How should you address Employee Onboarding Challenges?


Successful onboarding programs can increase employee engagement, productivity and retention. But what do new employees need out of your onboarding program?

Utilize this list to make sure your onboarding program covers the top concerns of new employees.

What Employees Find Challenging About Onboarding

A recent survey by an online learning management platform asked employees about what they found most challenging about their onboarding training.

The top concerns reported by employees were:

  • Learning expectations of my supervisor
  • Learn how how to do my job
  • Feel uncertain about my ability to perform well
  • Figuring out where to go for the information I needed
  • Fitting in with coworkers
  • Feeling unprepared for performing my job
  • Conflicts with coworkers

The employee concerns have a common thread. New employees want to feel confident that they know what is expected of them and that they’re equipped to do their job.

What Employees Need from Onboarding

The employee’s needs from the survey closely match what HR professionals have identified as four main components of successful onboarding programs. The best onboarding programs foster employees’:

  • Self-efficacy
  • Role Clarity
  • Social Integration
  • Cultural Knowledge


Self-efficacy refers to a new employee’s sense of self confidence. Employees need to believe they’re capable of doing their new job in order to do it well. Most of the onboarding challenges reported in the employee survey revolved around self-efficacy. Starting a new job is overwhelming. The right onboarding gives employees the confidence to tackle their new role. Make sure your onboarding program educates new employees on your processes and software. Also make sure you let them know where to go to access additional information or support.

Role Clarity

New employees need role clarity so they know what the expectations are of their new job. The number one onboarding challenge listed by new employees was learning the expectations of their supervisor. Make sure your onboarding program includes reviewing the expectations of not only the job, but also of the employee’s supervisor.

Social Integration

Establishing social connections in a new workplace is vital to an employee’s long-term success. About 60 percent of managers who do not successfully onboard list a failure to establish effective working relationships as the main reason.

Managers and HR teams can encourage employees to develop strong working relationships by introducing new employees to peers and leaders during onboarding and encouraging new employees to take part in informal gatherings such as lunch or coffee break.

Cultural Knowledge

Employees who understand a company's culture are less likely to leave. The onboarding process should familiarize new employees with the organization’s:

  • Values
  • Goals
  • Internal Politics
  • Language

For more helpful hints on building an effective onboarding program, check out these related blog posts:

Originally posted on November 15, 2018

Nathan Altadonna
Written by Nathan Altadonna

A former journalist and product manager, Nathan is a proud tech geek who blogs about digital transformation, employee productivity, and enterprise software. In addition to his work with Apty, Nathan runs his own consulting company, Innate Digital, helping companies develop content and get the most out of their marketing tech stack.

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