7 onboarding mistakes you don't want to make

Appical Team
Jessica Heijmans
October 25, 2022
min read
Table of Contents
Do you remember your first working days at a new job? Probably the answer is yes. Because you don't easily forget a first impression. And as a company you'll get only one chance to rock this moment. Providing a good onboarding experience will lead to higher engagement and productivity. But with a bad onboarding experience, chances are that your new employee will turn around.

In this blog we’ve listed a number of important onboarding no-gos:

1. Not ready for the first day at work

Your new employee is waiting for you at the front door of the office on their very first day. But the team works from home today. Oops! And the laptop and login details? Unfortunately they are not ready yet.

The result? An employee who is already confused at 9 in the morning and will not be able to access important systems for the next week. Not really motivating, right? So prepare yourself and make sure you have a plan for the first day of your new employee. Also share this with all colleagues involved. This way you avoid a bad first impression.

2. No preboarding

Imagine this: your new colleague is standing in front of their wardrobe in despair. Will it be my blouse, summer t-shirt or a suit? At random, your new employee chooses his shorts, only to find out at the office that everyone is wearing a 3-piece suit. That's a bummer! And this could have been easily prevented.

Prepare your new employee for the first day of work, so that all uncertainties are removed. Share the dress code, indicate the nearest bus stop and tell them about the lunch options. This is also the time to provide information about the organization in advance.

3. Information overload

It may be very tempting to give your newest team member as much information as possible to get started quickly. But often it has the exact opposite effect: your new hire is overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start. In addition, not even half of it will be remembered. 

Our advice? Split the information into manageable pieces, and share this at different moments in the onboarding process. For example, it is useful to know who your team members are in advance, but you don’t have to immediately know all colleagues from each department in the first week.

It’s also useful to know which systems are being used. Go through these one by one and let the new employee start with this slowly.

4. No check-in moment

You have set up a great onboarding process, and you welcome every new employee with confidence. But what do your new employees actually think? Are they really satisfied with the onboarding process? Or was it perhaps too fast, too slow, or was there an essential part missing?

Always ask your new colleagues how they experienced the onboarding. And whether they are missing anything in this experience. Or just want to add something to it. This way, you don’t only show extra interest towards the employee, but your onboarding process also becomes stronger.

5. Unclear expectations

Only 50 percent of employees worldwide know what is expected of them at work (Gallup). Wow! There is a lot to gain there. When it is clear what is expected of the new employee, they can act accordingly. Setting goals becomes easier and achieving goals too, because the picture is clear.

So always set clear expectations for your employees. Before they start, but also afterwards and in between. There is a good chance that new tasks will be added as time goes on, as the new employee integrates further within the organization. Always ask if they know what is expected and see if that is in line with your vision. Isn't this the case? Then you know there is work to be done!

6. Turning a blind eye to relationships with colleagues

The first day of the new employee has arrived, but only the manager is aware of what exactly needs to be done. Unfortunately, the manager happens to be very busy that day. So last-minute a team member is asked to explain 'some things'. Not only does this show that the manager is not involved enough, the team member is also speechless and the new employee doesn't receive a warm welcome.

What you should do? Inform team members of the arrival of the new teammate in a timely manner. This way they can already send a welcome message. In addition, designate one or two buddies and make a clear division of tasks. It is also useful to share who the employee can turn to with questions. This way he or she doesn’t get the run-around. And good relationships - and therefore involvement - are stimulated from the start.

7. The company culture is not clear

You have the idea that you have shared everything in your onboarding process, but guess what… you have forgotten the 'unwritten rules'. The new employee talks a lot, but it is actually the intention that it is quiet in the office between certain times. The new employee finds a family culture important, but in reality it is a lot more individualistic. And that doesn't match.

Be sure to make this clear to the employee as well. It is best to do this during the job interviews. So don't just ask what the employee does in his or her spare time, but dive deeper into this and ask what he or she really thinks is important in the workplace.

That's it! 7 onboarding mistakes you really don't want to make. Of course it is always useful to know what you can do, but these 'no-gos' should certainly not be missing on your list.

[.callout-small]Are you curious about how you can give your new employees a flying start? Download our whitepaper 'How to create a succesful onboarding journey'.[.callout-small]


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