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Melanie Guy


Melanie Guy, Head of HR

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No laptop, no desk, no phone – a disappointing welcome for 42% of the world’s new employees


A global survey of 4,000 employees from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand, has revealed companies fail to provide basic tools on day one. More than one in four (42%) said that they didn’t have a computer or laptop ready for them when they started.

While the lack of a computer was the most common problem reported by new employees, more than a quarter of those surveyed in Australia, New Zealand and the USA said they didn’t have a phone, and similar numbers arrived to start work with no desk ready for them.

The survey highlights how a significant number of employees encounter poor experiences when they start work in a new organisation and shows how onboarding is a global issue.

Why onboarding matters

Onboarding is a critical period for businesses to engage with a new starter. It’s a time when employees are forming their first impressions and deciding whether or not they’ve made the right decision to work for your company.

The global survey also revealed that 15% of the employees said that they had turned down a job offer due to the problems or issues that they faced during the onboarding process.

This was closely followed by 10% leaving the job after only a few days and 9% leaving the job within months of starting.

Factoring in the cost of recruitment, including time and resources, this kind of employee drop out can have a big impact on business costs, especially when it’s repeated time and again.

Longer term problems and inefficiencies during the onboarding process can lead to difficulty in attracting and retaining new talent and the loss of reputation for your business as an employer.

How can global businesses solve their onboarding issues?

With businesses across the world risking a significant loss of employees and facing increasing recruitment costs, it’s time to wake up to the importance of onboarding.

Between a role being offered and an employee starting work, there are many things that can result in a failure to transform great candidates into effective and engaged employees.

Onboarding should start the moment a role has been offered.

Start demonstrating how your business values its employees from the moment you make the offer.

A well-planned onboarding process can help new employees make a smooth and comfortable transition into your company.

Top tips to help solve onboarding issues

1) Engage with onboardees

Start engaging with your onboardees as soon as you’ve offered them the role. In many cases, there’s a gap between recruitment and employment, when candidates have little or no contact with the company they’re joining.

Bridging that gap, with a robust onboarding process, can help make the move from recruitment to employment a seamless and positive experience for everyone.

Great quality talent won’t wait too long for a written offer, so it’s important to issue offer letters, contracts and any supporting documents quickly and correctly.

Start demonstrating how your business values its employees from the moment you make the offer. Creating a good impression for your employees as they prepare to begin work can determine whether they become engaged with your company quickly – or not at all.

2) Review your current process and gather feedback

Examine your current onboarding process and review documents and communications. Find out what works well and what could be improved to help you construct a more effective onboarding plan.

Encourage honest and open feedback from your existing employees about their experiences of starting in their role and what problems they encountered.

The global survey showed that employees are reluctant to raise issues about onboarding, with almost nine in ten (88%) admitting they had not made a complaint about the onboarding process or their early days with a company.

As you introduce new employees to your business, gather regular and timely feedback. It’s too late to find out after six weeks that something went wrong on their first day, especially if it’s something like a missing laptop or phone that could easily be fixed.

3) Decide who is responsible for onboarding

One of the problems with onboarding is that responsibilities are often shared between recruitment, HR departments and hiring managers, with no one being really clear about what they need to do and when.

Depending on the nature of the role and your organisation, there may be several different departments involved in getting IT, software, hardware, furniture and access to your building in place. Communication is essential for good onboarding.

For too long, businesses have overlooked the onboarding process. If your new starters turn up to find there’s no computer, no desk and no phone, what does that say about your organisation?

Make sure the relevant people in your business know to expect a new onboardee, so that they will be welcomed and collected when they arrive. Building in orientation, introducing colleagues and demonstrating that there’s a well-structured induction planned will also help make your new employee feel engaged and keen to get to work.

4) Use onboarding technology

Getting new employees onboard can put pressure on resources in any business, particularly if you’re regularly hiring large numbers.

Technology can help you manage the onboarding process more efficiently and effectively, e.g. by applying standard templates to offer letters and contracts. It can help eliminate mistakes and ensure that you onboard new employees quickly.

Digital technology can also help identify what needs to be done and by whom throughout the onboarding process. It’s a smart way to work as nothing gets forgotten and everyone, including the onboardee, can be kept up to date.

Poor onboarding is not acceptable

For too long, businesses have overlooked the onboarding process. If your new starters turn up to find there’s no computer, no desk and no phone, what does that say about your organisation?

Creating a positive, professional impression throughout the onboarding process helps engage employees and encourages their commitment to work for your company.

Good employees are hard won. Businesses that have robust onboarding plans and procedures make a positive first step to ensure that great quality talent turns into an effective and engaged workforce.

2 Responses

  1. Greetings…..

    Any chance of details around the size/type of Employer covered in the survey? Reason I ask is that here in New Zealand, most if not every SME I deal with has no idea of what this fancy new word “onboarding” means. They still talk about “induction”, leaving me wonder why the change!! Different for the corporates who employ HR and other various specialists who were probably the very ones who decided for whatever reason[s] we needed a name change.

    Cheers. DonR.

    1. Hi Don,
      Hi Don,

      Thanks for your comment. We carried out the survey with 4000 global employees, therefore the size of the businesses that they work in / have worked in will vary. At webonboarding we refer to employee ‘onboarding’ as the point from taking a preferred candidate to employee so in fact it’s not induction as that usually happens once you have your new hire ‘onboard’. We are finding that this is a very grey area as such and that often businesses of any size are not realising that there is much more that they can do within this time for a new hire. We’d be more than happy to talk some more to you about this and show you show a solution like webonboarding can work. You can contact us on [email protected]. Thank you.

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Melanie Guy

Melanie Guy, Head of HR

Read more from Melanie Guy

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