The Worst Onboarding Indignity


Share on LinkedIn

I’ve written extensively in the past about the importance of managing the “customer” experience for job candidates and employees. Both are key constituencies that all businesses should seek to impress. Happy, satisfied candidates are more likely to choose your company over a competing employer. And happy, satisfied employees are more likely to be loyal and delight your customers.

Onboarding – the process of assimilating a new employee into your business – falls at the intersection of the candidate and employee experience. It’s a critical moment-of-truth where you have an opportunity to show new hires precisely how employees are treated within your company – what kind of support and guidance they are given to help ensure success.

A good onboarding process will encompass more than just new hire training and orientation. Rather, it will address all of the major cues and touchpoints for a new hire, ensuring that their transition into the company leaves them with a positive, memorable impression – and no trace of buyer’s remorse.

Now, I’ve heard some amazing anecdotes of onboarding gone wrong, but they were all topped by a story I recently heard from an employee of a Fortune 50 company with whom I’m working.

It’s a simple but jaw-dropping tale. At the office building where this individual works, an employee ID badge is required to access the restrooms. Here’s the catch, though: On average, it takes about six weeks for new employees to get their ID badge!

What greater indignity could you impose on employees, but to require them to ask a colleague (or, worse, their boss) to borrow an ID badge so they can answer nature’s call? How embarrassing is that? Imagine how it makes new employees feel, especially if the company talked up the quality of its work environment during the recruiting process.

I later learned that the delay in ID badge issuance stemmed from a cost-cutting measure – centralizing the creation of badges (for the entire company) at a single, off-site location. So the company saves a few bucks… but makes its newly hired employees feel like second-class citizens in the process.

It’s these types of onboarding cues – some quite subtle – that signal to new hires what’s most important to the business: profits or people.

What signals is your business sending to new hires?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jon Picoult
As Founder of Watermark Consulting, Jon Picoult helps companies impress customers and inspire employees. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Jon’s been featured by dozens of media outlets, including The Wall St Journal and The New York Times. He’s worked with some of the world’s foremost brands, personally advising CEOs and executive teams.Learn more at or follow Jon on Twitter.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here