Onboarding New Hires – A Checklist

Following a successful recruitment process, most business owners are eager to get new hires onboard and working. But the notion that new employees can jump in and become productive without ongoing help is an outdated one. To retain the talent your business worked so hard to attract, you need a solid plan for onboarding new hires and a checklist of everything they need to succeed.

Why Your Business Needs an Onboarding Strategy

Gone are the days when a simple orientation was enough to introduce employees to their new work environment. In fact, experts now suggest that your business should be prepared to invest up to a year in grooming new personnel.

Developing a standardized onboarding strategy is critical for:

  • Integrating new hires into your company’s culture.
  • Providing them with the tools and guidance they need to perform.
  • Helping them build positive, productive work relationships.

The way you handle an employee’s first days, weeks, and months often determines whether they leave, stay, or ultimately thrive. So, we’ve put together an onboarding checklist to help you and your new hire get the most from their first year of employment.

Before Your Employee Starts Work

Rather than having new hires spend their first day on the job filling out paperwork, use email or an online onboarding portal to have them read and sign key documentation, including:

  • Employment contracts, TD1 tax forms, and other payroll and benefit information.
  • Your company’s employee handbook and details about their specific job duties.
  • A first-day-of-work primer outlining where to go and who to ask for on arrival, and any dress expectations.

You should also make a point of setting up your new hire’s workspace – complete with telephone, computer, and fully functional logins and passwords – before they start work.

The First Day

It’s only natural to want to set expectations and introduce work objectives right out of the gate. But it’s equally important to extend a warm welcome to your new employee that recaptures the enthusiasm of their recruitment experience.

  • Prepare existing staff for your new hire’s arrival by outlining the employee’s intended role, and how it will or won’t affect their work as a team.
  • Assign a staff member to greet and orient their new coworker.
  • Make time to meet and welcome your employee on the first day, and make sure they’re clear on their responsibilities.
  • Give your new hire a chance to get to know their coworkers by taking them to lunch or arranging an informal gathering.

The First Six Months

While it’s important for employees to adapt seamlessly to both their new position and your company’s culture, you should take care not to inundate them with too much information, too quickly.

  • Provide only the foundational training your new hire needs during their first week of employment.
  • Encourage them to pick a mentor, or assign a point-of-contact person who can answer any questions they have.
  • Conduct a one-month review where you can a) check in on your employee’s comfort and engagement levels, and b) provide thoughtful feedback on their contributions to date.
  • Given that some 33% of new employees quit within 90 days, it’s advisable to conduct follow-up reviews after 3 and 6 months.

The End of The First Year

Once you’ve successfully guided your new hire through their first year of employment, you can shift your focus to developing their future potential. Conduct an end-of-year performance assessment where you can:

  • Gauge your employee’s satisfaction level and job aspirations.
  • Discuss potential career directions and professional development opportunities.
  • Outline any plans for increased compensation.

Many employers have learned the hard way that an ineffective or nonexistent onboarding strategy results in lost productivity, poor employee retention, and decreased workplace morale. Delighting new hires from Day 1 is not only the new norm, it’s an effective way to sidestep the harsh costs of rehiring.