While helping organisations to improve their handling of new hires, the webonboarding team receives some great insights into the everyday problems faced by hiring teams when it comes to onboarding.
In this series, we take a look at some of these real-world stories and how they help to highlight better ways to tackle employee onboarding:
The Situation: Small Errors, Major Problems
This happened to involve a large multinational company but the issues raised apply to organisations of any size. It’s an example of how the smallest of errors during onboarding can lead to some major headaches.
This was a company expanding its UK sales team; they had created new sales roles and had brought a range of new people in through recruitment process to start at various offices around the country.
The issue here involved one particular new starter. He encountered a number of frustrations during his onboarding process.
The first was not knowing who he should be reporting to on his first-day. The regional manager, who he had dealt with throughout the recruitment and interview process, wasn’t able to be there on the day. So he arrived without having any confirmed contact.
Not the best of welcomes when starting a new role.
Secondly, it soon became apparent that the company was in the process of making some large operational changes. As part of a restructuring, various roles and internal structures were in the process of being changed.
This meant that many of the people in his new office would not be there two weeks later. So it was an unsettling experience and rather disorienting introduction to the company.
But the most disconcerting factor was that none of the equipment he required was ready - no laptop, no phone and no iPad. These were the basic tools needed for the role he was entering.
To sort these issues out required him making multiple calls between various offices and departments to track down exactly what had been ordered and where it currently was.
He eventually identified the source of the problem - IT had sent the equipment to an outdated office address. He was eventually able to pick the returned delivery up from a depot.
But sorting this out took around three weeks. In the meantime, the new starter had been using his own laptop in the office as he gathered things such as prospect information and financial data for a presentation he was putting together.
This would be considered a bumpy ride for any new starter. But it’s an example that highlights how small issues can create significant problems for an organisation. Here’s a look at some of the lessons we can learn:
You don’t want people coming in on their first day and having to find out for themselves about major changes taking place. It’s really important to be open and transparent, to have a culture that keeps people informed about exactly what’s happening.
You also don’t want new starters arriving and not knowing who they need to speak to. This seems like a really simple thing to get right but you would be surprised at how often we see this issue occur.
There’s really no need for it to happen. Providing clear initial contact is a simple way to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty that people feel when starting a new role.
Keeping basic company information updated is important, particularly for large organisations with multiple branches and offices. Central storage of company data and effective way to remove outdated information are required..
Without this, organisations are always prone to the kind of problem highlighted here, with the use of an old address creating a whole range of potential problems.
While the admin error in this case caused a loss of time and resources - it could have been a whole lot worse. The fact that company data was being stored on a personal laptop, created significant data compliance risks.
This has become a particular issue since the introduction of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws. The company had no effective control over any of the data stored on the individual’s laptop.