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How Poor Onboarding Processes Can Offboard Your Brand

How Poor Onboarding Processes Can Offboard Your Brand

Picture this: You’ve spent hours combing through resumes, calling referees, and listening to interviewees tell you that their biggest weakness is “working too hard”. Suddenly, when all hope is lost, the perfect candidate appears. This is it – the one you’ve been waiting for. They accept your offer and you casually mention the three-month probation period for all new employees but you have no doubts that they’ll pass. In one month’s time you receive the news that your dream employee is moving on. Where did it all go wrong? Perhaps you forgot that the company was on probation too…

The initial stages of employment are a critical and fragile time. After the pleasantries of interviewing, the onboarding process is their first real look at how smoothly the company runs and how workers are truly regarded. You might have excellent salary packages or annual leave policies, but not much can overpower a bad first experience.

The loss of new employees due to a poor onboarding process can have a fatal domino effect on your brand. Not only are you losing the employees themselves, but you’re exposing your brand to the risk of a bad reputation in two crucial ways. 1. Unhappy employees can share their negative experiences of the company with others, preventing future applicants from wanting to work with you. 2. If external stakeholders notice high employee turnaround, they can start to doubt the stability and function of your company and look to a different brand for their needs. Let’s discuss how this can happen and how to prevent it.

What Can Go Wrong And How To Prevent It


Essentially, a company is responsible for ensuring that an employee’s onboarding process is a seamless and positive experience. Starting a new job can be daunting and whilst you can’t always control an employee’s output, you can make sure that they are in a positive environment that will encourage them to showcase their best self.

What does a negative onboarding experience look like? In the most obvious sense, a new employee can feel unsupported by not having a support system to lean on in the early stages. According to The Guardian, WHO has declared loneliness as a “global public health concern”, as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Feelings of loneliness can be amplified in a new environment without strong connections and ultimately result in negativity associated with the company and new role. To prevent this, employers should consider assigning a “buddy” to new-starters that can assist them in settling in, making friends and finding their feet in a new environment. An impartial HR rep could also be assigned to new-starters who can serve as their confidant and offer solutions for any issues they may be having.

Another factor that can make the onboarding process strenuous is paperwork. Reading and completing forms can be a mammoth task, which is also susceptible to human error. For example, when onboarding paperwork is completed physically on paper, forms can be misplaced or incorrect information spotted too late, resulting in needing to complete it again. Whilst mistakes can happen, a new employee may feel like their time isn’t being valued, or perhaps question how organised the company is. Maintaining an employee’s faith in a company can be helped by reducing the risk of these human errors. You could consider a software that allows for an online onboarding process, like Martian Logic, allowing paperwork to be filled out quickly and from any location to negate the potential downsides that can occur from using paper.

The Implications Of Poor Onboarding For Future Employees


The rise of the internet can be seen as a blessing and a curse. Sure, you can access information about almost anything, and it gives people a voice to share their opinion with others. But when that opinion is a negative one, it can easily stain a brand reputation in the employment space. With platforms like Glassdoor where employees can leave anonymous reviews, there’s no reason to hold back on how they really feel. One negative experience can turn into a scathing opinion piece that is sure to scare off potential candidates. According to Review Trackers, 94% of consumers admit to avoiding a business after reading a bad review.

When a worker makes the decision to leave a place of employment early on due to a poor onboarding experience, they may be more inclined to leave negative reviews online simply because they didn’t have enough time to gain positive experiences that outweigh the negative. Employees are essentially the face of your brand and without them, you wouldn’t be able to operate. So it can be very damaging if negative reviews diminish the number of people applying to work there, as well as the quality of people. In this instance, a stellar applicant with multiple offers would be more inclined to work for another company with happier employee reviews. A company without quality workers or not enough workers, is sure to develop negative brand associations or simply not survive, so positive onboarding experiences are an absolute must.

The Implications Of Poor Onboarding For External Stakeholders


External stakeholders need to have confidence in the brands and companies they choose to work with in order to strengthen and maintain their business together. Companies usually rely on their employees to build positive rapport with these external stakeholders, and this can only happen with time.

If representatives of a company continually dropped off after short periods, there would be no time to build trust or rapport, and alarm bells would definitely be raised. With poor employee retention and high drop-off rates, all signs point to deep issues within the company. Noticing these negative trends, how would external stakeholders be able to entrust their money, time and resources in that brand? With companies often relying on income from external stakeholders, a negative perception of the way the business operates leaves them vulnerable to losing these important relationships.

Key Takeaways

A successful company will recognise their employees as the hearts and drivers of their brand. The delicate period of onboarding and the processes that come with it can be make or break for retaining employees and therefore cannot be a negative experience if a company wants to survive. Poor onboarding processes can easily lead to candidate drop-offs and spiral into negative reviews and lack of faith from external stakeholders. Remember that probation periods are there to protect the employer AND the employee to be able to cut and run at first signs of trouble during the early and onboarding stages.

Contributors: Julia Di Bartolo

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