Top 10 mistakes made in employee induction programs

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It seems easy, but many organisations make common mistakes in employee induction. In this article, let’s examine the top ten mistakes most organisations make in employee induction which ultimately defeats the purpose of an induction program. In fact, they can even make an employee induction program worse than having no program at all!

Mistake #1 – Being unprepared

How do you think it feels to a new employee when they turn up on their first day and no-one is really ready. If the organisation cannot be prepared for their first day, what is the chance the organisation will be prepared for a performance review, promotion discussion or salary review? In the mind of the new employee, they will already be worried.

You should always be prepared for employee induction. If a new employee is coming to start a new role, it’s the organisation’s responsibility to ensure the new starter has everything they need to get going as quickly and seamlessly as possible, including;

  • Uniforms
  • Equipment (laptops, safety equipment, tools, etc…)
  • Access (login details or access codes to company systems)
  • Workspace (clean, tidy and accessible)

It’s not the new employee’s first job to sit on the phone calling HR and IT for hours on their first day because they can’t log in to their email.

Mistake #2 – Radio silence

Once again, put yourself in your new employee’s shoes. You’ve made them a job offer, set a start date and then… what? Radio silence. Why?

Indeed, you don’t need to contact the new employee all the time – they may be busy wrapping up their previous role or enjoying some time off between jobs. However, by checking in before their first day to remind them of what they need to bring, or giving them a run-through of how the day will go, can help them feel more at ease.

Never forget that starting a new role can be an intimidating experience. So ensuring that your talented new employees are relaxed before they start can go a long way.

Mistake #3 – Overwhelming information

When you overload a new employee with too much information, it can result in them feeling disheartened. They might start to wonder if they are a good fit for the role. So try to avoid induction consisting of a massive day one. Instead, think of induction as a process occurring over a few weeks.

This doesn’t mean your new employee won’t be productive in the first few days. However, the shortest path to productivity typically isn’t to dump so much information on the new employee that they cannot think clearly! Learn a little, practice a little, implement a little and repeat.

Many organisations now consider starting new employees on a Wednesday or Thursday. This allows for 2-3 days of initial induction, followed by a weekend to digest that information and reflect on questions. They can then start the next Monday fresh and ready for more.

This mistake typically occurs when induction is viewed as ‘something we have to do’. As a result, it is rushed and compressed into a short timeframe. Instead, an induction journey should balance issues of efficiency while still being helpful and manageable.

Mistake #4 – Overwhelming paperwork

No new employee wants to start off their new role with a huge amount of paperwork. New employees want to be doing more exciting things on their first day!

First, update your HR and L&D platforms to automate your paperwork as much as possible. Avoid asking employees to repeatedly input the same information again and again for each form. Second, stagger the paperwork a little over the first 2-3 days, rather than in the first hour of the first day.

Mistake #5 – Impersonal experience

A second common mistake for organisations which view employee induction as ‘tick a box’ is that the experience feels impersonal. You want your new employees to feel like they are part of the team, not just a payroll number.

You need to include some ways which personalise their induction into your organisation. It might be a welcome card on their desk, lunch with their team, or a personalised email to the rest of the team or department introducing them.

Ideally, this process starts before the new employee arrives. You can ask your new employee to prepare a short bio about themselves. You can then distribute that, along with their LinkedIn profile and your own introduction about them, to their team the week before they arrive.

Mistake #6 – Small introductions

This ties in exactly with our next mistake – not introducing your new employee to the team and wider organisation. You want new starters to feel at home as soon as possible. So ensure everyone knows who they are, why they are there and that they are welcomed.

Mistake #7 – Unclear responsibilities

If the new starter finishes the new employee induction or onboarding process without knowing their main responsibilities of the new role, something wasn’t made clear to them. And that fault is on you.

You want them to have a firm understanding of how the team operates, how their role fits into that and what their key goals will be throughout their time at the company.

Mistake #8 – Language assumptions

This mistake isn’t to do with the conversation skills of your new employee! Rather, your organisation might not be using industry-specific language when referring to common processes, tools or even knowledge. Don’t assume your new employee knows what you’re talking about.

If your organisation regularly uses abbreviations or acronyms, remember to explain them as part of the induction. Ideally, create a cheat sheet or glossary for new employees. It allows every new starter to have something they can use to get up to speed with your organisational lingo. As an interesting side effect, the creation of that cheat sheet can be a fun team-building exercise and often helps align a few internal standards too.

Mistake #9 – No feedback

Feedback is key for any organisation. Don’t hassle new employees with feedback questionnaires on the first day, but do seek out feedback from them.

Start with a few brief questions at the end of the induction process and again at the end of their probation period. Seek out some honest feedback on how they found the process.

Mistake #10 – Training stops

If the only training an employee receives is in the first few days, then you are setting up for failure. Just because the induction process is over, this doesn’t mean that new employees don’t’ require further assistance with their development. Ensure there’s always a way for them to continue learning, whether that’s about the organisation or specific to their job role.

Discuss their goals during the induction process and then schedule regular catch-ups with them and their manager for a progress report.

BONUS Mistake #11 – No induction platform

As you can probably tell from the above, its easy to ‘tick the box’ on employee induction and simply spend a lot of time for no result. Having a dedicated induction platform can certainly help you avoid these mistakes.

With a platform like Tribal Habits, you can;

  • Create team introductions
  • Provide key compliance training
  • Ensure agreement with organisational policies
  • Capture internal processes, jargon and tools
  • Assign induction pathways based on role
  • Automate reminder and completion notifications
  • Allow new employees to start training before their first day
  • Capture employee feedback through-out induction
  • Quickly update and optimise employee induction
  • Provide a consistent induction 24/7 in any location

Imagine the impact of having every new employee get off to an engaging and consistent start, and rapidly become productive (without learning bad habits along the way). It’s all possible with a platform like Tribal Habits.


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