Employee Onboarding Checklist to Document Your Onboarding

Davor
Davor
Davor is a content marketing expert who loves writing about project management, productivity, and remote work.

We take a look at what steps to add to your onboarding process to ensure your new hires have a great experience!

📚 Table of contents

One in ten employees leaves a company because of their poor onboarding practices. This statistic is troubling, considering how vital employee retention is.

You don’t want to go through all the trouble of interviewing candidates, preparing all the documentation, enrolling a person, and training them just to have them leave shortly after, unhappy with how you handled the process. And the worst part is that you will continue losing new employees unless you make the necessary improvements.

So, let’s take a look at this 15-item checklist you can use in-house to ensure your new hires have a great onboarding experience!

Inform HR About Your New Employee

When you decide to hire someone new, the first step is to inform your Human Resources (HR) department of the possible addition to the team.

Once you express your interest in hiring a specific candidate, your HR team will put things in motion and determine whether they can clear said candidate for in-house training.

Usually, they will start the check with personal details, such as the possible future employee’s identity, current address, and criminal records. Then, the HR team should check your candidate’s documents to see whether they are even eligible to work legally.

Source: Archbee.io

Then, your team should ensure that the applicant has the necessary qualifications, especially if you’re looking for someone with a degree or specific experience.

There are other specifics to look into, depending on your company and industry, but the main goal here is to ensure that the candidate is qualified and fit for work at your company.

Prepare the Necessary Paperwork

Before the employee shows up at your office, you should gather all the documents, files, and forms that need their attention.

The first document you’ll likely want them to sign is the employment contract. But there’s a lot of additional paperwork involved, such as internal forms, tax documentation, and similar documents your HR should provide.

Most companies ask the employee to read and sign the following:

  • Non-compete agreements
  • Employee equipment inventory list
  • Confidentiality documentation
  • Employee handbook acknowledgment
  • Emergency contact information

It’s best to gather these files during pre-boarding so the employee is off to a smooth start. Some companies let employees fill out all the paperwork on their official first day of work, while others do it before that.

Our advice is to get the paperwork out of the way before the official start. That way, they can focus on making the first day of work fun and interesting with some of the activities we will mention later instead of drowning the new colleague in paperwork from the get-go.

Order the Equipment They’ll Need

Before your new employee starts working, it’s your responsibility to prepare all the tools they will need to perform their job and go through onboarding.

This usually includes, but is not limited to, hardware, a company phone, and other office equipment. Of course, the amount and type of equipment depend on the job at hand.

For instance, Google’s Engineering Manager Alex Wiesen revealed that their new hires get a lot of say in picking the tech they want to use, usually opting for a desktop and a laptop.

Source: Archbee.io

Even if you cannot let employees choose, you should still prepare the equipment beforehand.

You don’t want to give off the wrong impression and make it seem like your company is disorganized, which is bound to happen if you fail to provide everything they need in time for their first day.

So, do whatever it takes to avoid it. Your new hire should have all the tech they need on their first day instead of having to go around the office asking their new coworker where to get it.

Set up Employee Accounts

If you showed up to your new workplace and couldn’t enter the building because you didn’t get a pass, couldn’t access any of the work files because you didn’t receive a login, and even had to pay to park your car because you didn’t receive a parking pass, would you be happy with your first day at work?

Of course not.

In the same vein, don’t expect your new hires to be content if you fail to put in the effort to ensure they have all the necessary accounts, passwords, and passes.

Source: Archbee.io

When a new employee arrives, someone should explain how they can log in to all the applications and programs you use, what credentials they have, and present them with all the passes they get because they work for you.

If the onboarding process is held online, send a document detailing all this information for more accessible enrollment.

Of course, it would be best to use a secure program that would send a password generated solely for the employee in question to avoid any security risks.

Prepare Their Work Station

Setting up your employee’s desk is a great way to make the new addition to your team feel welcome. This gesture requires a little investment from your side, but it goes a long way.

In the case of remote work, you can have the company's welcome kit shipped to your new hire so they can start using the items immediately.

You might not think it is a big deal, but company swag can make a world of difference, starting with making the employee feel like a part of the team and increasing their loyalty.

Asana, a company that hires people from all over the world and has a multinational remote team, sent out a gift box to welcome their new employee, Akiko Nagahashi, to the team.

You can see the welcome kit below.

Source: Asana

Imagine receiving this thoughtful package from the company you’re just starting to work for. Wouldn’t it delight you and set the stage for a great work experience?

Think about doing this for your employees if you want them to create a meaningful bond with the company.

Send a Welcome Email to the New Employee

The first official email your employee receives should be the one giving them a warm welcome to your company. Isn’t that the perfect way to start the onboarding process?

The new hire should feel welcome from the second they start working for you if you want them to feel engaged at work. So, get off on the right foot and send them a personalized email welcoming them to the team.

Since it’s their first day, remember that the hire may not be familiar with your dress code or working hours, so be sure to mention details on proper attire and when to show up to work. If possible, let them know who will be the person greeting them.

Source: Archbee.io

You should also send them a schedule of their first-day activities, so the employee knows what to expect in advance. Doing this also makes you seem organized and professional.

To keep the email lighthearted and friendly, you can throw in a fun titbit about what they can expect.

For example, let them know where they can get some good coffee or tea or where the other team members like to have lunch. Small things like these will affect your new employee’s satisfaction and make them feel at home at your company.

Schedule New Employee Orientation

Your new employee shouldn’t learn about the company’s values and goals, departments, and office instructions somewhere along the way. If that’s your plan, don’t be surprised if you have a high employee turnover.

Instead of letting workers learn about the company on the go, you should set apart time for orientation. During this segment of onboarding, you should explain all the core values, hierarchy, different departments, and roles to them.

Only then will you be sure that all your hires receive the same information and are up-to-date on what’s essential to the company.

Source: Archbee.io

After the orientation, every employee should know what the company is about, the different departments, and how they communicate. On top of that, they should know who to ask for help, how to perform their job, and what you expect of them at the workplace.

Arrange a One-On-One Meeting With the Manager

Kick off your employee’s career with a meeting with the person overseeing their progress and performance, whether that’s a coach, team leader, or manager.

The first one-on-one meeting with a higher-up sets the tone for all the others, so ensure that the session welcomes the employee and gives them the necessary information. Such discussions need to be regular if you want the employee to stay.

When employees walk into their first manager meeting, they’re expecting to hear more about the company, its organization, and their role in it.

You may think everyone who works for your company and goes through onboarding understands its deepest values, but you’re wrong.

Thirty percent of the US workforce don’t know what their company stands for.

Source: Archbee.io

This type of meeting gives you the perfect opportunity to explain the bigger picture to the new hire, stressing the importance of the part they’re about to start playing.

It’s no secret that employees who understand the company’s goals and their contribution to it feel more satisfied and happy at work.

Moreover, this is a good time for new employees to explain in which direction they want to develop and which areas interest them the most.

When the manager knows this, they can work with the new hire to set clear and specific goals the employee can work towards during their first week, month, and year on the job.

Schedule a Meeting With the CEO

If possible, arranging for a new hire to meet with the CEO might boost the engagement levels of new employees.

However, in companies with many employees arranging for such a meeting is not always feasible, as the executives have a lot on their plate. Nevertheless, if you’re a smaller company, think about asking the CEO to set some time aside to meet up with the new hire, even if it’s just for an informal meeting over coffee.

Studies have shown that frontline employees with engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged themselves. At the same time, managers with involved executives are 39% more engaged.

Therefore, employee engagement is a trait that trickles down from the CEO and other important figures at the company.

Some executives implement an open-door policy and see great results.

Kenneth Lin wants all the workers to feel like they share a mission with the managers and the CEO. The entire company should feel they are working towards the same goal.

Source: Archbee.io

He says that “an open-door policy sets the tone for this, saying, “whenever I'm in my office and available, I encourage anyone to come by and share their thoughts.” Do you think something like this would be possible in your office?

Give Them a Tour of the Workplace

Once your new employee has been through orientation and has settled in, you should show them around the workplace.

Otherwise, the new team member will have to snoop around to find common areas or ask other teammates for help, which is not always ideal, depending on the type of business you do.

Besides, not everyone will feel comfortable interrupting coworkers to find out where the bathroom is.

COACT has a designated person that shows the office to all new employees, making them feel more welcome and comfortable.

Source: Archbee.io

So, your tour should explain where to find all the common areas, like the bathrooms, break rooms, and the kitchen, if you have them.

On top of that, you should show them where each department is, which will help the hire connect that information with the things they heard about these departments during orientation.

In other words, they will put faces and roles to the offices and will know who to ask for help on a specific topic.

Introduce Them to Their Work Buddy

An excellent way to ease an employee into onboarding and make work more fun is introducing them to a work buddy, a more experienced colleague who will be there for all eventual questions or concerns.

Choose a friendly person that knows their way around your procedures and departments. If the new employee has a question regarding the work process, or has to talk to a colleague they don’t know, the buddy can let them know where to look and introduce them to other coworkers.

Why do this?

Assigning your employee a work friend will show them you care. Research shows that people who feel cared for are simply more engaged at work.

Source: Archbee.io

Valued employees are also 3.2x more likely to be happy at work and 3.7x more likely to recommend your company as an employer, according to the same study. In other words, an employee who is comfortable and cared-for is more likely to stay and recruit others to join the team.

Remember, everyone loves having a buddy to help them navigate stressful times. And starting a new job is just that kind of situation.

Assign Training Materials

One of the biggest onboarding mistakes you can make is overwhelming the new hire with information.

Most companies spend no more than a week onboarding their employees. Is that enough to get a new member of the team fully settled in?

Source: Archbee.io

Instead of making employees learn everything in a week or two, a good idea might be to prolong the learning process so they can learn the basics and be independent.

Either way, your employees should have access to all the information they need during onboarding. They should be provided obligatory reading, like basic instructions, company culture, and office rules, as well as other resources that will help them do their job and perform better.

Instead of printing all these files and thus making it difficult for workers to look them up, you can simply use quality documentation software, like Archbee, to share your resources in real-time.

Source: Archbee.io

With this kind of software, the new hire gets access to your online knowledge base where they can find the employee handbook, with sections that welcome them, give more information on their position, tell them more about the company and how it functions, and what they can expect on their first day.

This knowledge base is straightforward and intuitive, even for newbies. Seasoned employees can also use it whenever they need to refresh their memory or when we add something new.

Access to all these files and instructions makes our employees more independent.

Send a New Employee Announcement to the Team

Before your new hire officially joins the team, inform everyone of their arrival. That way, the staff will be aware of the new addition to the team and at least know their name, which will always make people welcome.

If applicable, you can always invite the new employee to have lunch with coworkers on their first day or promote a shared activity to help them bond.

Again, Asana provides a great example of a message left on a company board where all logged-in employees can see it.

Source: Asana

As you can see, the post gives a brief introduction to the employee’s work experience, links her portfolio, and gives some insight into her personality by mentioning her hobbies.

You can do the same in the communication software of your choice, like Slack or Microsoft Teams. This way, you’ll encourage other employees to react to the post and give the employee a warm welcome, once again improving their satisfaction with the onboarding process and the company itself.

Schedule Regular Feedback Sessions

You won’t know how good your onboarding process is until you get employee feedback, so make a habit of collecting it.

With this feedback, you’ll improve the process and increase employee satisfaction. Think about asking the new hires to fill out a survey so you can gather data and decide which part of the onboarding process to change.

Decision Wise suggests this survey should measure a couple of indicators for success.

Firstly, you need to understand whether someone’s constantly monitoring the onboarding to provide guidance to the new hires. Then, the process should empower employees to do their job, so ask them if it does.

Source: Archbee.io

During onboarding, your employees need to get a sense of belonging, which boosts engagement.

And finally, ask about the effectiveness of the onboarding process. If it doesn’t meet the employee’s needs, what is the point?

When asking for feedback, don’t forget to encourage the worker to offer suggestions. Maybe they’ll have an idea that could completely change the onboarding process for the better.

Set Up a Check-In Plan

You will expect to see employees progress during their first, second, and third months at your company.

A great way to ensure that they are staying on track is to schedule check-ins every month. Moreover, these meetings also show you care about your employee’s growth and progress.

During these meetings, you can go over the goals you’ve set for the employee and see how well they’re doing. This is the perfect opportunity for you to see how attainable the goals you set together are and how you can help the new hire achieve them.

Source: Archbee.io

You’ll also find out whether you need to invest in more training to improve the employee’s performance or need more practical work.

The check-in sessions will allow you to determine how quickly the employee is becoming more independent. If it’s slower than usual, try to determine whether the problem lies within the processes and plans themselves. You should always leave such meetings with a new plan of action for the employee.

Conclusion

The onboarding process can make or break the employee’s decision to stay with your company. It can also drastically increase or decrease their engagement, which will affect the new hire’s future performance.

Because of this, you must start the process right and prepare for all the points well in advance, ensuring that the employee has all the necessary information, feels welcomed, and knows who to turn to for help.

Showing you care is the best way to make the onboarding process a great experience!