HR Headaches: Why Are Hiring and Onboarding So Difficult?

There are several reasons why hiring and onboarding can be difficult, but there are also solutions.


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Struggling with your onboarding and hiring process?

Here's what you need to know:

  • A comprehensive onboarding plan is a critical component in new employee training
  • Allow new employees to connect and socialize with other team members
  • Automating and digitizing your workflow can make onboarding much easier

Every time an employee leaves or a new role is created, HR managers have to reorganize their schedule around the time-consuming and tedious hiring and onboarding process. And with more and more employees working in some remote capacity, the onboarding process has become even more complicated. Even if an organization can outsource part of the recruiting process, a newly hired employee must be integrated into the workflow.

An effective onboarding process is about more than fostering job satisfaction, and businesses with a standardized onboarding workflow report 50% higher productivity. In addition, another study has found that an effective onboarding process can help managers retain new employees for 3 years.

But what does a successful onboarding look like?

Many HR professionals ask themselves why designing an effective onboarding experience is so difficult. There are a few reasons why onboarding employees is not as straightforward as it appears.

An effective onboarding process can help you retain new employees for longer.

Why hiring and onboarding are difficult

Employee hiring and onboarding are labor-intensive for everyone involved. Or is it?

Yes, finding the right employee takes time. And so does onboarding.

But the reasons for stressful and challenging processes are varied. Here are our top 5 reasons onboarding can become challenging:

1. No onboarding plan

First and foremost, organizations without a solid, comprehensive onboarding plan will sabotage any efforts to integrate a newly hired employee. An HR team needs to take a company-specific template and tailor it to their new employee for a proper onboarding plan.

For example, a remote employee can jump in and start setting up their software from home, while an in-office employee can focus more on learning about the office workflow.

Outside of preparing onboarding documents, your ideal onboarding program should include several onboarding activities:

  • An onboarding checklist for your employee to follow along
  • An introduction to the employee handbook
  • Department-specific information
  • Check-ins with leadership and the broader team
  • Initiating a mentorship or buddy system
  • Job training sessions
  • Office tour
  • A contact list of other relevant employees and managers

Furthermore, a successful onboarding program should include a solid timeline for all events. We recommend following a 90-day onboarding program. While employees complete most onboarding activities within the first few weeks, it’s also critical to check in regularly to review the employee experience.

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2. Poor focus on the employee experience

Employee hiring and onboarding should be about the new staff, but many companies make it about their organization. Onboarding and hiring can be challenging if company culture or assumed requirements overshadow organizational needs and employee support.

Having a solid hiring to onboarding pipeline will reduce employee turnover and boost employee retention, but only if the employee’s perspective is at the center of the process.

You should focus on how to set new employees up for success, rather than getting them working at full capacity ASAP.

At the end of the day, the new employee should be fulfilling a critical role. Therefore, it’s essential that the hiring manager vets potential candidates during the hiring process to ensure they will be a good fit. After all, it’s not just about technical skills, and successful hiring involves selecting the candidate who is most likely to grow with the company and contribute positively to the organization.

A successful employee onboarding process should consider:

  • Why they were hired in the first place
  • Who they need to know to be successful
  • How they can be effectively integrated into the current workflow
  • Job training and mentorship opportunities to reduce friction
  • Streamlined documentation processes to keep the boring stuff simple
  • What they will need to be successful in three months, six months, and a year

In other words, the onboarding workflow should be more about setting the new employee up for success rather than how to get them working at full capacity ASAP. The sooner an employee feels comfortable in their new role, the faster they will adapt.

3. Manual onboarding workflows

A great onboarding platform throws manual processes out the window, and doing everything by hand is not feasible for on-site or remote onboarding. Not only do hiring managers and HR teams end up with mountains of meaningless busywork, but employees waste valuable time on complex, printed, and cumbersome documentation packets.

Consider automating and digitizing your workflow to make the employee onboarding experience as simple as possible. Not only does this dramatically improve the employee experience, but it simplifies work for your HR team and makes virtual onboarding a cinch.

4. Lack of community or company culture

Another area that makes hiring and onboarding difficult is the lack of emphasis on the social aspect of work. Company culture is often one of the most important aspects of a new job. The onboarding experience should include as many chances as possible for the new hire to build community and report with their colleagues and managers.

One study reports that employee satisfaction depends more on a new hire’s connection with their coworkers than their managers and supervisors. Consider hosting a meet and greet or team-building exercises as onboarding tasks.

5. Communication disconnects

Open communication during onboarding is critical.

Finally, it’s critical to have proper open communication throughout the onboarding process. Organizations that don’t provide easy access to the HR team or other managers are asking for trouble. If an employee can’t turn to someone for help, they may ask employees who may not have correct information or the time to assist the new hire.

A successful onboarding process is built to ensure that communication is never an issue. Using a manual communication channel, such as phones and basic email, can get messy. Having HR software with communication features, such as feedback loops and surveys, can help streamline the process and boost employee engagement.

Employee hiring and onboarding in the age of remote work

Whether you are a hiring manager or HR manager, or in some cases, both, remote work has probably changed the way you think about onboarding.

HR teams can use onboarding software for successful remote onboarding while streamlining on-site processes. Forget the smorgasbord of Zoom calls, emails, phone calls, and snail-mail. Employee onboarding software can help HR hir and onboard a new employee in minutes.

Usually, automated, a software onboarding solution can create compensation packages, auto-send letters, sync payroll, provide organizational charts, store employee handbook data, collect employee feedback, and manage time tracking.

Take advantage of hiring and onboarding templates

Are you looking to boost your employee onboarding experience today? Check out The Ultimate ZIP File for HR Managers to access an in-depth onboarding checklist and other critical hiring and onboarding templates for your HR team.


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