Onboarding: The Employer’s Checklist

Rosie Ramirez

26 December 2018    |   

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. Read more: Below average staff performance? Time to look at your onboarding process 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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Read more: Below average staff performance? Time to look at your onboarding process

The first week

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Rosie Ramirez

Our team's goal is to provide practical advice for business owners and managers across industries.

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