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Great employee onboarding can improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. But a great process involves many steps, delegated across several functions. A new hire checklist can help you keep track of each task, its assignee, and its status, so you can ensure each new hire has the same, great early employee experience.

Preboarding

Employee preboarding is the time between offer acceptance and your new hire’s first day. Eleven percent of people have changed their minds on an offer after signing, so it’s important not to neglect your new hire during this time. There are many things you can do to help them feel welcome and engage them:

  • Send a welcome email once the offer letter has been signed. Tell them how excited you are to have them join the company and invite them to reach out with any questions. Share key details about their first day or week, including the start date and time, their itinerary, the company dress code, and anything else they should know.
  • Assign the new hire a buddy, and introduce them. Invite your new hire to reach out to their buddy for questions, in addition to their manager.
  • Invite your new hire to complete a questionnaire to learn things like their nickname, t-shirt size, equipment preferences, and favorite snack foods. You may also ask some questions to get to know them better, and share fun tidbits in a weekly new hire announcement or during your next all-hands meeting.
  • Encourage employees to reach out to new hires via email, Slack, or LinkedIn to say hello and welcome.
  • Send paperwork to be completed, including W-4, I-9, benefits enrollment, direct deposit, and background checks.
  • Identify the new hire’s equipment needs and order items you don’t have on hand.
  • Provision accounts, including email, company-wide accounts, and department-specific accounts.
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with their manager, colleagues, and HR on their calendar.
  • Schedule training and development sessions in their calendar.
  • Set up office access, including badges, keys, and parking passes.
  • Prepare the new hire’s desk with equipment and company swag.
  • Send an inclusion email with upcoming team activities they can participate in.
  • Send the manager a reminder email the day before their new employee begins work so they’re prepared.

First day

With preboarding completed, the first day can be filled with celebration, introductions, and early learning. Your goals for the day are to leave a lasting positive impression:

  • Allow your new employee a later start time, so they can enjoy an easy morning and their manager can prepare for their arrival.
  • Ensure someone, ideally their manager, meets them at the door in the morning.
  • Take an office tour so your new hire knows where to find things like the restroom, kitchen, other departments, printers, office supplies, and anything else they may need.
  • Facilitate team introductions, perhaps over a light breakfast or during a team lunch outing.
  • Introduce your new hire to their buddy, and request that they schedule weekly meetings for the first month, and one or two monthly meetings thereafter. These should ideally extend six months into your new hire’s employment.
  • Discuss your new hire’s job responsibilities and goals during their first manager one-one-one.
  • Host a new hire orientation to cover some basic, but necessary, information about working at your company.

First week

Extend your warm welcome throughout your new hire’s first week, and set them up for success in their role:

  • Begin role-specific training and onboarding.
  • Continue with team introductions, including cross-functional teams.
  • Try to work in a new hire breakfast or lunch with your CEO or leadership team. This can show your organization’s dedication to transparency and communication.
  • Plan an end of week team building event, like a Happy Hour or Paint Night.
  • Check in with the new hire’s buddy to make sure they’ve had an opportunity to get together in the past week, and will again in the week to come.
  • Host an HR sync to ask the new hire how things went during their first week, and to collect some early feedback on your onboarding program.
  • Wrap up the week with a manager sync to provide early employee recognition and feedback.

First month

Continue to support your new hire as they ramp to full productivity:

  • Introduce all of your new hires at all-hands meeting, with information from their new hire survey, so you can continue building strong relationships between employees.
  • Maintain a people directory and org chart so employees can continue getting to know one another, and can easily find people in the organization.
  • Continue buddy meetings once per week.
  • Give regular shout outs to employees who have embodied company values, to recognize a job well done, and to reinforce values to the entire company.
  • Continue regular manager check ins. Review your new hire’s first projects and their progress toward goals. Discuss opportunities for improvement, and create an employee development plan with resources for continued education.
  • Assign a mentor.

90 days and beyond

Thirty percent of job seekers have left a job within 90 days of starting, so it’s important not to drop the ball on onboarding too soon:

  • Start tapering off training sessions.
  • Hold a 90-day performance review.
  • Continue weekly manager check ins around progress toward goals, opportunities for development, and employee recognition.
  • Continue buddy meetings once or twice a month.
  • Ask the new hire to complete your onboarding survey.
  • Ask your new hire to write a Glassdoor review for your company.

Final thoughts on building your new hire checklist

A strong employee onboarding process has many steps that need to be delegated between HR, IT, the new hire’s manager, and the new hire’s buddy. Utilizing a new hire checklist can ensure that each step is assigned and completed, so your new hire has a great employee experience from the beginning.

If you only make a few hires each month, a Google spreadsheet or project management software may suffice. But as your company scales, employee onboarding software can help you better manage this process. With so many moving parts, you want to be sure each step is being delegated and completed in a timely manner.

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