7 Common Induction Mistakes

7 common induction mistakes - new hire name-tag on a green shirt worn by a new employeeWhile most small businesses spend a great deal of time and effort in finding the right employees, they often fail to capitalise on their newly hired talent by ceding the induction process to HR or neglecting this process entirely. From long waits for work-space, equipment or training, to an overly negative recitation of ‘don’t do these things,’ employers miss the opportunity of inspiring new contributors and setting aggressive performance standards.

Before you bring on your next new hires and leave them to languish in the lunchroom filling out paperwork, consider the following 7 common induction mistakes made by small businesses.

1. Letting human resources lead

While it’s important that newly hired employees fill out their TFN and superannuation declarations, this should not replace orientation. Rather than waste valuable time on paperwork, send new employees the  documents before they start their first day of work. There is nothing more demotivating than spending four hours alone in a room filling out paperwork you could have easily done at home. On their first day, an employee should be greeted by their direct supervisor. The supervisor should spend at least a half-hour with them to begin building a relationship.

2. Focusing on negatives

It is important to clearly discuss expectations early in the induction process. However focusing on a list of negatives that could result in termination detracts from why you hired the person in the first place. A newly hired employee needs to be encouraged to engage in the work they were hired to do rather than focus on the top 10 ways they could get fired.

3. Failing to prepare workspace and equipment.

There is no excuse to leave newly hired employees without work-space or equipment. It is better to delay the start date of an employee rather than leave him or her in a conference room without equipment to do their job.

4. Failing to provide an agenda

Supply all newly hired employees with a training agenda prior to their start date. The agenda should list the type of training and the name of the trainer with a short bio. Also provide an estimate of when they will complete their training and start work on their own. If there is a competency test before they start work, note this in the agenda as well.

5. Failing to introduce co-workers

Co-workers are an excellent resource for newly hired employees. Companies often focus on introducing their most productive workers and managers. Also introduce new hires to other recently hired employees who can more easily empathise with their needs. If possible, consider hiring new employees in waves rather than individually. This can often build relationships and lead to a more cohesive team.

6. Failing to provide comprehensive training

Training provides a critical foundation for ongoing success in a company. A well-trained employee will perform better, and will be far more likely to succeed in their role. They will also have more confidence when interacting with customers. If your business has a high churn rate within the first 6 months, chances are that poor training is the culprit. Untrained new hires often become disillusioned with an organisation that lacks structure, training, and follow-up. During the first 90 days of hire, an employee should have enough training to be self-sufficient for at least a week at a time, regardless of the position they hold.

7. Failing to provide knowledge resources

Not all employees learn at the same rate using the same methods. Make sure new hires have access to training material in various formats. This includes training handbooks, training videos, and employee shadowing. Rather than force a particular format, concentrate on the results needed to excel at the position. Make sure to give feedback on a regular basis throughout the process.


A new employee’s first day on the job should be a day of promise, not a window into dysfunction. Since first impressions matter, consider specifically alerting everyone in the organisation about the new employee beforehand. Make sure to supply a biography. There’s nothing more gratifying to new employees than to be enthusiastically greeted by the co-workers. Especially when they have taken the time to find out who they are and how they can contribute.