New Hire Onboarding Checklist: Setting Up Employees For Success

July 25, 2022

Learn how to improve the effectiveness of your onboarding process by following our employee onboarding checklist.

Blog Post

Onboarding is just one facet of the employee journey—but it’s one that can make or break an employee’s experience. A strong onboarding program can improve new hire retention by 82%, making a case to re-evaluate and prioritize your onboarding process. The idea of creating a new onboarding experience can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s explore the basics of onboarding and the essential tasks that should be on every HR team’s new hire checklist.

Why is Onboarding Important?

Onboarding is a critical opportunity to make a good first impression and it sets the tone for the experience with the company. The process is one part administrative and one part integrative. The logistical details, like filing out W-2s and enrolling in benefits, are just as important as making your new hire feel welcome and a part of the organization. Employees want clarity and connection during the onboarding process. Studies show that new hires who have a positive experience are more likely to contribute to business goals and remain with their new employer longer.

Having protocols in place can also improve the overall efficacy and consistency. Follow this employee onboarding checklist to ensure you’re covering all the essentials.

Your New Hire Onboarding Checklist

Discover how to maximize your onboarding experience with this new hire checklist.  You'll likely need to customize the onboarding procedures for specific hires, but we’ve included aspects that are universal for onboarding new employees. Let’s explore the most critical to do’s during new hire onboarding.

Phase 1: Preboarding

Ensure the first day and week run smoothly for your new employee by preparing as much as possible before their first day. Here are some essential new hire processes you can start before they walk in the door or sign in for the first time.

  • Obtain signed job acceptance letter. If using an HR software, you can store this digitally in the employee’s record.
  • Inform your department about your newest team member. Leverage a social collaboration platform like Community to share the good news!
  • Set up work space or provide equipment. Work with IT to ensure all the necessary equipment is delivered so your new team member is ready to go. If your new hire is remote, be sure to factor in shipping times. Don’t forget to set up email or system access, if needed, so they are able to log in right away.
  • Collect hiring information. Your new hire will need to fill a variety of forms that will need to be stored securely, per regulatory compliance. If using an HR software, this can be done prior to the first day, giving you more time to focus on the introductions. You’ll need to collect the following from your new hires:
  • I-9: Verify identity and eligibility to work in the US. 
  • W-4: Indicates withholdings for federal tax compliance. 
  • The state tax withholding form: Depending on your state, there may be additional tax withholding forms.
  • The direct deposit form: Set up employee’s bank details before the first payroll run. 
  • Create a welcome introduction: Make your newest employees feel welcomed. One of our favorites is to create an introductory video that showcases your leadership. For example an HR video communication solution offers personalized communication and a more dynamic way to connect with your employees. You can also send a personalized message to the department or team and share a few key facts about the new team member.

Phase 2: Employee Orientation

While the entire employee onboarding process can vary, the initial onboarding or orientation phase is generally the first few weeks and involves orienting the new hire with the company and their team.

  • Organize a tour or virtual meet and greet. Whether your employee is onsite or remote, make them feel connected to the organization through a tour or virtual team meeting. Be sure to partner with the new hire’s manager and team to ensure everyone is on the welcome wagon.
  • Share company information. Provide information about coworkers and management. This gives new staff members a reference point as they get adjusted. If using an employee self-service portal, you can pin or share this information in one easy-to-access place.
  • Review employee handbook. Go over company policies and handbook. Track and store acknowledgements right within their employee record.
  • Explain compensation and benefits. Make sure your employees know where to go to find information for reference and have completed all necessary documentation, such as electing or opting out of coverage.

Phase 3: Training and Development

New hire training should last as long as it takes for an individual to feel comfortable in their position. While each role will have unique training needs, be sure to work with individual teams and mangers to provide the new hire the education needed to get up to speed.

  • Offer customized training. Customizable training saves time because team members will only need to complete courses that align with their responsibilities. It also makes it easier for new staff to absorb material when they're not overloaded with unnecessary information.
  • Complete company-wide training. Maintain compliance by using a learning management system to easily assign these courses and track completion.
  • Review goals and 30-60-90 day plans. Beyond just job training, start setting up the new hire’s professional development plan. Create an outlined plan and load development goals in a performance management system.

What Makes an Onboarding Process Successful?

An effective onboarding process should be well organized to make it easier for your new hires to digest all the information. Using an onboarding checklist like the one above can help keep your process streamlined and on track. While there are many factors that can affect the efficacy of the new hire onboarding process, here are two important tactical elements that can help make your program a success:

Prioritize Connection by Completing Paperwork Before Day One

During the onboarding process, your recruits will have to fill out documentation, sign up for any benefits, and tackle necessary tasks before diving into their new role. That is a lot to take in at one time. It can be beneficial for an onboarding process to start even before their first day–so you can focus on building a connection instead of completing paperwork.

Provide Access to Everything in One Place

Making the onboarding process smooth and giving employees a way to access information whenever they need it, will drastically improve the experience. New hires may need to consult the employee handbook here and there over their first few weeks. They might need to access information on tools or to review training material. An organized onboarding process can help them keep all of these resources together, so they can easily find what they need as they acclimate.

The Benefits of Employee Onboarding Software

You can set up an onboarding system without using onboarding software; however, that usually means that the information isn't as easy to store or access, which can add more steps to your process.

A successful solution will result in an onboarding plan that has:

  • Less paperwork: With a comprehensive HR and payroll solution, a candidate’s application can transition to new hire paperwork. From there, everything can be securely stored and used throughout the employee journey. This information can eventually be used for management and promotional decisions, making the entire experience more effective.
  • Easier workflows: An onboarding solution can build out workflows so you can receive notifications and reminders when documentation needs to be completed. A learning management solution can be used to track completion on training or missing acknowledgements.
  • Increased Productivity: It’s not a secret that an engaged employee is a productive one. Helping them feel connected starting with their first few minutes with your company is a great way to ensure a higher rate of productivity and reduced turnover. Also, using an onboarding solution can automate many tasks throughout the experience making you, as an HR or hiring manager, more productive.
  • More Effective Communication: With an integrated platform, new hires can connect with coworkers allowing them to feel like part of the team right away. Pulse checks can be leveraged through surveys to ensure employees feel connected to the organization as well as to their leaders.

Onboarding software can simplify and automate your workload, helping you make time for the other new hire procedures with recruiting, onboarding, and retaining your employees. Check out our new employee onboarding guide for a full breakdown of everything you need to know about building a world-class onboarding program.

Keep Your Workforce Ready 

Finding the right talent for your team can be challenging in today’s market. But with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be a strain on your internal resources as well. Our recruiting platform streamlines the process, bringing you an intuitive way to search for and engage with top candidates. With communication methods like texting and video, and data that helps you track progress, attracting and winning has never been easier.

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