Fix these common onboarding challenges to boost productivity

Headshot kontributor Caeleigh MacNeilCaeleigh MacNeil
19 April 2024
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Fix these common onboarding challenges to boost productivity
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The data doesn’t lie—a good onboarding process leads to happier, more productive employees. But while onboarding can increase retention rates by 82%, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new hires. 

Creating a smooth onboarding process is challenging, so it’s not surprising that some organizations fall short. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to avoid common onboarding pitfalls and help every new hire get up to speed quickly. 

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Keep your team’s priorities on track with streamlined employee onboarding and shorter ramp-up periods.

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1. Lack of standardization

Onboarding is your opportunity to introduce new hires to your company, your mission, and your processes. It’s an important learning period, and you want all employees to have the same great experience. But despite the importance of onboarding, only 69% of companies have a formal onboarding program across the company. Without a robust and standardized process, every manager approaches onboarding differently, leading to discrepancies across teams and departments. 

The solution

  • Create one company-wide onboarding process: Determine what new hires need to know at a company level, and create a structured program to guide them through their first weeks. For example, you can include information like company culture and values, policies, processes, and team structure.

  • Share customizable onboarding checklists: While every team is different, you can still standardize the core components of onboarding. For example, you can require every team to train new hires on job skills, tools, role-specific processes, and individual responsibilities and expectations. 

  • Use templates: With work management software like Asana, you can create actionable onboarding checklists—then templatize them so any manager can quickly copy the template and spin up a new checklist. With Asana, your templates can include tasks with links to relevant information and due dates. Then you can assign them to yourself, IT, HR, or your new hire to complete. 

2. Information overload

According to a survey of over 2,000 knowledge workers, 81% of employees felt overwhelmed during the onboarding process. Companies share too much information at once, leaving workers to dig through endless documents, conversations, and reports—all spread across different platforms and apps. It’s a lot to manage, especially for someone new to your company. Aside from overwhelming new hires, information overload is also a time suck. Employees need to dig for the context they need, leaving less time to actually learn and perform at their job. 

The solution

  • Create structure: Sequence training sessions and information sharing to give new hires time to digest their learnings. For example, create a checklist to outline the tasks they should complete in their first, second, and third week on the job. 

  • Build in downtime: Instead of packing in back-to-back training sessions, leave room for new team members to read through information and explore on their own. This is especially important in the first few weeks, when employees are unfamiliar with company processes. Downtime also gives new hires a chance to build relationships and connect with their colleagues. 

  • Centralize information: Above all, you want new hires to be able to find the information they need without digging through different apps and documents. That’s where a work management platform like Asana can help. Asana lets you share structured onboarding projects so new hires know exactly what tasks to complete by when. And with information centralized in one platform, team members can easily see relevant tasks, documentation, and who to reach out to for questions. 

3. Lack of clear goals

According to our research, 87% of workers at companies with clear, connected goals say their organization is well-prepared to meet customer expectations—more than double those without. Goals give employees a concrete focus. They make it clear why a new hire’s work is important, so they stay motivated and accountable throughout the onboarding process. According to Harvard lecturer and former Aetna CMO David C. Edelman, goals make “people feel better because they can track their progress. They feel like they had agency in making that happen and were able to bring new ideas and creativity to bear and then see the outcome of it.” 

Without clear goals, workers are less effective and less likely to stay at your company. In fact, 87% of workers with clear goals could see themselves working at their company for the next year. That’s 85% more than workers who said their company had no clear goals. 

The solution

  • Connect new hires’ work to company goals: Help new hires set actionable goals for their role, and illustrate how those connect to company-wide goals. For example, if a new employee has a goal to update the IT intake process during their first year, show how that connects to your overarching company objective to streamline processes and decrease spend. Work management software like Asana can help here. Asana lets you set goals for your company, your team, or yourself—and see how they all ladder up. You can also connect each goal to the work that supports it. 

  • Check in regularly: Make a plan with new employees to monitor the progress of their goals. You can also use a platform like Asana that automatically updates goals as your team makes progress. That way, you don’t have to waste time manually updating your objectives. 

4. Limited visibility and accountability

New hires need support, guidance, and clear next action items to be successful in their roles. But all too often, employees are left on their own after the hiring process without a concrete support system and plan of action. This makes onboarding less efficient, because they can’t easily get their questions answered or remove blockers. 

The solution

  • Set up regular 1:1 meetings between managers and new hires: One-on-one meetings serve as a cornerstone for direct, open communication between managers and their team members. These meetings help build trust and are pivotal for understanding personal goals, addressing concerns, and fostering a culture of trust and transparency within the team. 

  • Centralize 1:1 conversations and action items: In addition to scheduling meetings, document your conversations and action items in one place so employees can find and follow up on them later. With work management software, you can create dedicated projects for 1:1 conversations. Then within those projects you can create tasks with clear due dates and assignees. 

Turn first days into first wins

Taking the time to create a successful onboarding process not only helps employees succeed in their new role—it also helps them hit the ground running with all the skills, information, and connections they need to make an impact. Learn how Asana can help you turn your onboarding process into a well-oiled machine. 

Get new hires up to speed faster

Keep your team’s priorities on track with streamlined employee onboarding and shorter ramp-up periods.

Get new hires up to speed faster

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