The 9 Biggest Onboarding Challenges in 2023 and How to Overcome Them
Have you or your company found yourselves facing (remote) onboarding challenges this year?
If so, you're not alone. A recent Gallup poll found that only 12% of employees believe their company has a great onboarding process.
In the era of the Great Resignation, this is cause for corporate alarm.
Employees start looking elsewhere if they feel their company does not satisfactorily ease them into their roles. In turn, integrating them into the company infrastructure becomes more difficult.
But what virtual onboarding challenges will employees and people operations face the most in 2022?
And what can you do to overcome them?
⚠️ Challenges in onboarding for employees
Just as a company does market research on consumer wants and needs, routine internal research on employee satisfaction is equally helpful.
Unsurprisingly, companies that conduct this kind of employee research have discovered a few challenges of remote onboarding that seem to be consistently popping up.
Check out some of the most frequent ones below.
😪 1. Bridging the gap between signing and the start date
The gap between contract signings and start dates can be alarmingly wide in some countries. Take Germany, for example, where the average interim period is three months. Unfortunately, a lot can happen during this time, from cultivating a lack of confidence in the company among new hires to new hires seeking out other roles altogether.
How can companies ease new hires' fears during this interim period?
Tip #1: Hit the ground running with a robust preboarding process.
Tip #2: Better yet, take note of companies like Continu. They send their new hires "welcome"-type care packages alongside the first steps of the onboarding process interspersed with motivational messages.
Even simple engagements like these can greatly boost employee retention rates down the road.
😫 2. An inconsistent and unstructured onboarding process
A solid remote onboarding process can lead to an astronomical 70% increase in new hire productivity. Yet, many new hires face inconsistencies, gaps in information, and a lack of clarity.
An unstructured remote onboarding plan is doomed to fail.
Tip #1: Plan out your onboarding plan in 30-, 60-, and 90-day increments to set clear goals when virtually onboarding new hires. At Zavvy, each segment of our 30-60-90 onboarding plan comes with unique tasks to complete and milestones to reach every stage of the onboarding process.
Tip #2: Give your new hires access to an asynchronous resource center that can transparently address and answer their onboarding concerns. This round-the-clock type of support can do a lot to ease new hires' fears when it comes to joining the company.
🤯 3. Information overload
With so much paperwork for new hires to complete before formally beginning, it's no wonder that information overload is one of the top contributors to a poor onboarding experience. However, there are a couple of solutions to manage this onslaught of information.
Tip: For starters, send out paperwork and other relevant information gradually to lower the chances of overwhelming your new hires. Being overwhelmed from the very start can lead to higher employee turnover down the road.
Another solution is to automate certain aspects of new hire paperwork.
eLearning discovered that onboarding processes with automated manual tasks enjoyed an employee retention rate that was 16% higher than the average. Additionally, they found an 18% increase in performance on initial tasks within the role.
In short, automation delivers results when it comes to tackling the challenges of remote onboarding.
😕 4. Unclear roles
Among the top reasons employees are likely to leave a new job within six months of being hired unclear roles is one of them, as Zippia discovered. However, this is where a little structuring can go a long way in your remote onboarding process.
Tip #1: For starters, clearly flesh out the tasks and responsibilities within each role.
Tip #2: Structure and role clarity are a potent one-two punch when onboarding new hires. A structured process will offer answers to any role-specific questions. This leaves employees more time to develop the skills they'll need to succeed.
Tip #3: Role clarity does not strictly refer to listing job responsibilities but also setting clear goals and milestones.
Tip #4: Celebrate when employees hit key goals and milestones. Small wins like this can steadily boost employee morale over the long term. For example, you can create a slack channel for celebrating key milestones.
😢 5. The missing human connection
There's no denying that the heart of an excellent virtual onboarding process is a solid human connection. Effective onboarding should leave new hires feeling welcomed, understood, and fully clear on what tasks their roles entail.
In a post-COVID world where remote onboarding has become the norm, the need for human connections has become more crucial than ever.
It is almost unavoidable to feel isolated and alienated when working alone day in, day out.
How can new hires feel like part of a new team and company if they are all so intangible?
Building a remote employee onboarding process on the foundation of shared human connection is a great way to set your new hires up for success.
Tip: As crucial as role training is for new hires, do not forget that you must also help them build trust, cohesion, and collaboration with their new teams. A buddy program is a great way to set this in motion.
➡️ Discover more tips for integrating remote employees into your company's culture, team, and processes.
❗ Challenges in onboarding for people operations staff and companies
As people ops or HR staff, we know that you also face multiple challenges in ensuring a rewarding onboarding process.
After all, you are the ones that structure and manage the process from start to finish.
Below are some of the most common obstacles people operations employees tackle when onboarding new hires. You might find yourself in many of these challenges, so check our proposals to overcome them.
✍️ 1. Managing manual tasks
As they say, the devil is in the details, which usually take shape as manual tasks in the virtual onboarding process.
Some of the most common (and arguably most tedious!) onboarding manual tasks include the following:
- Sending periodic emails to each new hire.
- Scheduling introductions, orientations, and other meetings with various departments for each new hire.
- Drafting and sharing regular progress updates.
- Dispatching daily reminders to new hires, employees, and department heads.
- Offering monthly content refreshes on how to use various company tools.
The list certainly goes on–and not without added stress for whoever is spearheading the entire production.
Tip #1: This is precisely why automating manual tasks like the ones mentioned above can save everyone time, effort, and energy.
Tip #2: Automation also prevents inconsistencies from surfacing and ensures that your new employee experience does not take a hit.
🧑🏻💻 2. Creating a robust remote work culture
There's no denying that remote work presents unique challenges when trying to foster a lively and authentic company culture.
Ironically, some remote work setups can leave employees feeling more burned out compared to an in-office setting, as Business Insider discovered.
So a central question to a thriving remote work environment is: what's the best way to engage people sitting alone in the same spot for eight hours a day?
Tip #1: In our experience, you can't go wrong with a game of coffee or lunch roulette.
As the name implies, coffee or lunch roulette is a fun and casual way of helping new hires get to know one another. These informal gatherings can happen before, during, or after official work hours. The sky's the limit when it comes to themes, too.
Tip #2: Consider onboarding gamification to engage your remote employees. For example, we recommend trivia games or 21 Questions-type interviews. Kahoot is great for all things quiz- and trivia-related.
➡️ Discover more exciting ideas to make employee onboarding fun.
But the benefits of these informal meetings extend beyond lighthearted fun–regularly implementing them can be an excellent way to establish a sense of routine from afar.
After all, psychological safety is one of the most important factors in cultivating a robust and authentic remote work environment.
Tip #3: Routine "watercooler gatherings" can provide new hires with much-needed connection and engagement opportunities. These, in turn, foster new hire trust and confidence in the company as a whole. They can also be a fun and organic way to reiterate company values throughout the remote onboarding process.
📈 3. Missing progress tracking
It can be difficult to measure progress if you don't have a structured plan for measuring it. This is where a detailed progress tracking plan comes in. Without it, you may miss critical opportunities to improve certain aspects of your virtual onboarding process (and see what is working as well).
Tip #1: Whether creating a handy checklist of tasks to accomplish or an Excel sheet mapping out daily activities and their results, you have plenty of options for structuring your new hires' progress tracking plan.
Tip #2: With Zavvy, you can easily track your new hires' progress anc completion rates throughout their onboarding journeys.
🚀 4. Reporting on the benefits of onboarding
Assume you want to convince higher management of the need for an onboarding solution. However, it can be hard to gain approval if you cannot clearly show any new solution's ROI.
Let's assume you got the approval, but management is not sold yet on the value of paying for one more HR software solution. So, you must start collecting data to make your case.
Tip #1: Start by gauging the current pain points of your new hires. You will probably want to measure some (if not all) of the following onboarding KPIs:
- new hire journey completion rate;
- new hire time to productivity;
- new hire training effectiveness;
- onboarding satisfaction rate;
- new hire engagement rate;
Tip #2: Stay in touch with your employees throughout their onboarding journey with a pulse survey. Gauge their satisfaction and perceptions of the support they have received so far. Do you have some historical data to compare?
➡️ Overcome onboarding challenges with Zavvy
The good news is all of these challenges can be tackled and overcome with a single tool: Zavvy's employee onboarding software.
Our software platform handles manual onboarding tasks so that you can focus on building your brand and boosting productivity.
We know success is better when achieved together, which is why we go above and beyond to provide resources that strengthen your company's virtual onboarding process from the ground up.
Zavvy ensures you spend less time on tedious manual tasks and more on establishing meaningful connections with your new hires.
Book a free 30 minute demo and start providing rewarding onboarding experiences.