A 2017 study by Kronos revealed that 76 percent of organizations fail to properly use onboarding practices, with only 47 percent of responders considering their onboarding process effective in retaining new hires.
With onboarding such an integral part of a new hire’s experience, organizations need to craft an effective plan that prioritizes retention and productivity. And a great way to structure that plan—and make sure you’re creating an onboarding experience that not only helps your new hires acclimate to the company, but also sets them up for success in the long run?
An onboarding checklist.
Creating and following an onboarding checklist helps human resources teams streamline onboarding while ensuring the process is comprehensive and easy (for both you and your new hires) to follow. It also lays the foundation for a positive, successful working experience.
But what key elements should you include in your onboarding checklist? Let’s take a look at the key steps you, as an HR professional, will want to check off your list as you onboard new employees:
- 1. Send the new hire a welcome email
- 2. Request and complete new hire paperwork
- 3. Provide a new hire welcome packet
- 4. Set up equipment and access
- 5. Host a new hire orientation
- 6. Tour the building or workspace
- 7. Assign a mentor or trainer
- 8. Set 30/60/90-day goals
- Adopt collaboration software to streamline your onboarding checklist
1. Send the new hire a welcome email
When you hire a new employee, you want to start things off on the right foot. And one way to do that? Making sure they have a warm welcome as soon as they open their inbox.
Sending a welcome email from human resources is a great way to celebrate a new employee joining your team, introduce them to your culture, and set out expectations for the start of their new role—all of which are essential for an effective onboarding process.
When sending your welcome email, make sure to:
- Write in a positive and optimistic tone
- Be informal, but professional
- Share information about your organization
- Include and reiterate any important information they’ll need for their first day, like start time, location, dress code (if they’re working on-site), and necessary paperwork
- Provide contact information for the new hire’s trainer or point of contact
- Attach an orientation schedule or checklist
You can also include links to company documents, like your handbook, but try to keep the welcome email short and sweet. You don’t want to overwhelm the new hire with information best shared later during orientation.
2. Request and complete new hire paperwork
Though new hire paperwork—like background check authorization, tax forms, and direct deposit authorization—is often a tedious HR/administrative task, it’s one of the most important parts of onboarding. Including paperwork as one of the first elements in your onboarding checklist can help you and your new hire get the tedious part out of the way—freeing you up to focus on other, more hands-on (and interesting!) onboarding activities.
Streamline paperwork by asking the new hire to fill it out before onboarding (for example, you might send the paperwork via email or on your company’s collaboration platform). This can avoid the trap in which 58% of organizations focus on processes and paperwork during onboarding (instead of on people).
3. Provide a new hire welcome packet
Ideally, you want everything your new employee needs to settle into your organization in one place. That way, they have what they need, when they need it—and don’t need to search for any documents, paperwork, or other onboarding assets.
Gather materials about the role and your company into a welcome packet. This can be physical or digital, but should provide the new hire with reference material to help them get familiar with your organization. Include:
- The employee handbook
- Some nice goodies
- Benefits information
- Training materials
- Company information
- A job description for their role
- A company directory (or instructions on how to access it)
This information can be added to a knowledge base or shared drive for easy access—and once you put it together, you won’t need to manually find and send each component for every new hire, which frees up HR’s time and energy to focus on more important parts of the onboarding process.
4. Set up equipment and access
Before the new hire starts, ask your organization’s IT department to grant the new employee access to necessary software and tools. If the employee will work remotely, verify that they have the necessary equipment—and that it’s been set up properly (for example, with access to your company intranet).
On day one, provide the new hire with any relevant login or account details. Outline your security protocols and provide any necessary training information for how to use specific tools and programs (for example, training videos or a schedule of live training sessions).
5. Host a new hire orientation
Orientation—actually meeting and introducing the new hire to your organization—is one of the most important elements human resources can include in an onboarding checklist. An effective orientation helps assimilate the employee into your organization, allowing them to connect with colleagues and coworkers and get a real-world sense of your company culture.
The kicker? When done properly, new hire orientations can help retain talent, earn trust, and reduce turnover.
So, what does “properly” look like? Start by introducing the new hire to coworkers and managers, welcoming and answering any questions, and acquainting the employee with their new position. Get them excited about the company and their role in it.
While orientations will vary from company to company, a schedule for an effective day 1 new hire orientation might look something like this:
- 9:30am: Arrival
- 9:30am to 10am: Office walkthrough
- 10am to 10:30am: Leadership team introductions
- 10:30am to 12pm: HR meeting (review onboarding schedule, policies and procedures the new hire needs to know, etc.)
- 12pm to 1pm: Lunch
- 1pm to 4pm: Introductions/one-on-ones with managers, supervisors, and key colleagues
- 4pm to 4:30pm: Team Q+A session
- 4:30pm to 5pm: HR Q+A session
Also, don’t feel the need to orient your employee all at once! Orientation is a process, which means you shouldn’t overwhelm the employee right away. Depending on the role and your organization, orientation can easily stretch to upwards of one week.
6. Tour the building or workspace
If your new hire is sharing office space with your team, touring the workspace is a great way to gradually introduce them to the workplace. It’s also helpful to show the employee how to find important departments (like human resources) or specific areas (like the cafeteria or bathrooms).
But what if the employee works remotely? Set up a video chat and share your screen to guide the employee through the digital workspace. Discuss frequently used tools and offer suggestions for how to set up and use these tools to connect and interact with the rest of the team. Make sure the new hire understands how to contact different departments, join meetings, and otherwise collaborate with their coworkers and company leadership.
Also read: Hybrid Work: HR and Internal Communication Best Practices
7. Assign a mentor or trainer
It doesn’t matter how thorough your onboarding process is—your employee is going to need continued support and guidance as they navigate the first weeks and months of their new position. And a great way to give them that support and guidance? Hooking them up with a more experienced colleague to act as their mentor.
During introductions (whether in-person or via video conferencing), introduce the new hire to a mentor who will act as a go-to person, providing ongoing support and guidance during the first weeks and months of the new employee’s tenure with the company.
You’ll also want to make sure the mentor has a clear understanding of what’s expected of them (for example, making themselves available if the new hire has questions or scheduling a weekly one-on-one meeting to make sure they’re settling into their new role). Encourage the mentor to serve as a role model that helps the new hire grow into the role and become familiar—and comfortable—with your organization and its culture.
8. Set 30/60/90-day goals
The initial onboarding typically takes around three months. But there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how long you should invest in onboarding your employee—and chances are, they’ll need longer than three months to fully settle into their role. (For example, one 2012 survey revealed that it can take an average of eight months for a new employee to reach full productivity.)
Setting goals—and checking in on progress toward those goals—should be a key element in your onboarding checklist. This gives your organization insight into an employee’s productivity and lets you measure its pace. On the flip side, it also sets clear expectations for the employee, giving them a framework to work toward meaningful milestones as they gradually assimilate into the company and become more engaged.
Sit down with your new employee and set goals for their first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment. Then schedule check-ins at those markers to review their progress. At those check-in meetings, make sure to provide and ask for feedback, clarify any issues, and answer any questions they have. If your new hire is falling short on any of their goals, work with their mentor or supervisor to determine if those goals are realistic—and then make adjustments if and where necessary.
Adopt collaboration software to streamline your onboarding checklist
There are many key elements to include in your onboarding checklist—and these require collaboration to ensure a successful and productive onboarding process. A powerful all-in-one collaborative platform like Talkspirit can streamline your onboarding processes, improving the experience for your organization and your new employee—and supporting higher productivity and employee retention in the process.
Talkspirit provides all the features you need to support communication and collaboration across your organization, whether your organization works in-person, remotely, or on a hybrid basis. Use tools like the newsfeed, the library and shared drive to effectively share information with new hires, chat and video conferencing to communicate with them remotely, and webinars for training and continuing education.
Interested in learning more about Talkspirit and how it can support key elements in your onboarding checklist? Schedule a demo or sign up for your free trial today!