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Common onboarding mistakes and how to avoid them with the Totara TXP

5 min reading time

Amongst the many essential L&D practices carried out within most businesses, one of the most important is the onboarding process. Delivering an effective onboarding experience can significantly impact areas such as job satisfaction, operational efficiency, and employee churn. In fact, 93% of employers agree that a good onboarding experience is crucial in retaining employees. Delivering an effective onboarding programme isn’t always straightforward and there are a number of mistakes that many organisations find themselves making. In this blog, we’ll discuss what these common mistakes are and how to avoid them with the help of a powerful all-in-one Talent Experience Platform (TXP) from Totara.



What is a TXP?

TXP stands for Talent Experience Platform. With the power of multiple platforms in one, bringing together the LMS, the LXP and a Performance Management solution into a unified employee management platform, it’s the most complete L&D solution.

Find out more about the Totara TXP here.

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Skipping the preboarding stage

A crucial stage of the onboarding process that is often missed takes place before the traditional induction period begins – this is called preboarding. The preboarding stage typically occurs between the time that a new employee accepts their job offer and their first working day. When utilising this period correctly, employers can provide new starters with essential information and the reassurance that they have made the right choice, which can help prevent employee turnover.

Preboarding often consists of providing employees with essential information that will adequately prepare them for their first day. This may include digital documents such as company brochures and an employee handbook, along with essential information such as login details or contact information. Employers may also find it useful to send some information that will help new starters get to grips with the systems they may be using on their first day – such as an informational video on how to use the company LMS. Providing this information before their first day will help streamline the training process and ensure that employees get the most out of their onboarding experience.

Set your new starters up for success by following our ultimate onboarding checklist.


Poor structure

One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make when onboarding a new starter is to forgo careful planning and structure. While informal training practices can leave space for creativity and encourage employees to contribute their own ideas, it’s also important to focus on structured training practices that will guarantee that all bases are covered. To achieve this, employers can use a number of e-learning features and tools.

Using the LMS tools available in Totara’s TXP, employers can create structured and personalised learning paths for new starters to follow throughout the onboarding process. Using features such as automated rule-based course allocation, learners will be assigned training materials based on criteria such as job role or proficiency level, ensuring all training is relevant to their L&D needs. When employees have been assigned a learning plan, they can use the TXP to complete online training autonomously, meaning there is no need for a trainer to be present.

Find out how to use your TXP to create a personal development plan for your employees to follow.

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Information overload

A common onboarding mistake employers make is overloading new starters with information all in one go. It’s tempting to cram as much training content into the first week of the onboarding programme as employers may feel that this will allow employees to start performing role-based tasks sooner rather than later - but this can often result in the opposite. Providing employees with an excessive amount of information in the first few weeks of their employment can impede the training process as it leads to information overload.

information overload onboarding

To prevent new starters from experiencing information overload, employers can leverage their TXP to take advantage of e-learning techniques such as gamification, microlearning, and nanolearning. By breaking up learning materials and subject matter into smaller, digestible microlessons, employees will have the breathing space required to take in what is being relayed to them and spread lessons out over several days or weeks.

Microlearning vs nanolearning: What's the difference? Find out here.


Not focussing on socialisation and collaboration

It’s easy for L&D teams and managers to make upskilling and role-based knowledge acquisition the sole focus of the onboarding process. However, it’s important to also place focus on socialisation and collaboration with other employees. While some socialisation will occur naturally between employees, L&D teams can use the Engage platform within the Totara TXP to take a more structured approach. Using functionality such as workspaces, shared resources, forums and user-generated resources, new starters can engage with their peers throughout the onboarding process and leverage informal learning activities to benefit from peer-to-peer learning practices.

With collaborative tools in Totara Engage and integrations such as Microsoft Teams, L&D managers can incorporate tasks within the onboarding programme that require new starters to work collaboratively with other employees. In doing this, employees can work together in real-time regardless of location and get to know one another whilst sharing knowledge and skills during the process.

Discover the power of informal learning with Totara Engage's LXP functionality.

Totara TXP collaboration tools


Failing to establish goals and objectives

To get the most out of new hires during the onboarding period and beyond, employers need to establish goals and objectives that provide motivators and structure to the L&D process. These goals need to align with wider company objectives and should be measurable, with clear markers for progression and an outline of how employees can look to achieve them.

Using the Totara TXP, employers can use competency frameworks to outline required competencies, skills and knowledge that employees should build during the onboarding process. Using Totara Perform, users can create achievement paths made up of activities that will identify how new starters can obtain these competencies. TXP users can take advantage of features such as dashboards with progression wheels that provide clear indications of employee progress. TXP users can also utilise a number of goal-based functions such as goal scales, goal frameworks and goal times, all of which allow admins to deliver a tiered and quantifiable approach to establishing goals and objectives.

Help employees achieve their personal objectives with these effective strategies.

onboarding goals and objectives with Totara TXP


Not gathering feedback

A common mistake that many employers make during the onboarding process is to wait until the end of the induction period to provide feedback. New starters will get the most out of the L&D process if they are provided with regular opportunities to chat with their manager or L&D teams and so setting regular feedback sessions should be of the utmost importance.

Using Totara Perform in the TXP, employers can create a feedback cycle using its performance management tools, setting aside time for regular check-ins and using powerful tools to create dynamic, structured and evidence-based feedback sessions. Using these features, employees have plenty of opportunities to gain insights into their progress, along with voicing any concerns and sharing their own feedback throughout the onboarding process.

What is performance management? Read our ultimate guide.


Poor reporting

When onboarding programmes are carried out offline, it can be difficult to monitor and measure employee progress regularly, meaning those who are falling behind may go unnoticed. To prevent this, TXP users can utilise powerful analytics and reporting tools to monitor employee activities and progress across the entire platform.

TXP admins can gain valuable insights into areas such as course completion rates, assessment results in Totara Learn, and workspace engagement in Totara Engage using the Totara report builder. By using these reports, managers and L&D teams can easily identify new starters who are struggling and offer support to help them progress further along in the onboarding process.

LMS reporting: 5 essential reports you should include in your L&D strategy.


Like the sound of the Totara Talent Experience Platform?

By adopting the full suite of Totara products, L&D teams can maximise the potential of all L&D-related activities and processes, including vital onboarding programmes. If you’d like to find out more, visit our Totara TXP product page or get in touch today to find out what a Totara TXP from Hubken could do for your organisation.

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