Common mistakes employers make when onboarding

by John Hilton09 Dec 2016
The problem with many onboarding programs today is that they are inflexible, according to Morne Swart, Vice President at SumTotal Systems.

Swart told HC that employers need to be able to cater to four generations, each of which brings their own perspective to the team.

“Onboarding must cover a 50-year age range and it’s not,” he said.

“We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach - which is mostly what is happening - and create a flexible program.”

Swart added that onboarding programs typically take about 28 days, however it takes people about eight months to become effective in a position.

“What is also failing in onboarding is that organisations don’t keep it going,” he said.

Swart added that it’s important to immediately reach out to the new hires before they start.

“If new hires get the silent treatment between accepting the hire and starting the job you are really sending the wrong message,” Swart said.

“Reaching out means sending them emails connecting them with the manager, getting a phone call from the manager or even small things like a welcome gift that would make the individual very comfortable with the connection you are trying to create.

“There is a lot of excitement when you have just accepted your offer and we want to keep the momentum going with that excitement.

“All of those things result in an increase of retention by a very large percentage.”

Swart added that it’s also important to make the first day memorable.

“When you ask the question: ‘How was your first day?’ You don’t get a second chance to answer that,” Swart said.

“You don’t want them to say ‘I became disenchanted with the organisation because I didn’t meet anyone’.”

He added that you want them to say they had a fantastic experience and met the team and the leaders.

“The first 90 days is critical to make a connection with your colleagues, to make a connection with the business, to feel supported, and to develop a positive attitude,” he said.

“So we need to make sure that you can set expectations early, establish the right values and create a reason for these people to believe that they have made the right decision.”
 
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