Your complete checklist to onboarding new hires
What is onboarding?
Onboarding is the initial process of orienting new employees and training them to become contributing members of the team. In addition to equipping new hires with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their new roles, onboarding should also help new employees become fully engaged and culturally acclimated, which means fostering the relationship with your new hires and proving the company’s dedication to investing in their professional growth.
The faster that new hires feel welcome and prepared for their new jobs, the sooner they’ll become productive employees. Onboarding is easily one of the biggest factors that impacts employee retention, so it’s essential that it be done correctly.
Why onboarding is so important
Between separation costs, lost productivity, and time spent recruiting your next perfect hire, the cost of losing and replacing an employee is enormous. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that on average it costs a company six to nine months of an employee's salary to replace him or her. For an employee making $60,000 per year, that comes out to $30,000–$45,000 in recruiting and training costs.
Another thing to consider is the impact on morale. Whenever a beloved employee leaves the company, the cultural change and increased workload can cause pain for the entire team – factors which can cause employees to disengage. In fact, according to a study by Gallup, there’s a strong correlation between engaged employees and an organization’s bottom line, turnover rate, and customer ratings.
As you can see, it’s important to do everything you can to prevent turnover. It starts with creating a successful onboarding program that is designed to engage and empower employees to want to stay for the long haul. To make it easy for you to implement a structured onboarding program, you can use these checklists as a guide, so you don’t miss a step.
The 4 phases of successful onboarding
Beginning 15 days before a new hire starts, here’s what to do to prepare for their arrival.
Make sure your hire feels welcomed, up to speed, and in the know with this checklist.
By the end of the first week, here’s a list of your goals as a manager overseeing a new hire.
Here’s how to foster growth, encourage success, and assess the working relationship.
☑ Confirm start date, time, place, parking, transportation, and dress code
☑ Identify computer needs and requirements
☑ Set up email address and add to company directory
☑ Send an agenda and overview of what to expect for week 1
SETTING UP THE WORKSTATION
☑ Assign (and clean) desk area
☑ Set up workstation with laptop, computer monitor, chargers, mouse, keyboard, etc.
☑ Prepare phone, access cards, nameplate, and printer access
☑ Create a welcome pack with instructions for access
☑ Set up regularly scheduled meetings, and add the new employee to other department meetings that will be helpful to onboarding
☑ Schedule pertinent training sessions
☑ Schedule a team lunch to introduce the new hire on day one or day two
☑ Plan the new hire’s first assignment
Days 1 and 2
☑ Connect with HR to ensure proper paperwork is complete
☑ Share documentation around basic office processes like expense reports and timesheets (if applicable)
☑ Grant access to key accounts, drives, systems, tools, and platforms
☑ Add your new hire to relevant email lists
☑ Request a bio from the new hire, so it’s ready to share with your existing team
☑ Provide overview of how to use the phones and video conferencing systems, book conference rooms, and access common computer programs, the printers, and company files
☑ Send a new-hire announcement to the team, including a bio for the new employee
☑ Make introductions and connect the new hire to the team
☑ Share company swag and make them feel at home
☑ Provide a list of your favorite nearby restaurants
☑ Take the new hire out to lunch with the core team
A TOUR OF THE OFFICE
☑ Printers and copiers
☑ Office supplies
☑ First aid kit
THE ESSENTIAL RESOURCES
☑ Supply a list of product information, industry research, competitive analysis, brand materials, internal process documentation, and system training links
☑ Review the company mission statement, brand values, organization structure, and goals
☑ Help the new hire navigate the materials by prioritizing what they should review first and setting up check-ins to go through what they’ve learned and any questions
☑ Clarify the schedule for the week and set up meetings with core team members
☑ Review job description and set expectations about what the new hire will be doing, their specific responsibilities, how you will be measuring success in the first 30 days, 60 days, and beyond
☑ Make sure they understand your personal management style to help identify the best ways to work together
☑ Explain the annual review and goal setting processes
☑ Set up additional training sessions
☑ Assign an onboarding buddy who can be the person they turn to for everyday questions and support
☑ Take the time to design an initial assignment that will challenge your new hire; this will help instill confidence in their position
☑ Review internal processes and workflow overview
☑ Arrange a lunch or happy hour with the larger team
☑ Help the new hire meet more people at the company and grow their visibility
☑ Set aside time to review your working relationship; discuss opportunities to improve and probe for feedback, questions, or concerns
ASSESS THE WORK
☑ Based on the success of your new hire’s first assignment, schedule time to regroup and discuss what worked and what didn’t
☑ Make adjustments and set clear goals for a six-month review
☑ Discuss additional assignments as well as a larger roadmap of key initiatives
☑ Assign a mentor, and make introductions
☑ Set performance expectations and establish that you’ll provide monthly feedback to the new hire regarding job performance, including a more formal evaluation annually
☑ Assign any other required reading (ex: books that are critical to the industry or role)
Onboarding can make all the difference
A successful onboarding experience will impact both you and your new hires for months to come. That’s why planning ahead is (unsurprisingly) your key to bringing and keeping hires who will stay for the long haul.
Since one of the biggest drivers of why people leave a new job is misaligned expectations, clarity is essential from the moment an offer is extended.
Onboarding checklists will help you lead every new hire from uncertain newbie to confident, motivated employee.