Onboarding Checklist

onboarding checklistIt used to be much simpler for business owners to hire employees. Put an ad in the paper, do a few interviews and welcome the new kid into the fold with a handshake and a smile. Nowadays though, the work place and the work force are more complicated. Paperwork, diversity classes and extensive training now permeate the process. And the work force itself has changed to one of multiple ethnicities and a variety of age levels. Even if you have a small workforce (10 on up), you still have to set up a process for new employees called organizational socialization, better known as onboarding.

Before you set up your onboarding check list, there are a few key areas that should be explored. For example, if you are new to onboarding – maybe your business is new or its rapid growth now commands an onboarding process – it might be helpful to take a refresher course on the science of hiring. Certainly half of the onboarding battle is won by bringing in the right people to help your company excel. Learn from two CEOs the key methods to finding and hiring the best candidates for your work force.

Another key subject these days is sexual harassment. To become an onboarding expert, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with this topic and how to relay your company’s intolerance of this behavior. Women and men should not be subject to any form of sexual harassment, and as part of the onboarding process, the rules and policies of your firm must be made crystal clear. Designed by personnel from several Fortune 500 companies, Harassment Free Culture is an interactive program that is actually demonstrated in dramatic fashion with real life situations with real people.

Your Onboarding Check List

After those refresher courses, you should be ready to get started with the onboarding process. This list will work differently for different organizations, so each item may not apply to everyone. A couple of days before he/she is set to begin, call the new person and confirm the hiring, as well as the following:

  • Start date
  • Start time
  • Work address
  • First day contact
  • Provide parking information
  • Go over attire expectations
  • Email new hire with link to new employee handbook and/or guide
  • Inform new employee of any lecture, class or orientation he/she is expected to attend
  • Get your training information and set-ups ready. That could include
  • Setting up formal meetings with other staff, management, human resources
  • Printed material, such as employee handbooks, questionnaires or any other paperwork.
  • Video presentations – have them ready and cued.
  • Lectures/classes – if a new employee has to take a class or course, set him/her up with time, place, etc.
  • Computer-based introductions – sometimes new employee orientation involves him/her sitting in front of a computer and learning how it functions in relation to his/her job. Make sure the computers to be used are up and running and the necessary programs are ready to roll.

Day of arrival

Have a welcome packet ready that includes the following:

  • Job description
  • A helpful “Getting Started” list
  • Guidelines for sick days and vacation and/or off-day requests
  • Employee handbook
  • First week’s schedule
  • Organizational or department chart
  • Contact information for management and other pertinent personnel
  • Map of building/property (for large facility)
  • Payroll information and policies
  • Insurance information (health, life, other)
  • Be on site to welcome new hire
  • Show him/her to work station
  • Suggest lunch together to answer any questions
  • Review welcome packet and contents, such as policies on breaks, etc.
  • Introduce him/her to other department staff and management
  • Show him/her where to find rest rooms, lunch room, copy area and any other pertinent areas
  • Introduce him/her to human resource manager so he/she can complete any necessary paperwork
  • Check in periodically throughout day to make sure new hire is comfortable and understands his/her tasks

By end of first week 

  • Revisit new hire and review any areas he/she may have questions on
  • Follow up that he/she has completed or is on schedule for any training work and has completed paperwork for payroll, insurance, etc.

For some, this onboarding check list may be more detailed than your firm calls for, while others may expand it with even more detail. It depends on how complicated the job is and how deep the company wants to go with its human resource policies.

Your interaction with first-time employees is very important. It will establish how he/she feels about your company, its environment and his/her future. Remember, it should be your goal to bring in new hires and prepare them in a way that they start off with a positive picture of your company and a desire to be a part of its culture. Of course, good money and excellent benefits are always helpful, but an employee’s state of mind is key to his/her state of mind, commitment and longevity. In fact, branding your company is probably the most important part of onboarding. This look at branding is a good way for you to understand that the way in which you reflect your company’s corporate culture will impact its brand.

There is another aspect that you may want to explore as the person in charge of onboarding, and that is how to handle a crisis. Don’t take the literal meaning of the word. We’re talking about a situation where you may need to step in to handle an unusual situation as a counselor or in the case of an emergency with the firm. This course will enable you to handle a variety of crisis situations and people. Maybe a new hire is nervous and needs to hear the right words. Perhaps someone is acting out of the ordinary and could pose a risk to others. It’s important for you as part of your firm’s management team to recognize some of these things.

The Results

Going through all these things may seem like a lot of extra work, but in the long run, studies have shown that the more that the onboarding process is developed, the better the results. That includes greater job satisfaction, more commitment, improved job performance and a reduction in employee turnover. Make sure you customize this onboarding check list to suit your company’s needs.