Onboarding: The Employer’s Checklist
Employee onboarding is widely acknowledged by human resource experts to be an important part of building a great team. Hiring right is only the beginning, as integrating a new employee into the company is going to determine how successful they will be in their role, and how much they will be able to contribute to the company. The onboarding process includes completing documents, introducing the new hire to company culture, setting goals, and monitoring initial performance.
Simply handing new hires the employee handbook is a bad practice, but one that many companies still employ. Ironically, this is costing companies millions. Hiring is expensive, and employees who have a poor initial experience with the organisation will be searching for another job within three months. Conversely, businesses that have great onboarding processes can expect to nearly double their corporate revenue growth and profit margins. So what does it take to successfully onboard a new employee? Check out our simple checklist!
Before the first day
- Send a welcome email. Send a personalised welcome email to the new employee. More than just a warm welcome, include important information such as the company dress code, schedule, benefits package, clock in details (if applicable), the location of workstation, and their manager’s name and contact information. Starting a new job in a new environment can be stressful, and this will help them feel ready. This will also allow them to prepare whatever questions they may have when they clock in on their first day.
- Begin compliance with documentary requirements. Ideally, your welcome email should include a link to upload all the documentary requirements. Paperless onboarding is more appealing to new employees, especially to millennials and Gen Z. Younger employees will have high expectations for real-time feedback, instant access to information, and constant use of technology; they will consider physical paperwork to be more of a nuisance. Investing in onboarding technology will help your company appeal to the next generation of employees.
- Offer practical information. Beyond the standard information offered in the welcome email, other, more practical information can also help. Common queries such as where they can expect to take their lunch can be given here. Is there an office pantry? What kind of appliances can they expect to find there? You can also give them a list of must-try restaurants and cafes near the office, so they know where they to go with new co-workers when the shift is over.
The first day
- Conduct a workspace orientation. Having a ready workstation makes a new hire feel welcome, but in a survey by ALEX Asks, nearly 20% didn’t have a desk on the first day, more than 30% had to wait to get a computer, and more than a third 36% didn’t have ready access to a phone or voicemail. Make sure all these things are fleshed out ahead of time, so you can conduct a workspace orientation after welcoming the new hires. Not only will they feel welcome, but they will also be able to get acquainted with the job much faster.
- Introduce the new employee to the team. Managers should welcome the new hires and introduce them to the rest of the team, but they shouldn’t do everything themselves. The entire team has a stake in getting the new hire integrated as fast as possible, so onboarding responsibilities can be spread out. Schedule a lunch with the new hire and other employees. They can use the time to discuss serious matters like KPIs, and less serious ones like where the best place to get coffee is. All this contributes to helping the new hire fit in.
- Review security and safety procedures. Before the new hires leave on the first day, remember to review security and safety procedures with them. This varies from workplace to workplace, but common reminders should include which devices are allowed to be brought in, where the emergency exits are, and who to contact in case of untoward incidents. In addition, data privacy is considered one of the most important aspects of workplaces today, and each employee needs to be briefed on everything from wifi hotspots to which sites should not be accessed.
The first week
- Invite questions. There are plenty of questions that can’t be answered in a video introduction or briefing packet. Invite your new employee to ask questions about specific breaks, telecommuting options (if applicable), frequency of performance evaluations, inclement weather procedures, and pay and leave policies. Often, there are small details that remain unclear, even if the handbook already discusses them. Listen to the employees’ feedback and edit the material accordingly.
- Complete documentary requirements. Most companies today have a paperless onboarding process that lets employees complete their requirements online. Tanda, for example, provides a customisable onboarding feature that lets a manager specify which requirements need to be uploaded, and tracks the progress of the new employee in completing them. This saves time through the legally compliant collection and lodgement of tax file numbers directly to the ATO. However, if there are still documents that require physical signatures, make sure that these are completed within the first week.
- Schedule a meeting between the employee and the supervisor. At the end of the week, it’s important for the supervisor to sit down with the new employee and discuss how the week went. First impressions, surprises, and challenges should be tackled, as well as preparations for the next week. This sets an expectation of transparency and constant communication between employees and supervisors. It also lets the new hires know that the company values their feedback.
The first 60 days
- Develop personal performance expectations. A personal performance development plan consists of specific, measurable, and realistic goals that directly impact on job performance and are tied to the organisation’s mission. Assist the new hire in listing the goals down in order, and ensure that they are cohesive and aligned with their career trajectory. These expectations can be related to both quantity and quality — both numerical measurements and are means for achieving a goal.
- Conduct company culture training programs. Fostering company culture and integrating new hires into it can’t be done in a week. Take the time to spread out targeted training programs over the first month to avoid information overload. The content varies from one company to another, but common topics include anti-discrimination, anti-sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity, security and safety, ethics, and role-based information technology security.
- Schedule a meeting between the employee and the supervisor. The end of the first month is the perfect time to schedule a second meeting between the employee and supervisor. Personal performance expectations can be finalised at this time. New questions can also be answered, as the employee will no doubt have come across new challenges and situations in the past month. This can also be a bonding opportunity for the managers and the team, and a good way to increase overall employee engagement.
Read more: Employee Engagement – A Matter of Care
The first 100 days
- Outline employee progress. Over the next three months, it’s a good idea to keep track of the new hire’s progress. Conventional practice suggests 100 days of onboarding is ideal, but one month or less is more realistic for many of today’s companies. A 2017 CareerBuilder survey showed that 21% of companies have a month-long onboarding process, while 25% only take a day. Only 11% are closer to having a 100-day process. Nevertheless, the first 100 days are essential for setting baselines and expectations.
- Discuss challenges and areas for improvement. Just as progress is being tracked, initial challenges and areas for improvement should also be tackled. Is the new hire having difficulty with time and attendance, for instance? Looking at the timesheets will give you a good idea if there is cause for concern. Of course, employing time and attendance automation will make this go much faster, as managers can monitor clock ins in real time.
- Invite questions. As always, it’s good practice to promote transparency and accountability by inviting new hires to ask questions about the company, their role, and their progress. It’s also a good opportunity for them to forward suggestions during this crucial time because they are able to see the operations with fresh eyes.
The first year
- Summarise accomplishments. At the end of the first year, the accomplishments of each new hire should be summarised, along with feedback from several individuals that he or she worked with. This includes not just supervisors, but teammates and support staff. This will give both the manager and the employee a concrete basis of discussions moving forward. A suitable format should be provided to each new hire by the relevant department, who should also be ready to answer their questions about the process.
- Discuss career growth plans. Now that accomplishments have been summarised, career growth plans can also be discussed. Throughout the course of the year, the new hire may have found new avenues to explore or new responsibilities they are willing to take on. It’s important to be open-minded about their suggestions and to allow them the space to grow as individuals within the company.
- Create new personal performance expectations. Moving forward into the next year, the last stage of the extended onboarding process is to create new personal performance expectations. It contains all the elements mentioned earlier, a format for which should be provided, but now the employee is armed with the knowledge and experience of the previous year. At this juncture, they should be empowered enough to suggest performance expectations and take on new responsibilities.
Each onboarding checklist differs for each organisation but the checklist above is generally applicable to most, regardless of industry. Onboarding, when done well, makes a difference in the turnover rate and long-term company growth. It may seem like a tall order to create a stellar onboarding process, but it helps to invest in a workforce management system that handles some of the work for you. For one, Tanda’s custom onboarding takes some of the load off administrative staff, allowing them to truly focus on empowering the newest members of your workforce.
Curious to know more about a workforce management system that provides custom onboarding? Book your free demo today.
Industry Insights |
5 Employee Onboarding Tips
New employees can come in on a daily basis. That is why it can be stressful for HR managers to welcome new staff on board and get them off and running on their first day. Here are five things to remember whenever you’re onboarding a new team member. Set Everything Up for Them New employees should feel welcome at the moment they enter your office. When everything is physically ready for them on the first day, the more motivated they will be to hit the ground running. “An empty workstation is to a new employee what an unkempt home is to a houseguest,” says CareerBuilder.com. Make sure everything they need is already at their workstation. Provide an onboarding kit with office supplies, as well as their business cards if possible. Their company computer should already be set up and placed on their desks. Same holds true if you are going to issue them company mobile phones. If they are required to wear a uniform, make sure you have the right size and have it neatly pressed for them. Lay Out the Goals, Objectives, and Responsibilities It’s nice for new employees to know at the get-go why they were hired. You might have already given them their job descriptions during the interview, but it is nice to share it with them again on their first day. Have a document ready that lays out your company’s profile, vision and mission, your new employee’s role, their short and long term goals, and how they will fit in the bigger picture. Let that document guide the conversation between you and the new staff member. Share the Culture For George Brandt, author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, the only competitive edge your business can have today is your corporate culture. In this article he wrote at Forbes, Mr Brandt said that your company “must make culture the centrepiece of your onboarding program.” Spend adequate time with new staff on explaining your business’ culture. Lay out the dos and don’ts, dress code, benefits programmes, as well as company activities they should look forward to. If possible, provide a copy of the employee manual. Introduce to Teammates No man is an island, everyone has to work with everyone. That is why it is important for new employees and existing staff to establish a good rapport early on. You should brief the new employee’s teammates before he/she comes on board. Provide them with a copy of the CV to help them get to know that new person better. And on the first day itself, dedicate time for the team to welcome the new members. Encourage them to go out for lunch. There, they can talk to each other about their goals and roles in the company, and how they can work together to achieve them as a team. Get Paperwork Done ASAP The most important, and most irritating, part of employee onboarding is the paperwork. For new staff, this means filling up pages of paperwork in order to provide all the necessary details for payroll, superannuation, etc. At the same time, managers have to manually re-enter these items into accounting software. That is a time-consuming, error-prone process. Tanda’s new employee onboarding app solves all these problems for new employees and businesses alike. All you have to need is to enter the new staff’s mobile number or email address, and Tanda will do the rest. New employees will receive a link that will lead them to the Tanda employee onboarding app. From this single app, they can input their personal bank details, superannuation fund information, tax file numbers, and other important information. All of this data is then automatically stored on staff profiles in both Tanda and your integrated payroll software. This means less time spent on onboarding. Watch to learn more about Tanda’s employee onboarding application. Click here to start using Tanda’s employee onboarding application for your business.
Industry Insights |
Below average staff performance? Time to look at your onboarding process
Do you remember your first day at work? Did your manager show you the ropes, or did you have to figure things out by yourself? Was your desk already set up, or did you wait a couple of days? All these questions are important in onboarding, or the process of orienting new employees for their productivity, retention, and overall growth in the company. The process includes completing documents, introducing the new hire to company culture, setting goals, and monitoring initial performance. It’s a tall order, and a really important one, for a couple of reasons. First, hiring is expensive. This is the first truth of human resource management. However, companies that invest in hiring but not onboarding are effectively throwing their money away. Employees who have a poor initial experience with the organisation will be searching for another job within three months. A high turnover rate means ineffective management and heavy costs for the company. Second, retention is profitable. Businesses that have great onboarding processes can expect to nearly double their corporate revenue growth and profit margins. This is because the better the onboarding process, the more invested employees are. Some of the biggest and most profitable companies in the world have the best onboarding processes. Among them are Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google, where new hires are immersed in employee culture by tailoring the experience to their role. There is a very clear link between onboarding and business success. Still, many companies fail to create good onboarding programs, if any at all. In a survey by ALEX Asks, only 52.3% of respondents said they have an official onboarding program at their company. Whether it’s due to complacency or to the HR team simply having too much on their plate, a poor program means poor overall performance. So how can your company ensure that your onboarding process is a good experience for all your new hires? Start before Day 1 Onboarding doesn’t begin on the first day of work. In fact, if you do this, then you’re already far too late. A manager or company representative needs to get in touch with the new hire weeks before their scheduled first day. What may seem like a regular day to the rest of the company is a milestone for the new hire. It helps to prepare them mentally and emotionally. One important thing to get out of the way immediately is the submission of employment requirements. This includes social security numbers and permits, if necessary. Having a checklist of requirements helps, but paperless onboarding through mobile apps is a much faster way of doing it. No more data entry for managers, no more missing files, and progress can be tracked so you know if the new hire has already completed their details. Companies with an elaborate set of requirements hesitate using software and apps because it limits what they can or cannot ask for. Some onboarding apps allow a custom onboarding system, providing a solution to this problem with a unique drag-and-drop system that lets managers choose which requirements will appear on the employee’s app. Managers are free to add what they need and remove what they don’t. Learn more about custom onboarding apps here. Read more: Achieving Workforce Success: Becoming a Data-driven Workforce Pull Out the Stops on Day 1 Making your new employee feel special only requires a few adjustments to your current program. For example, a simple welcome email goes a long way in making a great first impression. This may seem like a common sense concept, but according to ALEX Asks, 49.5% of new hires said their manager didn’t send a welcome message, while 22.8% of respondents didn’t receive a welcome from anyone at all. Managers should also be available to welcome the new hires and introduce them to the rest of the team. The same ALEX Asks survey revealed that 12.3% of new hires didn’t meet their managers on their first day. While scheduling conflict is sometimes unavoidable, HR teams should work out a good schedule for a new hire to start. Employees are more likely to feel confident and motivated if they get the proper welcome from their manager. But managers don’t need to do everything themselves. The entire team has a stake in getting the new hire integrated as fast as possible, so onboarding responsibilities can be spread out. As the week progresses, you can schedule one-on-one lunches with the new hire and other employees. They can use the time to discuss serious matters like KPIs, and less serious ones like where the best place to get coffee is. All this contributes to helping the new hire fit in. Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers Keep Going! (Don’t Stop at Just 1 Week) Most employers stop the recruitment process once they’ve got a signed contract, a major blunder that has negative consequences on an employee’s growth and the company’s bottom line. Conventional wisdom suggests 100 days of onboarding is ideal, but one month or less is more realistic for many of today’s companies. A 2017 CareerBuilder survey showed that 21% of companies have a month-long onboarding process, while 25% only take a day. Only 11% are closer to having a 100-day process. It is unrealistic to expect an employee to be able to fully understand their role and fit in after just one week. Becoming immersed in employee culture takes time and resources, and the entire team needs to get involved. Plan activities for the new hire that will show them, rather than tell them, about what your company stands for. As time progresses, goal setting for the employee and initial monitoring should still be considered part of the onboarding process. Other company initiatives like mentorship can also be incorporated into the onboarding checklist. While the length of onboarding time may differ across companies, the principles remain the same: ensure retention and productivity in the most efficient way possible. It may seem like a tall order to create a stellar onboarding process, but it helps to invest in a workforce management system that handles some of the work for you. That way, you can save money on tedious tasks, and allocate more resources into developing the newest member of your workforce. Curious to know more about a workforce management system that provides custom onboarding? Book your free demo today.