The fact is: what happens or doesn't happen during onboarding sets the tone for a new employee's journey with a company. It can be the catalyst for a long, mutually beneficial relationship or a costly missed opportunity. 

With so much hanging in the balance, onboarding can't be left to chance ‚ÄĒ it demands a structured and strategic approach.

Without a well-defined process, a lot can go wrong. Companies lacking a formal onboarding process face costly consequences ¬†‚ÄĒ 16% report lower productivity, 14% face crippling inefficiencies, 12% contend with higher employee turnover, and 11% see a decline in employee morale.

The solution? 

An employee onboarding checklist.

This essential tool is the key to a seamless onboarding process that effectively integrates new hires, addresses their concerns, and guides them along the path to becoming valued members of your team.

Ready to create a checklist for a smoother, more effective onboarding process?

Let's get started.

Why An Employee Onboarding Checklist Is Important

An employee onboarding checklist is essential. Here's why:

  • Significantly improves onboarding outcomes: Boosts employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.¬†
  • Provides clear guidance: Serves as a roadmap for integrating new employees into your company.¬†
  • Ensures consistency and accountability: Maintains a replicable, standardized experience for all new hires.
  • Reduces stress and fosters success: Eases uncertainty, helping new hires integrate seamlessly.
  • Protects your investment: Increases new hire satisfaction and reduces costly turnover.¬†
  • Strengthens your company culture: Promotes a positive working environment and builds trust from day one.

Key Elements of an Employee Onboarding Checklist

Set your new hires up for success with these must-have checklist items.

Preboarding 

 

Successful teams are 53% more likely to preboard new hires. This is because preboarding ‚ÄĒ the period between a new hire accepting an offer and their very first day ‚ÄĒ has a significant impact on employee engagement.

Complete any Necessary Paperwork

Prioritize the completion of all necessary paperwork early on. While requirements may vary from company to company, this typically includes offers, agreements, contracts, acknowledgments, tax forms, bank deposit forms, and consent forms. For a more streamlined process, consider creating a checklist portal where employees and hiring managers can monitor paperwork progress in real time.

Provide Essential Welcome Documents

Be it an old-fashioned binder or a modern solution (such as an employee knowledge base), it is essential to provide welcome documents. These resources are invaluable, offering new hires guidance and answers to questions throughout their onboarding journey. 

Include common documents such as employee handbooks, training manuals, and process documentation. If applicable, also provide access to any self-service resources such as your company intranet, wiki, or internal knowledge base. 

Additionally, ensure new employees have their own checklist (similar to the one below) covering key milestones and check-ins. That way, they can track their progress and know what to expect during the onboarding process. 

Source

Grant Employee IT Access

Nothing kills productivity and morale like being locked out of everything on the first day. Prioritize IT access for new hires, whether they're in-office or remote. Ensure access to any software or tools needed for their role and team communication.

Additionally, use this as an opportunity to go over cybersecurity protocols and best practices. If you have proprietary systems or software, prepare step-by-step video guides and tutorials using an all-in-one process documentation tool Wizardshot.

Send a First-day Welcome Email

Send new hires a first-day welcome email to ease any jitters and showcase your welcoming culture. Include clear instructions on what to bring, who to see, and what to expect on the first day.  To make the experience even more memorable, consider including a welcome video from the CEO or team members.

Orientation: Days 1-30

 

 

A well-designed orientation process makes new employees feel valued and reduces the stress of starting a new position. During the first 30 days, focus on providing much-needed training, outlining company policies, showcasing products, and introducing new hires to your team dynamics.

Provide a Warm Welcome

Pair new employees with a buddy or mentor to offer guidance and support on their first day. This puts new hires at ease and ensures they have a point of contact for any questions. So a new hire feels valued from the start, have their buddy personally greet and welcome them.

Organize a Tour

Offer a guided tour of the workplace, highlighting key areas like break rooms, meeting spaces, and any other essential facilities. If possible, include a map for future reference. 

If you have a remote setup, introduce new hires to your virtual workspace and the communication platforms you use. Guide them through setup and explain how these tools are typically used.

Facilitate Team Introductions

Introduce new hires to the team and provide them with a list of key contacts, including names, job titles, and the best ways to reach them (e.g. email, chat platform). 

While only 35% of organizations involve leadership in onboarding programs, this can be a powerful way to inspire and motivate new hires. Set up meetings with senior leaders so new employees can learn more about the company's vision and mission, and how they fit into the bigger picture.

Offer Technology Training

Provide detailed training sessions for any specialized tools or platforms that are crucial to a new hire's role. This includes project management software, CRM systems, and any other technical tools they're expected to use regularly. 

Provide Role Specific Training

Ensure employees have the resources to excel in their specific roles. Offer training in a variety of formats, such as videos, live sessions, manuals, self-paced guides, or tutorials, to cater to different learning styles. This comprehensive training approach ensures new hires feel confident in their work, leading to higher productivity, lower stress levels, and fewer errors.

Outline Expectations

Communicate role-specific expectations, including standards for conduct, customer service, and teamwork. Additionally, provide and explain review materials such as feedback templates or self-assessment forms to empower new hires to reflect and set goals from the outset. 

Avoid overwhelming new hires early on. According to Zippia, new hires operate at 25% of their full productivity in the first 30 days, with productivity increasing by roughly 25% each subsequent month. So, while you want employees to be as productive as possible, don't pile on too much, too soon. 

Host a Company Culture Workshop

To avoid cultural missteps host an interactive culture workshop that covers:

  • Mission and values
  • Purpose and guiding principles
  • History and notable achievements
  • Products and services
  • Customer philosophy¬†

Explain the rationale behind core company values and go beyond theory to demonstrate how these values are applied in daily work. 

Plan Team Building Activities

Incorporate a variety of team-building activities, both formal and informal, to foster a sense of teamwork and belonging early on.

30-Day Check-in

The 30-day check-in evaluates how well a new hire is adjusting to their role and the company. It identifies successes, challenges, and areas for support. It also assesses the employee's emotional and cultural integration within the company. Overall, this crucial meeting sets the stage for open communication, helping new hires feel valued and heard.

Here are examples of questions to guide the 30-day check-in:

  • Is the job what you expected it to be?
  • Have you faced any surprises since joining the company?
  • Are you feeling sufficiently challenged by the position?
  • Is there anything you don't understand about the company or your role?
  • Do you feel you have the information, tools, and resources you need to do your job successfully?
  • Is there any specific training you feel you need to do your job well?
  • Are you facing any challenges?
  • Is there anything I can help you with?
  • In your first month with us, what stands out?

Integration: Days 31-60

 

 

This crucial period marks the transition from initial learning to active integration and performance reviews. It is also when 20% of new hires are likely to quit (often due to unmet expectations). So, manage expectations proactively, boost morale, and provide ongoing support. 

Clarify Goals and Expectations

As new employees settle into their roles, ensure that they fully understand both long and short-term expectations. This helps align their daily work with company objectives and fosters an understanding of what success looks like in their role.

Celebrate Wins 

Acknowledging and celebrating achievements can significantly boost a new hire's confidence and morale. Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to make new employees feel valued and appreciated. In turn, this contributes to overall job satisfaction and engagement.

Give Constructive Feedback 

Constructive feedback is crucial during this period. It helps address skill gaps and realign expectations if necessary. Ensure feedback is specific, actionable, and delivered in a supportive manner that encourages growth and learning.

Assign More Responsibilities 

Gradually increase a new hire's responsibilities to encourage autonomy and build confidence in their role. As their productivity increases, assign sufficiently challenging projects, while providing the support and resources they need to succeed. 

Provide Additional Training and Resources 

Identify areas for development through performance reviews, and tailor training and resources to specific skill gaps. This personalized approach empowers new hires to excel in their roles and reach their full potential.

Facilitate Continued Connection

Create more opportunities for new hires to connect with teammates through team lunches, volunteering opportunities, well-being programs, and other appropriate shared experiences. These activities build a strong support network within the company which is essential for social integration and enhancing overall job satisfaction for new hires.

60-Day Check-in

The second check-in is an opportunity to assess a new hire's progress and how they're applying their new skills. It's a time to support continued growth by identifying wins, addressing speed bumps, and setting the stage for increased autonomy. 

Key questions to ask include:

  • What areas/tasks/projects are you enjoying the most within your position?¬†
  • Are there any new skills that you feel you have developed or strengthened?
  • What are some elements of the position you are not enjoying as much?
  • Which colleagues have been helpful since you started?
  • Have you had any uncomfortable situations, or conflict with teammates, superiors, or customers?
  • Do you understand what the company expects of you?

Acclimation: Days 61- 90 

 

As new hires approach their third month, they're crossing a significant threshold. Not only are they starting to master the skills needed to excel in their roles, but they are also gearing up to tackle greater responsibilities and long-term objectives.

So, focus on reinforcing new hire proficiency, increasing their autonomy, and further solidifying their position in the company. It is crucial to keep providing support and guidance while encouraging independent problem-solving and teamwork.

Provide Supplementary Resources 

Ensure new hires have ongoing access to supplementary resources and support materials, including any company-sponsored professional development (CPD) opportunities. Explain the benefits of such programs and how they can support the new hire's career growth.

Encourage Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Assign new hires projects or tasks that require cross-departmental collaboration. This provides new hires a valuable opportunity to apply their skills, build wider connections within the company, and gain a broader understanding of different business areas.

Discuss Career Aspirations and Professional Goals

While this may have been touched on during the interview process, revisit aspirations and professional goals. This open dialogue helps align a new hire's ambitions with company opportunities and provides a clear path for growth.

Create a Personalized Development Plan

Building on discussions about career aspirations, work with new hires to create personalized development plans. This reflects positively on the company and demonstrates investment in a new employee's long-term growth. Ensure that the plan includes their goals, company objectives, clear milestones, and a realistic timeline.

90-Day Check-in

For many new hires, this final check-in marks the end of a 90-day probationary period. It's the ideal time to conduct an in-depth performance assessment, clarify expectations, and ensure continued alignment for a successful working relationship.

More importantly, don't miss out on the opportunity to improve your onboarding process. Actively seek new hire feedback on their work, training, and overall onboarding experience. A staggering 55% of organizations overlook this valuable chance to refine their processes.

That said, incorporate the following forward-looking and retrospective questions into your 90-day check-in:

  • Do you have any questions about the company, industry, or current initiatives that you're still unsure about?
  • What skills have you developed and are there any skills you would like the opportunity to develop in the upcoming weeks and months?
  • So far, what part of the onboarding process has been most effective and beneficial?
  • What parts of the onboarding process do you feel could be better?
  • Do you believe your ideas and suggestions are valued? Please give examples
  • Where would you like to see yourself in the company in the long term?

Wizardshot: Empower Employees During and Beyond Onboarding

An HBR report reveals that 23% of employees leave before their first work anniversary. So, even after the initial onboarding process is complete, it's crucial to keep the momentum going.

To retain your talent, prioritize ongoing support, training, and development opportunities. Schedule regular performance reviews and use insights from individual development plans to devise strategies that keep employees motivated, engaged, and productive.

The journey to long-term employee success starts with onboarding but continues with resources that make knowledge-sharing easy. For a streamlined and efficient way to develop onboarding and training materials, try Wizardshot. 

Our software captures your workflows, instantly transforming them into engaging video step-by-step guides and tutorials. 

Start creating onboarding and training resources today. Sign up for Wizardshot ‚ÄĒ it's free.