July 9, 2020    |    By

When you first hire a new employee, it may take them some time to adjust to their new job, even if they are familiar with the tasks and responsibilities of that position. After all, they will need to get used to working with new coworkers and managers, working in a new environment, following different policies and processes, and more. As their employer, you can help your new employees acclimate quickly so that they can begin contributing to your business as soon as possible. If they have issues adjusting, it could cause them to become frustrated or stressed out, which can affect their performance and productivity. Implementing an effective onboarding process will help prevent this from happening.

A successful onboarding process involves educating new hires about company culture, company policies, and company processes, while also informing them about what you expect of them in terms of their job performance. The more thorough your onboarding process is, the easier time that new hires will have adapting to their new jobs. Not to mention that it can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their job performance. To make your job easier, it helps to have an onboarding checklist.

Why Do You Need An Onboarding Checklist?

There’s a lot to go over when it comes to inducting new employees into your workforce. You’ll want to put your new hires in the best possible position to succeed, which means that a thorough onboarding process is required. However, because thorough onboarding involves a lot of steps, having an onboarding checklist can be quite useful. An onboarding checklist will help you keep track of everything you need to do to successfully onboard a new employee so you don’t forget anything.

1. Don’t Rush The Onboarding Process

Do: Invest the Time Required For Successful Onboarding.

Trying to rush your new hires through the onboarding process is generally not a good idea. As much as you want them to hit the ground running, you must make sure that they don’t feel overwhelmed on their first day. The more time you invest in your onboarding process, the better the long-term result will be. If you take the necessary time to properly onboard your employees, they will have an easier time integrating with your company. Successful integration tends to result in employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and who will remain with your organization for longer. A new employee who is frustrated or stressed out due to an overwhelming and confusing first few weeks on the job will have a poor first impression of your company, which increases the risk that they will eventually leave.

Kickstart your onboarding process with a welcome email that provides new hires with general information that can reduce some of the stress and confusion of showing up for the first day of work. This email should include their start date, what time they need to show up, and where they should head to onsite. You may also want to include contact numbers for certain individuals, such as for their manager, who can answer any questions that they have. If there are any documents that they are required to bring, be sure to remind them in this email as well.

2. Do Have The Employee Complete The Required Paperwork

Don’t: Forget to Provide Paperwork That The New Hire Needs to Sign or Fill Out.

Make sure that any paperwork the new employee needs to fill out and sign is prepared and ready for the employee on their first day at work. It helps to have a checklist for whatever paperwork they will need so that you don’t forget anything. Standard documents that new hires typically need to sign and fill out include state and federal tax forms, health insurance forms, and any job-related forms (such as contracts and agreements). Include any helpful literature that they might need ready for them, such as an employee handbook.

Many companies have created systems in which new hires can simply view, complete, and sign required documents online. Investing in such a system can help make the process much more convenient for both parties.

3. Do Make The New Hire An Official Employee

Don’t: Forget to Officially Integrate Your New Hires Into The System.

Once you’ve officially hired a new employee, you will need to complete several tasks to ensure that they are officially recognized as an employee of your company. Such tasks include setting them up in payroll (they won’t be happy if they aren’t paid, after all) and providing them with an official ID card or access card if needed. Make it a point to announce the new hire to the team that they will be working with. New employees will find it challenging to integrate with their teams if their teams weren’t expecting new additions.

4. Don’t Assume Things Will Work Out On Its Own

Do: Take the Time to Brief New Employees.

Once new hires have completed all required paperwork, don’t just send them to their desk with the instructions to “get to it.” Be sure that they feel welcomed and that they are somewhat comfortable with their new environment. Spend some time briefing them about your work environment by introducing them to your company culture. Explain to new hires what you expect of them. Provide a basic overview of the day-to-day of the average employee within the office. Finally, discuss their benefits and compensation. Although this should have been discussed and agreed to previously, making sure that you’re on the same page as the employee is essential. The last thing you want is for there to be any misunderstandings about their benefits or compensation.

Provide a tour of the office space so that they can become more aware of their surroundings. This will help them get acclimated to the office environment faster. As you provide the tour, introduce the new hire to their coworkers. Forcing new employees to get to know who their coworkers are on their own time can be very stressful, especially for those who may be more on the introverted side. Making introductions makes this experience much less stressful for them.

5. Don’t Forget To Assign A Work Space

Do: Prepare The Work Space of the New Employee.

New hires won’t have a very good first impression if you forget to assign them a personal workspace. Before they arrive for their first day of work, establish a workspace for them. You will need to assign them space from which to work, such as a desk, cubicle, or office. If they show up and they have nowhere to go, they won’t be able to start work. You’ll have to find a space for them to work while they wait, which can end up being disruptive to the rest of your employees as well.

Provide The Necessary Tools

In addition to assigning new employees a workspace, you will also need to provide them with the equipment, tools, and materials that they need. For example, you may need to provide them with a computer system, logins, and access to your network, specific software applications, and office supplies. Of course, all of this depends on what the new employee’s job position requires. Not having the right tools and materials ready for your new employee is arguably just as bad as not having any tools and materials prepared for them.

6. Do Provide A Mentor

Don’t: Let New Employees Fend For Themselves.

One of the most effective ways to ensure a smooth transition is to assign a mentor to each new hire. A mentor should be a peer who can “show them the ropes” during the new employee’s first few weeks on the job. The mentor should help introduce the new employee to their coworkers, provide basic organizational knowledge, give general advice, and be available to answer any questions that the new employee has about the workplace. Without a mentor, new employees can often feel very isolated, especially since everyone else in the workspace has already formed existing relationships. Your new hires will feel much more welcome if they have someone that they know they can talk to.

7. Do Assess Progress

Don’t: Limit Feedback To New Employee Job Performance.

While you do want to monitor the performance of new employees, pay attention to how they are adapting to their new role and their work environment in general. To make sure that they are acclimating successfully, check in on your new employees periodically. The most effective way to chart their progress is to check in after the first month, the third month, and the sixth month. Take note of how they are adjusting and provide them with some feedback to help them adapt more effectively if you notice that they are having some issues.

However, make sure that the feedback isn’t one-way. Be sure to ask new employees how they are feeling and whether they have any concerns or questions. If you give new employees the chance to provide feedback about how they think the onboarding process is going, it will allow you to address any issues so that they can adapt more successfully. At the same time, this will also give you the chance to improve your onboarding process in general so that future employees will be able to integrate more successfully.

8. Do Adjust Your Checklist Accordingly

Don’t: Forget to Improve Your Checklist As Needed.

As you assess the progress of your new employees, routinely evaluate your onboarding checklist. If your new hires are having trouble acclimating to their new environment despite your onboarding efforts, you may need to make adjustments to your process to address any issues.

Components Of An Onboarding Process

The onboarding checklist should help you keep track of every step you need to take to successfully set new employees up on their first day at work. Through the use of an effective onboarding checklist, you will put new employees in the best possible position to succeed by helping them adapt to their new role and environment as quickly as possible. However, there are certain elements to address during the onboarding process to ensure its success. These are the four most important components of effective onboarding:

  • Compliance – To ensure that your company remains compliant with all state and federal rules and regulations, inform your new employees about their benefits plan options. Provide them with the necessary resources and make sure that you tell them about company policies, rules, and regulations as well.

  • Clarification – To avoid misunderstandings about the new hire’s role and responsibilities, clarify these things with them on their first day. You should also make sure to discuss the new employee’s role and expectations with their manager. Finally, explain precisely how the new employee fits in your organization by providing them with a detailed job description, process and procedure manuals, and organizational charts.

  • Culture – Remember that new employees may have come from companies with a different culture than yours, so inform your new hires about your company culture. Go over not just what your company’s mission, values, and history are, but also how people within your organization tend to work and communicate.

  • Connection – Establish a connection between new hires and everyone else at your company right away. If you don’t, new employees will feel isolated. First, introduce new employees to their team via email and in person. Then consider organizing a team lunch or meeting so that the new employee has a chance to engage with their coworkers for more than a brief second.

Get Better Results From Your New Team Members

Hiring the right employees is crucial, but even the most experienced and highly skilled employees can struggle to adapt to their new role and work environment without an effective onboarding process. By using this onboarding checklist, you’ll remember to address every vital component of the onboarding process. You’ll also provide new employees with the resources, information, and guidance that they need to adapt to their new jobs faster and more successfully.

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This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.