When you hire someone, you spend the first few weeks observing their performance and making sure that they’re a good fit.
But your new employee is doing the same thing. They spend those early weeks looking at your organization and your culture, and asking if your company is right for their career.
One study shows that a great onboarding process can have long-term effects, with employees 69 percent more likely to stay for over three years if they had a proper induction.
Yet most companies don’t do this. Another study by Kronos shows that 76 percent of HR managers feel that onboarding isn’t adequately utilized in their company.
Don’t leave onboarding to chance. Here’s a full checklist that tells you everything you need to do to provide a great introductory experience for new employees.
Onboarding Checklist: Pre-boarding
These are the tasks you need to do in the weeks before the new employee’s first day.
□ Confirm first-day details
Reach out to the new employee and ensure that they have all the information they need for day one. That includes their exact start date and time, which office to report to, who to ask for, and details of the dress code.
□ Send a "welcome home" pack to new hire's home
Let your new hires know that they are "home", and welcome them prior to their first day. You can assume that your new employee was having dialogue with other companies about their opportunities. Those conversations may continue between the time your offer was accepted and the start day of the new employee. In addition, it is natural for some new hires, and their significant other, to doubt the decision they made. Do what you can to create the sense of a genuine welcome to the family feeling for your new hire. Send the new hire some company swag. Ideally, this should be items that can be used in the home by the family. If a new hire mentioned their family structure during the interview process, it would be a good idea to include items for their significant other and for their kids too.
□ Notify the rest of the team
Let everybody else know that a new person will be joining. Give a little detail on the new employee’s background, what they’ll be doing, and when you hope to have them up and running.
□ Confirm everything with HR
Make sure that HR has completed all necessary steps to ensure a smooth onboarding. Ask if there’s anything that you need to do, such as filing paperwork. If anything is outstanding on the employee’s side, chase it up with them.
□ Request systems access from IT
Give the IT department plenty of time to process a new user request, just in case there’s a delay on their side. Make sure that your request access to all relevant systems. That includes systems directly related to the job, such as databases and enterprise tools, and office systems like email and timekeeping systems.
□ Prepare a workspace
Most new employees will require a desk, chair, workstation, and phone. Find a place for them and mark it out as theirs. To make the new employee feel extra welcome, make sure that their workspace is clean and has fresh stationery.
□ Assess the skills gap
Once you’ve assessed the new employee’s resume, interview and background check, you should have a good idea of the person’s existing skill set. Some employees will need extensive additional training before they’re ready to be productive, while others may only need to be shown your processes and systems. Either way, decide what needs to be covered and make a plan with your training team.
Onboarding Checklist: Day One
Structure the employee's first day in the following way.
□ Arrange a warm welcome
First days are intimidating for everyone, even experienced professionals. Take some time to greet the new employee at reception and show them around the building. Before you start the real business of onboarding, have a chat with them over coffee and a fresh pastry.
□ Give the company handbook
The new employee is probably wondering what you’re expecting from them. The company handbook is usually the best place to start when trying to outline those expectations, so provide the new employee with their copy as soon as possible.
□ Complete security protocols
You’ll need to cover both physical and digital security policy on the first day. If your building has an ID badge system, make sure the employee has a functioning badge before the end of the day, or else they’ll need to be signed in again tomorrow.
□ Talk about safety
Accidents can happen at any time, including on your first day at a new job. Cover everything the employee needs to know, including emergency evacuation procedures and gathering points during fire drills.
□ Discuss company culture and values
The rest of the week will be spent talking about the what and how of the employee’s new job. Today, focus on the why. Talk them through your history, your goals and your values. Discuss your culture and how your team live that culture on a day-to-day basis.
Onboarding Checklist: Week One
These are things that you need to do early on, but which may not happen on day one.
□ Introduce them to team
Introductions are a little overwhelming and most new employees will struggle to remember everyone’s name. That’s why you might choose to space out some of the introductions over the first week, giving the new person a chance to meet their new colleagues at a manageable pace.
□ Introduce to leadership
Introduce the new employee to the management team in the first few days. Ask the most senior person available to drop in and say hello. If you can arrange some time with the CEO, all the better. This can help the new employee feel like they’re a real part of the mission, and not just some back-office worker.
□ Discuss the organization chart
Organizational structures can be a little confusing at first. Take the employee through the org chart and show them exactly where they sit in the organization. Make it clear who they report to (and, indeed, who will be reporting to them.)
□ Initiate training
Start with a high-level overview of what training will cover. The new employee can give you an idea of their existing proficiency, and then you can decide whether more or less training is required. Either way, agree training objectives between yourself, the training team and the new employee.
□ Assign a mentor
Entry-level staff may require extensive mentoring – someone who can show them the ropes and answer lots of basic questions. More experienced people may not need quite as much handholding, but they will still benefit from having a point of contact for general inquiries. When picking a mentor, make sure you select someone who’s got enough free time to be helpful.
□ Host a welcome event
Whether it’s a get-together in the breakroom or a team night on the town, a welcome event is a great chance for the new employee to bond with their colleagues and experience the company’s culture. Plan some ice-breaking games to get the conversation flowing.
Onboarding Checklist: Month One
Finally, these are the steps to take when the employee has been here for a few weeks.
□ Discuss progress with mentor and trainers
Talk to everyone involved in the onboarding process about the performance of the new employee. If they have any areas of concern, address them at the performance review.
□ Conduct a progress review
Time to check in with the new employee. Ask them how they’re settling in and if they feel capable of handling the job. Give them your honest feedback on their performance so far and highlight areas of potential improvement.
□ Organize additional training if required
If the initial training plan hasn’t covered anything, don’t hesitate to make more training time available. Give the new employee everything that they need to succeed in the role.
□ Sign off
The onboarding process needs a clear cut-off point, which usually happens when all training and resource requirements have been allocated. If the new employee has everything they require, you can consider them to be fully onboarded.
□ Ask for onboarding feedback
Talk to everyone involved in the onboarding process, including trainers, managers and mentors, as well as the employee themselves. They will all have valuable feedback which you can use to ensure that the next onboarding is even smoother.
Remember, the real goal of onboarding isn’t just ot complete paperwork or deliver job-related training. Onboarding is about helping new people to integrate into your culture, so that they understand your values and can help you work towards your goals.