study sought to bridge the knowledge gap between increasingly disappointed employees and seemingly unaware HR professionals. Here are the findings.

Onboarding: Great HR lingo but light on implementation

For all the non-HR people out there, onboarding denotes the process whereby an employee is welcomed, or integrated into a new company. Onboarding is top of the HR vocabulary for people working in the sector. However, the study has shown that onboarding is more rooted in language than it is in workplace-based practice.

What do new employees say?

Well, they’re saying plenty of things, but none of them are glowing reports about onboarding experiences. Some 43% said it took a week for them to gain access to a basic workstation and administrative tools.

“The HR professionals who participated in the study were of the opinion that onboarding is incredibly important, and yet 34% of employees have not witnessed such a program at their organization at all.”  – Dirk Buyens, Vlerick Business School

Whilst it is widely acknowledged that offices are mighty busy places, it’s essential that HR teams prepare an onboarding plan for the integration of a new employee before they even start.

This should include preparing a welcome-sheet with all their log-in and workstation requirements.

It will cut down on time-wasting fuss when they arrive. Over half of employees asked said their integration period was rushed, and only lasted the first month on the job. This is despite an estimated  48% of HR professionals understanding that the onboarding process should last for at least the first three months of an employee’s working life in a new company.

The gulf is vast, what should we do about it?

Allowing for the gap between well-intended but meaningless HR rhetoric and increasingly dissatisfied new employees to continue will only damage company reputations further, leading to high rates of staff owner, and some rather disparaging remarks on glassdoor.

Whilst it’s understandable that HR professionals, like all other members of workplace teams, are under increasing pressure to multi-task under strict deadlines, they are not doing their jobs properly if HR care is left at the entrance door of employment.

Effective onboarding management requires care, attention and continuous support for the new employee before, and during their first few months of employment.

Failure to do this because of perceived time constraints will only cut down on working productivity further down the line when the new employee has to rely on already busy colleagues for basic administrative information and access to tools.

So, HR teams and hiring managers, listen to the feedback from the people you employed if you want higher integration, productivity and employment reputation in your place of work.

Hear their stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly.