Employee onboarding is far more than filling out payroll paperwork for HR and getting a company tour from your boss. For new hires and businesses alike, it can be an exciting time– but it can also be a lot to take in all at once.
The employee onboarding process can either be a very smooth process or a very bumpy one. Especially for newer organizations or companies with less hiring experience, a lack of structure for employees means fewer systems in place to help with the transition.
The average employer spends 24 days and $4,000 getting a new employee up to speed, so even a slight delay could mean pushing things back into the next month.
Of course, there is a way to avoid this: an employee onboarding checklist. This will help ensure that your business gets the most out of its new hires by having a system in place for employees to follow.
To make things easier in your onboarding process, here are five steps for an effective employee onboarding checklist:
1. The Pre-Onboarding Process
The pre-onboarding process is an important step in getting new employees acclimated to their position and company culture. This is when the employer should collect all the necessary paperwork and send out any onboarding materials.
Gathering this information in advance will save time on the employee’s first day and help to make a smooth transition into the job.
If this is an in-person role, the employer may also want to schedule a brief meeting or call with the new hire before their first day. This is an opportunity to introduce them to the team, answer any questions they may have, and go over the company’s expectations.
The new hire may even come into the office to gather materials or meet with the team on their first day, but this is not always necessary.
For remote roles, the pre-onboarding process should include sending out any relevant information about the company, such as the employee handbook, remote work policy, and links to any online resources.
It also includes making sure they have all of their home office equipment (e.g. laptop, webcam, etc.) and any software they need to do their job.
The employer should also introduce the new hire to their team via email or video call. This is a chance to go over expectations and company culture with the remote worker.
One of the easiest ways to streamline this process is with an employee welcome letter. This should be sent out before the first day and should include all the relevant information about the company, the team, and the position. It should also include information about expectations regarding timing and time management.
The welcome letter is a great way to set the tone for the onboarding process and help new hires prepare for their first day. Remember that this is different from a job offer letter.
Here are a few tips to make your employee onboarding easier during this part of the process:
- Inform your company of the new hire ahead of time. This gives you time to gather the necessary paperwork and makes sure that there is a spot for them on their first day.
- Schedule a brief meeting or call. This is an opportunity to introduce the new hire to the team, answer any questions they may have, and go over company expectations.
- Set your new employee up with a mentor. This is someone who can help answer questions and introduce the new hire to the company culture. It is best to choose someone in a similar role who has been with the company for a while and is familiar with the ins and outs of the business.
- Make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork. This includes the employee handbook, W-2 form, I-9 form, a direct deposit form, and employment contracts.
- If you are sending out any company information, be sure to include a company overview, job descriptions, and an org chart.
- Don’t forget the little things! A welcome letter, company swag, and business cards are all nice touches that will make your new employee feel appreciated.
2. New-Hire Orientation
The orientation process is the next step in onboarding and usually takes place on the first day. This process serves two purposes–to help your new hire feel comfortable in their new environment and to teach them how your internal workflows align with your company culture.
During the orientation phase, you can expect to give your new hire the following:
- A tour of the office or worksite
- An introduction to the team
- A review of company policies
- A discussion of job expectations
The orientation will be conducted virtually if you are working with a remote employee. This means that you will need to provide all relevant information upfront and be available to answer any questions they may have.
If you have multiple new hires starting at the same time, conducting a group orientation for things they can do together on their first day, like a tour of the office, is best.
You can also break them into smaller groups for more specific discussions, such as job expectations or company policy reviews.
After the orientation is complete, your new hire should feel comfortable in their new surroundings and have a good understanding of what is expected of them.
For a successful orientation, remember the following:
- Use onboarding software. Streamlining your process with technology will make it more manageable for you and your new hire. It will also help you keep all of your documents in one place and track progress. If you aren’t sure how to choose one for your organization, check out our list of best onboarding software to make things easier.
- Have a clear understanding of common questions and feelings ahead of time. Your employees may not always be forthcoming about what they’re thinking or feeling, so be prepared with answers to common questions. You can also provide a list of resources for employees who may need additional support, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- Set the tone for your company culture. The orientation is a great opportunity to set the tone for your company culture and let your new hire know what to expect. If you have a remote workforce, include information about your company’s work-life balance policies.
- Set realistic expectations. Be clear about what you expect from your new hire and what they can expect from you. This will help prevent misunderstandings down the road.
- Create a schedule. This will help you keep track of what needs to be covered and when.
- Make it interactive. Ask questions, give examples, and encourage participation from your new hire.
- Be available. Be sure to answer any questions that come up during the process.
Orientation is just the beginning of the onboarding process, but it’s an important step to ensure a smooth transition for your new hire.
Following these tips can set your new employee up for success from their first day on the job.
3. Training for Your New Hire’s Specific Role
Once the initial orientation is complete, it’s time to train your new hire for their specific role. Depending on the position, this could involve a combination of online courses, in-person training, and shadowing another employee.
When creating a training plan, be sure to consider the following:
- The level of experience your new hire has
- The amount of time you have to train them
- The complexity of the role
- Your company’s budget
During this phase, you can expect to give your new hire a more detailed overview of your company and its mission, vision, and values. You will also provide them with the tools and resources they need to be successful in their role.
This is important to establish trust and build relationships with your new hire. Be sure to give them the support they need and answer any questions they have along the way.
You’ll also have the opportunity to show them what a typical work day should look like and explain how the different roles in your company come together to form a cohesive team.
This is also a good time to give them a chance to practice what they’ve learned by having them complete basic tasks related to their role. This could include shadowing another employee, working on a project, or giving a presentation.
By the end of this phase, your new hire should have a clear understanding of their role and how it fits into the larger organization.
Here are a few tips for a successful training process:
- Don’t try to cover everything at once. Break down the training into manageable chunks so your new hire can easily digest the information.
- Make sure your other employees are aware of the new hire’s training. If you need your new employee to shadow someone, they should not be blindsided by this request.
- Have them create a presentation about your product or service. One of the best ways for your new hire to understand the nuances of your business is to have them explain it to someone else. This could be in the form of a presentation, an article, or even just a conversation with another employee.
4. Building Positive Relationships and Setting Expectations
Over the next few days, you’ll have the opportunity to build positive relationships with your new hire and set expectations for their performance. This is an important step in onboarding, as it sets the tone for how you will work together.
In general, this process will involve:
- Formalizing the relationship with a written agreement
- Reviewing the company’s policies and procedures
- Setting performance goals (KPIs)
- Giving feedback
- Establishing trust
- Building rapport
This is also the time when you will develop a deeper understanding of your new hire’s working style and preferences. It’s important to be open and honest with each other during this time so you can work together effectively.
You can also expect to discuss potential issues with your employee ahead of time, as well as potential solutions to these issues. Doing so can prevent future frustration.
It is also important to keep in mind that this process is not just about you getting to know your new hire. It’s also an opportunity for them to get to know you and the company. Be sure to answer any questions they have and provide feedback along the way.
The goal is to establish a positive relationship that will last long after the onboarding process is complete.
Here are a few tips for building positive relationships:
- Get to know them on a personal level. Find out what they like to do in their free time, what their family is like, and what their hobbies are.
- Have a clear understanding of their working style. True leadership isn’t about treating someone how you’d want to be treated–it’s about treating them how they want to be treated.
- Make an effort to connect with them. Send them a message on LinkedIn, invite them to coffee, or just start a conversation in the break room.
The goal is to establish a positive relationship that will last long after the onboarding process is complete.
By getting to know your new hire and setting clear expectations, you can create a strong foundation for a productive and successful working relationship.
5. Integrating Into Their Workflows
The final step in the onboarding process is integrated into the company. This is where your new hire will start to feel like a part of the team and develop a sense of belonging.
It is also where you will begin to establish short-term goals and objectives for your new hire. This will help them understand how their work fits into the larger picture and what is expected of them in the coming days, weeks, and months.
This process will involve:
- Giving them the tools and information they need to actually do their job
- Following up with them as they begin to work more independently
- Slowly giving them more responsibility until they can work with autonomy
Of course, the first few days are about getting everything in order and having them witness firsthand what a day on the job looks like. But after a few days of this, it’s important to start giving them more responsibility.
The goal of your new hire checklist step is to get them comfortable and up to speed as quickly as possible. The more engaged and invested they feel, the more likely they will stick around for the long haul. And we all know how valuable employee retention is, right?
Here are a few tips for integrating your new hire into their role:
- Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Nobody does the job perfectly at first, so make sure to be helpful and encouraging towards them, especially if their role requires a lot of learning.
- Encourage them to ask questions. Asking questions is the only way to learn, so make sure they feel comfortable doing so.
- Make sure they understand what’s expected of them. Set clear goals and objectives for their first few weeks on the job.
The goal is to make your new hire feel like a valuable team member as quickly as possible. By setting clear expectations and allowing them to learn and grow, you can help them feel engaged and invested in their work.
After following these steps, you should have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you and your new hire. Creating an onboarding checklist will help to ensure that nothing is forgotten and that the process runs smoothly.