Adding a new employee to your company is often a happy occasion for all involved. Done right, onboarding is the first step in engaging and retaining that employee. On the other hand, a poor onboarding experience can create doubt in the employee’s mind and set your company up for high levels of turnover.


“One of the most important phases in an employee’s tenure is his or her first year with the company,” Sarah K. White writes for “Much of their success will depend on your onboarding practices.”


Up to 20 percent of your turnover could be happening in employees’ first 45 days, a sobering reminder that your organization needs to get onboarding right, writes Arlene S. Hirsch for the Society for Human Resource Management.


Here are four mistakes to avoid.


Making a bad first impression

Your employee won’t forget how your company made him or her feel on the first day. So remember, you’re setting the tone for what you hope is a long, successful partnership. “Sometimes the first impression is in the details,” White writes, “such as, is the new employee’s phone set up, is their computer ready and is their desk or cubicle ready for them? Unfortunately, it seems that these considerations are lacking at plenty of companies.”

Lack of Planning

“Onboarding works best when it is a comprehensive, systematic process of integrating new employees into the organization,” Hirsch writes. The best onboarding provides employees a look at a company’s big-picture goals, policies and procedures, the individuals’ new jobs and how a new employee fits in.


Even if your organization doesn’t have a formalized orientation, make sure you introduce new employees to leadership, set up structured meetings with managers throughout their first few months and look for ways to connect them with your company’s culture and employees.


Onboarding at the Wrong Pace

“By briskly rushing employees through the onboarding process, you run a great risk of coming off unpersonable and cold,” writes Annabelle Smyth for Business 2 Community. But don’t forget, they joined you in hopes of making a difference. If your onboarding is slow or full of tedious forms, it could hurt both morale and your bottom line.


“By drawing out the training process, you’re preventing them from contributing to the success of your company,” Smythe writes. “By letting them sit around for a week or two with nothing to do, you will be throwing away money and your new employees will likely be bored and disappointed with their new job.”


Hiding HR

Mobility within a company, opportunities for advancement, and travel are important to new employees, especially Millennials. But often, companies’ offerings in these areas aren’t advertised during onboarding. This could mean a missed opportunity to show your company is the right fit.


“HR can do a better job promoting the services it has to offer,” Hirsch writes. “Sometimes HR is … seen as the place you go only when you’re having problems. (HR) should work to form a positive relationship with new hires, especially Millennials, so that Millennials learn to see HR as a resource.”


For more tips and information on creating an effective onboarding program, download Paylocity’s Guide to Employee Onboarding.