Table of Contents

A streamlined onboarding process is one of the critical HR roles. Welcoming new employees and incorporating them into the work environment is vital. A company that leaves fresh recruits to their own devices will unlikely see good things emerge from such an approach.

The challenges start piling up from day one, especially if multiple people are joining the team simultaneously.

A proper onboarding strategy reduces potential problems. And one of the best ways to prepare this strategy is by knowing what challenges to expect.

Two confident business man shaking hands during a meeting in the office, success, dealing, greeting and partner concept

Image by snowing on Freepik

1. Information overload

Let’s start with information overload. Even for a relatively simple position, it can be daunting when you join a company and get bombarded with various things you need to know. And the information might come from multiple people in your department, as well as the higher-ups. 

It’s impossible to absorb so much, and the attempt leaves one in disarray. HR has to prepare a plan and ensure that there is a drip of information the new employee absorbs.

Colleagues should also help in this regard, showing the ins and outs while answering work-related questions.

2. Too much paperwork

Paperwork is another example of a challenge. Contracts, resources, and documents that require a signature can become endless.

Thankfully, it is more common to rely on document digitization, though many companies still keep paper copies.

One way to reduce the issue is to submit the paperwork in advance during the preboarding. At least a part of it. 

Utilizing an HR/HCM software like Workday is another great way. This could simplify the whole onboarding experience, including the paperwork. However, if you’re new to this platform, seeking help from a trusted Workday consulting firm is highly recommended to get the most out of it.

Spreading the paperwork between accepting the job and joining the company should be enough to minimize the paperwork cluster.

3. Lack of the necessary equipment

Sitting down in front of your desk and getting ready for work only to realize that something is missing must be something every employee wants to avoid.

Onboarding involves familiarizing recruits with their workplace and introducing them to the tools they will have at their disposal.

Imagine how rough dealing with a slow Wi-Fi connection is. Or what about not providing enough basic things, like copy paper?

Someone might also need to get used to a new setup. For example, as a long-time MS Windows user, you will need to get used to macOS. 

Figuring out the access clipboard (copy-paste) history on Mac, keyboard shortcuts, Spotlight search, text expansion, and AirDrop are a few examples. And it would be a similar experience for Mac users who swap to MS Windows.

Should a company get a computer that a new employee is comfortable and familiar with? It depends on the available resources, but the ultimate challenge to overcome is ensuring your workers have what they need.

4. Unclear roles

The lack of role clarity puts recruits in an awkward position. They receive vague instructions about what to do and are expected to carry out the tasks without any or very little interference from others.

Some people thrive without supervision, but companies should implement micromanagement roles to guide inexperienced employees. 

Once one settles in, they will understand their role more clearly. But until then, it is necessary to support employees via a one-on-one check-in or personalized employee training and development programs.

As the founder of Online Solitaire, a game cherished by millions, Holger Sindbaek faced unique challenges with his remote, lean team. He says — “When we were just starting out, resources were tight, and every team member was crucial. We operated remotely, which added another layer of complexity. I quickly realized the importance of crystal-clear roles. It wasn’t just about avoiding overlap but about ensuring each person knew their value and contribution to our collective goal. We held regular virtual meetups where roles and expectations were discussed openly. This approach not only streamlined our workflow but also built a strong, cohesive team, each member empowered and aware of their impact on our success.”

5. Not enough feedback

Post-onboarding feedback offers an opportunity to improve pain points for future new hires. Fresh experiences about what went wrong and how things can be improved can be a lifeline for HR.

Administering a post-onboarding survey to collect feedback provides insight. It is up to the human resources department to ask the right questions, such as:

  • How was the pace of onboarding?
  • What changes would you like to see?
  • Did you feel like you were productive during onboarding?
  • Were the company policies explained clearly?
  • How helpful were your colleagues?

6. No clear goals and expectations

New employees will struggle to remain productive if they have no goals to pursue. They join a new job with certain expectations, but if the situation turns out to be the opposite of what they expect, it will not take long to burn out.

Some companies expect new recruits to carry more responsibility than realistically possible. For instance, dealing with a backlog of projects and meeting ridiculous deadlines is a sure way to lose motivation.

The same thing applies to a lack of goals or expectations. Not knowing the goals and doing the same things over and over just for the sake of doing them leaves one in a loop, questioning whether they should continue or not.

Onboarding should include an overview of what is expected from the new hire. In a similar vein, they should express their own expectations working in a company. At the end of the day, clearly defined goals increase employee retention, engagement, and productivity.

7. Accommodating remote workers

The recent pandemic encouraged even more companies to implement a hybrid work model or hire full-time remote workers.

Remote employees present a different set of challenges for HR. Virtual onboarding demands video tutorials, a detailed knowledge base, and other sources to create a positive remote work experience.

It is imperative to set up communication channels using Slack. Document360 can be your knowledge base solution, and Loom is great for recording videos. 

A streamlined and company-wide system that allows for remote collaboration opens new opportunities to be flexible in hiring recruits, but it should not be underestimated how it also presents onboarding challenges.


To sum it all up, many companies struggle to create an effective onboarding system to ensure positive employee experiences.

Nevertheless, it is possible to overcome the challenges by harnessing the power of available tools and resources, as well as personal experiences and employee feedback. 

It is a process that has room for improvement, and it is up to HR and other involved departments to figure out how to do that.