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5 Mistakes Bosses Make When Onboarding New Hires

When training new employees, everyone has a different training method. However, despite various approaches, there are still a few common mistakes.

5 Mistakes Bosses Make When Onboarding New Hires

Some methods are certainly better than others, but every training method is going to have its hiccups. It also doesn’t help as everyone learns differently than others and each method is going to have to be tailored once you get your new hire started.

Even the most seasoned professional isn’t going to have a perfect onboarding process. Yet, there are plenty of mistakes that only experience can teach you about. We’re going to list the 5 biggest mistakes that bosses make when welcoming their newest team member.

1. Not Introducing the New Hire to Office Culture

Not all office culture is social, but social matter and politics can be prominent. Your new hire knows nothing about the personal histories of the office. She doesn’t even know their first names! While you certainly don’t want to introduce her office gossip, you do want to get her acquainted with the people that she’s going to spend 40+ hours a week with.

You could get creative with the introductions. You could have her shadow several different coworkers with similar responsibilities. You could make a bulletin with her name and picture, and encourage people to talk to her. You could have a little office breakfast with donuts and coffee to help her meet people. Just make sure she feels welcomed and comfortable in her new setting!

2. Boring Videos and Handouts

Everyone has had that job where your “training” is a video done by a guy with the most monotonous voice you’ve ever heard. Then they cap it off by giving you handouts on your job responsibilities in a confusing language with oddly placed pictures. Do not do this to your new hire. There are definitely boring corporate videos they may have to watch as per the rules, but limit this. Put breaks between them. This new person should not start their new job with enthusiasm similar to getting a root canal.

If you don’t have to show them the boring videos, show much more interesting videos. If you can, avoid the videos all together. The purpose is clear, everyone watches those and the money put into those is a one-time thing so it is cost-effective. Truthfully, nobody learns from those videos. So, introduce more people, have them try tasks. Get them involved!

3. Keeping Things the Same

If you have a tried a true training method, good for you! There must be some flexibility in it. Your new hire is a totally different person than the people you’ve hired in the past. You could have two different people with identical backgrounds and they would learn differently. Just like students in school, they have different ways of absorbing the information you are giving them. They could be a visual learner. They could be an auditory learner. You need to be able to get through to your individual new hire!

This is sometimes met with resistance. If it’s worked before, it should work again. Some bosses even get frustrated with their new hires if they don’t learn the exact same as people in the past have. This isn’t fair to the new person. They weren’t involved in the training of those people in the past. They are their own person and as a boss, you are a leader. A good leader finds a way.

4. Not Training At All

This may sound silly, but it’s far more common than you think. When hiring professionals who have been in the business for a while, bosses expect the world of them. They expect these new people to show up and know everything there is. Their skill set might be great and they may acclimate quickly. Expecting them to just automatically fit into a new position in a totally different company isn’t fair. Regardless of skill, some training is always necessary.

Some bosses may think it’s kind of condescending. If they’ve been a bookkeeper for 20 years, is there anything I can teach them? Yes! There is plenty of things you can teach them, often things not related to the technical aspects of the job. Perhaps the program you use at your company is a lot different than the ones they’ve used in the past. Whatever it may be, just introduce it in a friendly way and give them time to adjust.

5. Not Checking In

Sometimes your company has a set procedure for onboarding that has no flexibility. If you work for a corporation that believes that fairness is treating everyone identically, then fine. Just do your best to be available for your new hire. You can’t just pop in the video and turn the lights off like a tired substitute teacher. You really do have to engage with your new hire or you’re going to lose them totally. Then you’ll have to train another when they leave after a short period of time.

They can have questions you aren’t prepared for, and some you don’t even have the answer to. It can be really difficult if you’re training them in a position that you didn’t do yourself. Your job as a boss is to make sure you’re getting them the answers and supporting them through the process. If this one is your first time onboarding someone, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you are learning too! So treat this more as an opportunity for yourself, as well. This person’s success is your success---and their failures are your failures.

Remember, that this person is possibly going to be in this position for a very long time. They are human beings who require support and attention. You are going to be their lifeline for a couple of weeks. You need to make yourself available for them. Training new people can become a new boring routine, but it doesn’t have to be. Investing into your new employees is investing into the company. Happy employees stay and training new people costs time and money. So, make this experience count!


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