The first day at a new job should be something to look forward to, not worry about. But from technology troubles to meeting miscommunication, new hires can encounter a lot of stressful pitfalls in those first few days or weeks.
That’s why it’s essential for businesses to provide a clear onboarding plan when welcoming new employees or interns. To ensure a smooth process for everyone, here are four onboarding mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1. Failing to prioritize communication
Before their first day of work, your new hire should know their schedule and day-to-day tasks. Get started on the right foot by providing a clear idea of what the work structure and cadence will look like by creating an agenda outlining meetings and projects for at least the first week.
Also, take the time to establish communication pathways, whether that is a weekly check-in call or a quick chat every morning. Don’t leave your new hire in the dark — keep them in the loop and give them space to ask questions.
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Mistake #2. Moving too fast, too soon
Consider providing a slow drip of information so a new employee can take the time needed to set up their computer and email and learn any other tech tools relevant to their work. Also, keep in mind that your new hire will likely need to set aside some time to participate in human resources-led meetings such as new hire orientation or a review of employee benefits and perks.
It’s also helpful to point the new hire toward sources like the company’s blog and website, so they can quickly learn more about the business and get up to date on the latest news. Also, consider scheduling “watercooler-style” chats to help introduce the new hire to other team members.
Mistake #3. Overlooking the value of mentorship
Beyond a new set of responsibilities, a new employee is also acclimating to the work environment and company’s culture. Connect your newest team member to a mentor who can help answer questions and give guidance. A mentor can be an invaluable addition to a new hire’s professional life and can serve as an important resource, especially for the first few weeks.
Mistake #4. Assigning low-value tasks
Show a new team member that you value their time by giving them meaningful work. Be intentional about what projects or tasks you assign and avoid an overload of busywork. Especially with an emerging professional or intern, think about what assignments can help build their skills.
Managers should explain how a new hire’s early projects can help to further the company’s goals. Also, remember to offer feedback and constructive criticism to help orient a new employee.
Help your new hires make a good first impression by providing them with the tools and information they need to settle in and be productive. Being intentional with projects and extending helpful resources during the onboarding process can help make new employees or interns feel like they are welcomed and valued team members right from the start.
Charlie Keohane is a junior at Middlebury College majoring in environmental writing and a 2022 summer intern for Robert Half’s corporate communications team. She is from the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.