Imagine you’ve joined a new organization. You’re excited to start! You believe in the mission, and you’ve enjoyed meeting the team during the interview process. But on your first day, your workstation isn’t set up. No one greets you. Someone hands you paperwork to fill out. You don’t know what you’re expected to do today.
First impressions count. As an employer, you want to let employees know your workplace is professional and organized. A proper employee onboarding with a first-day checklist can help your new employees be productive right from the start.
In fact, our 2023 HR Survey data shows 1 in 3 companies that didn’t experience growth last year do NOT have a first-day checklist for new employees. Conversely, 8 in 10 growing companies DO have a first-day checklist. Download your complimentary copy of Asure’s HR Benchmark Report here.
If you’d like help with onboarding, learn how to partner with Asure’s HR experts.
What Is a First Day Checklist?
A first day checklist equips managers with steps to guide new hires on their very first day at work. A good checklist ensures compliance with employment laws and prepares new employees with everything they need for a successful start with your business.
Without a first day checklist, your business risks an inefficient process, confusion, and immediate disengagement on the part of the employee. Nearly one in three new hires quit their job in the first 90 days, according to the Job Seeker Nation Report. You can protect your business from this kind of turnover with a proven HR onboarding process.
Example of a First Day Checklist
You can use this for guidance, but your first day checklist may differ. Your checklist should be customized for employment laws in your jurisdiction and to meet the needs of your specific business and industry. Your checklist should very likely include two very critical items: a completed Form I-9 from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and an Employee Handbook.
Form I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification absolutely must be completed within 3 business days of the first day of work for pay. Your Employee Handbook conveys your company’s vision, values, policies, code of conduct, and much more.
Our 2023 HR Survey revealed that 8 in 10 Fast Growing companies have had an Employee Handbook updated in the past 12 months. Our survey revealed the downside too. Nearly 40% of companies that didn’t grow last year do not have an Employee Handbook updated in the past 12 months.
An example first day checklist:
Complete New Hire Paperwork
☐Non-disclosure, non-compete or other legal documents
Devices and Credentials
☐WiFi access / VPN
☐Access to shared devices such as printer
☐Mobile phone, tablet, or other additional job-specific devices
☐Email address and password
☐Company-wide accounts (Instant Messaging, Project Boards, etc.)
☐Time clock / Attendance system
☐Access to job-specific technology
☐Add employee to relevant email lists
☐Let employee know where to find on-demand video training and intranet
☐Employee has a place to work
☐All necessary furniture at the workspace
☐Access to office supplies
☐Welcome kit (can include branded items such as a reusable water bottle, t-shirt etc.)
☐Tour of the building
☐Confirm understanding of physical needs (ex. food allergies, wheelchair ramps, lactation room, etc.)
Socialization With the Team
☐Greet new employee
☐Introduce new hire to team
☐Send new hire announcement email
☐Provide training plan to employee and calendar of orientation meetings
☐Explanation of benefits and insurance plans
☐Review employee handbook
☐Review safety policies
☐Review technology policies and support process
☐Assign a peer mentor
Schedule Check-ins and Trainings
☐Request onboarding feedback from the new employee
☐Schedule training sessions
☐Schedule one-week check-in
☐Schedule 30-day check-in
☐Schedule 60-day check-in
☐Schedule 90-day check-in
First Day Checklist Benefits to Employers
The checklist makes for an orderly process. By quite literally checking the boxes, you know when your organization has communicated everything to your new hire. This reduces the possibilities of forgetting to do something. It also gives managers and new hires confidence. Without a first day checklist, your organization is inviting an opportunity for chaos. A feeling of chaos can make your team feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
Your business will need to customize your checklist to fit your needs. You may decide to include more of the items in the checklist above based on the data we uncovered by surveying over 2,000 U.S. small businesses:
76% of Fast Growth Companies provide leadership training to managers, compared to just 41% of businesses which had a Down Year.
So, consider scheduling management training as part of your first day checklist for people joining your team as a supervisor or manager. Even if the new hire has management experience, your work culture might call for different strategies and tactics.
83% of Fast Growth companies provide on-demand training resources for employees. Only 56% of businesses who had a Down Year provide on-demand training.
When you have on-demand training with video lessons or online interactive demos, your new hires can start training on Day One, instead of waiting for your educators to have time on their calendar.
88% of Fast Growth companies provide regular structured training for employees, compared to 62% of businesses that suffered a Down Year.
Scheduling training for your new hires as part of their first day checklist sets the tone. This isn’t a sink or swim situation for your new employee. Instead, they will have swimming lessons. They can chart their progress. You can fairly expect more from your employees having invested in sharpening their skill sets.
A well-structured first day for your new employees welcomes them, sets the tone, communicates the culture, keeps your business compliant with the law, and sets your new contributors up for success.
1 – Customize Your Checklist
Tailor your first day checklist to align with your specific business needs.
2 – Legal Compliance
Ensure that your checklist covers essential legal requirements. Key documents such as the Form I-9 should be completed within the specified timeframe.
3 – Employee Handbook
Provide your new hires with an updated Employee Handbook that outlines your company’s vision, values, policies, code of conduct, and expectations.
4 – Device and Logins
Your new employees can’t do much if they’re locked out of their technology!
5 – Workspace Preparation
Ensure everything is set-up for new hires.
6 – Socialization
You don’t want your new team members to feel alone. Welcome them with team introductions, a new hire announcement email, and a team lunch.
7 – Orientation and Training
Walk your new employees through benefit plans, safety policies, technology guidelines, and other essential orientation topics. Assign a peer mentor to help them navigate their initial days.
8 – Schedule Check-ins
Plan regular check-in meetings to ensure your new hires are integrating smoothly into the company culture.
An effective first day checklist is the foundation for a successful and engaging employee experience. You can communicate professionalism, organization, and respect for employees by adhering to a streamlined process for each individual you onboard to the company.
After all the investment to recruit talent, be sure to nurture and retain your talent. A First Day Checklist is an essential element. As a busy business owner, you know that, but you might not have the time or resources to do this yourself.
Did you know you can outsource this process to SHRM-certified professionals? Learn more about how Asure helps over 100,000 businesses grow by taking care of critical support functions such as Human Resources.