Insider Intelligence: Onboarding Myths Busted

Dec. 15, 2016
Four keys to welcoming your incoming employees

Onboarding is the last step when adding new hires to your team – and it is arguably one of the most important ones. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.”

What does onboarding look like in action? Here are some common myths about onboarding and ways that you can ensure the process is completed effectively:

Myth No. 1: Onboarding does not begin until the employee’s first day. In most instances, there is a gap of at least two weeks between the time a new employee accepts a position and when they actually start. The moment that an employment offer is accepted, it is time to get to work on the onboarding plan. Onboarding is a process – and that process should begin even before the employee walks in the door.

Put together a schedule of how they will be spending their first week on the job. Pre-arrange one-on-one meetings for them with key personnel so they can learn the business from all angles – not just the angle they will get as part of your department. Touch base with the new employee a couple of times before their start date to help ease any feelings of apprehension about having accepted the new role. Share the schedule with them so they will have a vision of what the first week will look like. Keeping new employees engaged and excited about the role will go a long way once they start.

Another key aspect of onboarding is making sure that the employee has the essentials taken care of before they start. Make sure they have a place to sit, that it is clean, and that basic supplies are in place for them. Order business cards and nametags for their desks. Nothing sends a stronger welcome than tangible items to show that you have been preparing for their arrival and are invested in making them comfortable from day one as part of the team.

Myth No. 2: Onboarding is the responsibility of HR. Onboarding is not the same thing as orientation. While HR can provide a basic overview of employment policies or mandatory training sessions, that is only a part of the onboarding equation. Think of onboarding employees as a continued investment in the time and effort you have already put forth as part of the hiring process. To maximize your ROI on that effort, make sure your employees are acquainted with all aspects of the company – not just the HR paperwork.

Myth No. 3: Onboarding does not need to cover things already covered during the interview process. Frequently, job candidates are courting several different employers at the same time as they are job hunting. Never assume that they will remember everything you said about your company during the interview process and that the interview process has prepared them 100 percent for the job at hand. While it may feel to you that you are repeating yourself, to the new employees you are simply reinforcing key messages about your company.

Myth No. 4: Onboarding programs are only need for entry-level positions. Even with decades of experience in a specific industry or job, employees need to learn how YOU do business. What makes your company tick? What are the “gotchas” about the employee culture they may not be aware of? What are the errors in your business’s history that you want them to avoid making again? There are still many things for even senior managers to learn – and assuming they do not need an onboarding program sends a strong message that they are “on their own,” which is not how any new employee wants to feel.

Before your new employees even walk through the door on their first day, you have already invested weeks of time in the search process and possibly even a sum of money with a recruiter; thus, getting them up to speed so they can become an effective contributor to your company as quickly as possible is essential to their success – and to yours.

Kim Garcia is Director of Marketing for PSA Security Network. To request more info about PSA, please visit