The Ultimate New Hire Onboarding Checklist
Onboarding a new hire might seem like a matter of legalities and logistics. But first impressions matter. Your new employee’s first few days set the tone for their experience with your organization. A disorganized onboarding process won’t just leave them feeling frustrated and disoriented — it could have a long-term impact on how competent they believe your company to be.
To make sure that your new hire feels welcome — and that nothing slips through the cracks at the same time — use the following onboarding checklist to guide each new employee’s first days:
After the Offer is Accepted
Your new hire has accepted your offer of employment, and you’ve worked together to set a start date. What needs to happen before this day to help your employee hit the ground running?
- Complete a background check (if needed). Tools like GoodHire and HireRight can streamline the process by allowing new hires to complete the necessary forms online.
- Send the new hire for a drug screen (if needed).
- Email the new hire with the following pieces of information, as well as any others that are relevant to your organization:
- Work hour expectations
- Dress code
- Directions and parking information
- A reminder to bring I9 documentation
- A reminder to bring voided check/checking account info, if needed for direct deposit enrollment (tools like Gusto may make it possible to complete this process online)
- Assign the new hire an email account and/or phone number within your existing systems.
- Create accounts on any software programs or company drives the employee will need and send the login information to their new company email address.
- Prepare an onboarding binder with the following documents (save money on duplicate printing costs by ordering the right binder size from the start):
- Employee handbook and/or other policies
- State tax form
- NDA/confidentiality agreement
- Emergency contact form
Set Up the New Hire’s Workspace
Imagine joining a new company and arriving on your first day — only to find that a space hadn’t been prepared for you. Beyond such surface-level concerns such as where to store your jacket or purse, this lack of preparation would undoubtedly leave you wondering how much the organization really values your presence.
Take the following steps to make sure the appropriate space is ready when your new hire arrives on-site:
- Assign the new hire a cube or desk, if they will be working on-site.
- Provision a computer and/or any other necessary equipment.
- Request a set of keys/building pass for the new hire, if needed.
- Order business cards for the new hire, if needed.
- Order any necessary office supplies and stock them in the new hire’s desk.
- Place a new welcome gift on the new hire’s desk (such as a company mug or logo jacket).
- Put together a “First Day Info” print-out with key login details and place it on the new hire’s desk.
Of course, if your new hire will be working remotely, you’ll need to adjust this list. Although you won’t need to worry about considerations such as assigning a desk or requesting keys, you may need to take additional steps beyond those listed here, including mailing the welcome gift in advance and communicating your security expectations for device usage.
Your New Hire’s First Week
Starting a new job can feel a lot like being the new kid on the first day of school. Carefully scheduling your new hire’s experiences for their first few days takes some of the anxiety out of the onboarding process, while also ensuring they’re given all of the information needed to be successful in their new role.
Here’s how to do it:
- Schedule your new hire’s first day meetings in advance, giving priority to those the employee will spend the most time with in their role (such as managers or direct reports).
- Set up a welcome lunch with the new hire’s team, if appropriate.
- Send a welcome email to the organization that introduces the new hire.
- Give the employee an introduction to the business and revisit their job description.
- Give the employee a tour of the office.
- Go over the new hire’s paperwork and/or any benefits eligibility dates they may be subject to.
- Go over expectations for the new hire’s first week, as agreed upon in advance with their manager.
- Set up the new hire in all software systems they’ll need to perform their job and collaborate with team members.
If your organization conducts periodic reviews (such as after a 90-day probationary period or after one year of employment), schedule these and other important milestones on your calendar now so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Planning Ahead for Onboarding Success
Though we’ve tried to include as many details as possible in the lists above, every organization is different — and that means that the needs of every onboarding process will be different as well.
Use these lists as a starting point, but treat them as living documents that you update with every new hire you bring onboard. As you learn what works and what doesn’t work for your organization, update your onboarding checklist to ensure the smoothest possible start for every new employee.
Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.