5 mistakes to avoid when onboarding new team members

Ghina Fahs
April 7, 2023
5 mistakes to avoid when onboarding new team members
Core HR
Employee experience
Best practices

As an employer or hiring manager, the onboarding process can be one of the most critical aspects of bringing on a new employee. It's where you set the tone, provide direction, and ultimately, retain your newest talent. Onboarding is the first impression that you give your new employees once they accept your job offer, so don’t take it lightly—it has the power to make or break the employee experience that your company offers.

Unfortunately, many companies fall short in the onboarding process, which can lead to high turnover rates and unhappy employees. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, as much as 20% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, and 1 in 25 employees will leave their job due to a poor onboarding experience.

Don’t worry, though—the solutions are quite simple and we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of onboarding mistakes you should be watching out for to make your onboarding process a totally delightful experience for all.

Mistake #1: Neglecting to prepare beforehand

Onboarding should start before the first day of work. If you’re not planning ahead and starting the onboarding process before the first day, you’re missing opportunities to make a great impression early on, and help new joiners hit the ground running and transition comfortably into their new role.

As for the employee’s first day, don’t overlook the importance of preparing well for their new beginning. Their first day, whether on-site or remote, should be a memorable and engaging experience—after all, it's their very first impression of your company culture, values, and work environment. Not having a plan in place can lead to a chaotic and disorganized start, which can make your new employees feel undervalued and unprepared.


Pre-board your new hires by sending them an introduction via email or video, and providing them with information and resources to help them prepare for their new role before their first day.

Then, create a welcome plan for their first day, along with a detailed itinerary for their first week, and ideally follow-ups throughout the first month. It should include essential information such as their schedule, key personnel to connect with, and any necessary training sessions. By providing a comprehensive plan, your new employee will feel welcomed, valued, and prepared to hit the ground running.

Mistake #2: Overloading new hires with too much information

It's important to remember that your new employee is starting with a clean slate. They have limited prior knowledge of your company's procedures, processes, workflows, or culture. We know you want your new employees to start off on the right foot, but overloading them with information can do more harm than good. Putting too much on their plate from the first day can lead to information overload, which can cause them to feel stressed, anxious, and even demotivated.


To prevent information overload, it would be wise to pace out the onboarding process and provide them with bite-sized pieces of information, while giving them time to process and ask questions.

Start by sharing the essentials, such as company policies and procedures, job responsibilities, and team introductions. As your new employee becomes more comfortable, gradually introduce more complex information, such as company history, long-term goals, and more challenging tasks.

Mistake #3: Taking a one-size-fits-all approach

Unfortunately, many companies have a one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding, but this can feel a little too impersonal. Instead, some aspects should be tailored to specific departments or job functions; this can give employees a better idea of the company culture and help them feel more engaged and connected to the company overall.


There are several ways to tailor the onboarding process to suit different job functions. For example, add some elements of personalization by giving new hires an employee welcome kit equipped with items they can put to good use. Also make sure to provide support and guidance through every stage, and give regular feedback on performance, training, and general communication. To add to that, you can assign them a buddy or mentor if that’s something that’s accessible for them.

Mistake #4: Forgetting about remote employees

With remote work becoming increasingly popular, onboarding remote employees can present unique challenges for the inexperienced. It can be easy to make the mistake of neglecting remote employees just because they weren’t physically there.


Tweak your employee onboarding strategy to accommodate remote employees. Hold meetings virtually through video conferencing calls, and have their employee welcome kits delivered to their homes. Do dive deeper into this, check out our blog post all about onboarding for remote teams.

Mistake #5: Failing to follow up and not seeking feedback

Onboarding is not a process that ends after the first week. It’s like throwing a new swimmer into the deep end of the pool and just walking away. Don't forget to check in with your new hires in the days, weeks, and even months after they join.

While you’re at it, don’t pass up the chance to ask for feedback on the onboarding process. Your new employee is starting with a fresh perspective and may have ideas and feedback that can improve your onboarding process. Failing to seek feedback can lead to missed opportunities for improving the employee experience.


Schedule regular check-ins with your new hire to see how they're settling in and to address any concerns or issues. Encourage open and honest communication, and provide support where necessary.

When asking for feedback throughout the onboarding process, consider sending out a survey after the first week or scheduling a one-on-one meeting to discuss their experience so far. Encourage honest and constructive feedback, and use it to make improvements to your onboarding process.

You’ve got this!

Did you know? According to Glassdoor, companies with a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention rates by 82% and productivity by over 70%. That’s right, onboarding matters that much. Don’t take it lightly.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help you create a positive and engaging onboarding experience that will set up your new hires for success. You’ve got this; we’re rooting for you, and we’re here to help! We created alfii to help make onboarding as easy and breezy as possible, and this is only one of the awesome features you can explore for free in just a few clicks.

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