What is employee onboarding? More importantly, how can it help your organization?

In a recent interview on the podcast “Mission to Grow,” Mike Vannoy discussed recent surveys of more than 2,000 small businesses. The survey found that 85% of fast-growth companies have an onboarding new employee checklist for an employee’s first day of work. Among companies that suffered from a slow year, this figure was just 60%. In 25% of businesses, effective onboarding checklists make the difference between company growth and decline.  

By using a sample new employee onboarding checklist, you can create a template for your organization to follow. Research shows that when onboarding is done correctly, it can lead to 62% better new-hire productivity and 50% higher retention rates. Other than boosting your company’s productivity, employee onboarding tools can also improve employee engagement.

What Is Employee Onboarding? 

At its heart, employee onboarding is a way to integrate new employees into the organization. It includes discussing all of the policies and tools that the new employee will need to succeed. On a basic level, this may involve setting up passwords, providing the employee with a workstation, and granting them computer access. 

Onboarding should also include a progressive, detailed training schedule. In one survey, 52% of new hires said they felt undertrained during onboarding. Remote workers and small business employees were particularly hard hit, with 63% and 66% of workers reporting being undertrained, respectively. 

Your employee onboarding template should include more than just training materials. During this stage, employees should complete all of their pre-employment paperwork and become familiar with the position’s benefits. Additionally, your onboarding new employee checklist should include plenty of time for new hires to get introduced to team members and the other people they will be working with. 

Sample New Employee Onboarding Checklist 

In a recent survey, 51% of employees reported that they would go above and beyond in their work if they were given a positive onboarding experience. By following a good employee onboarding template, you can give your new hires a better experience. In addition, following the same template, each time provides employees with a consistent experience. As Jax Lewis principal Brian Shinker has said, “We want to make sure that we’re taking consistent approaches across all candidates.” Other than providing training benefits, consistency can also protect companies from potential Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints in the future. 

Each organization has different needs. However, the following sample new employee onboarding checklist includes some of the most important employee onboarding tools and procedures that you will need. 

1. Prepare a Pre-Boarding Process 

Before you begin the rest of your onboarding new employee checklist, you should get started with the pre-boarding process. This can be as simple as sending a welcoming email to your new employee. In the email, you can list important information, such as your company’s dress code, the time they should show up for work, and what to expect on their first day. Sometimes, the pre-boarding stage also includes completing any paperwork that can be easily handled through emails.

2. Offer a Detailed Job Description

After greeting the new employee, take some time to go over their written job description. As Shinker discussed in a recent “Mission to Grow” podcast, a great job description helps with the hiring process by identifying the skills employees must have to do the job. More importantly, you want new employees, “to receive the job description so that they’re on the same page as to what their essential and non-essential functions are.” 

This document gives your new hire clarity about the duties they will be performing. It also serves as the basis for any future performance reviews. When you go over the job description with a new hire, you should also cover the employee handbook at the same time. 

3. Complete Employment Forms

Now, you should help your new hires complete all of their employment forms. This includes their W-9 and I-4 forms. Depending on your organization, you may also need to give them information about their contract, employment agreements, or benefits. Some organizations also require non-disclosure agreements and other legal contracts. 

4. Set Up Their Accounts and Workspace

Once the onboarding paperwork has been handled, it is time to move on to the next step in your employee onboarding template. You need to get your new hire set up with a workspace, computer access, and email accounts. If they will need to access various software programs or online accounts, you need to get them the login credentials they need. To make your new hire feel welcomed, you should set up their office with branded swag from your workplace, like pens, shirts, and mugs. 

5. Create Performance Metrics

To create performance metrics, you can start with the job description. Each role and responsibility in the job description should be used for the employee’s future reviews. Ideally, your performance metrics should incorporate SMART goals. 

  • Specific: To be a SMART goal, the objective must be specific and focused on attaining a single goal.
  • Measurable: Likewise, you must create goals that can be quantified and measured. Otherwise, you won’t be able to gauge whether you have achieved the goal or not. 
  • Achievable: To be motivating, goals should be reasonable. They should also be difficult enough to be a challenge.
  • Relevant: SMART goals should be relevant to the big picture and the employee’s overall role in your company. 
  • Time-bound: To be effective, your goals should have specific parameters for when they must be accomplished. Then, the timeline should be shared with the employees involved. 

6. Introduce New Hires to Other Employees

As a part of your general employee onboarding template, you should spend some time introducing each new hire to your other employees. This helps new hires feel like they are a part of the team. Other than meeting their fellow team members, they should also be introduced to people they may need to reach out to for help or assistance. For example, an administrative coordinator may want to meet people who work in the IT, human resources, and accounts payable departments.

7. Connect With a Peer Mentor

Having a friend or mentor at work is a major component of employee engagement and job success. By partnering team members with a mentor, you are giving them their first work buddy. A mentor helps new employees feel less alone as they begin working at a new job. Additionally, new employees can turn to a peer mentor when they have questions or need advice about a problem. 

8. Provide a Facilities Tour

Before employees can start their jobs, they need to understand their work location. As you complete your onboarding new employee checklist, you should take some time to show employees where they will be working. You should point out the break area, restrooms, conference rooms, and other locations they will need to be familiar with. 

To save time, you can offer the facilities tour while you introduce the employee to their co-workers. You can also provide new hires with maps to desk locations and amenities, so they can easily find the right people and places later on. Additionally, you should give the new hire the access code and keys they need to access their office and other important areas.

9. Plan for Ongoing Check-Ins

After you have finished all of your employee onboarding tools and checklists, you should take some time to plan out future check-ins. On a basic level, these check-ins can go over the performance metrics and goals you discussed when you reviewed the employee’s job description with the employee. Check-ins are also useful for seeing how an employee feels about their job and how well they have adjusted to working with their new team members. 

Check-ins are more than just an opportunity to review the employee’s performance. They are also an excellent time for the employee to review your performance. Make an effort to get feedback on the onboarding process and how your company can make improvements. Then, plan on offering additional check-ins at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day milestones.


How Long Does Onboarding Take? 

There is no simple rule for how long onboarding should take. Typically, it lasts for a few weeks to a year. Most HR professionals recommend spending three to six months on the onboarding process. 

After the initial few days, you won’t need to devote as much time to onboarding. Instead, your ongoing onboarding process may be confined to check-ins at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day marks. Depending on your organization, you may also want to schedule weekly follow-up meetings to see how new hires are getting along in their positions. 

Why Is Onboarding Important?

Onboarding is important because it is the first impression your new hire has of your company and determines how engaged they will be at work. Starting a new job is a lot like being the new kid at school. It can be incredibly intimidating to a newcomer, but a friendly face and supportive environment can make the entire process go smoother. 

Studies show that 25% of new hires quit their jobs in just three months. Poor onboarding plays a factor in this turnover rate. With a good onboarding policy, you help new hires become productive faster. They don’t have to waste time figuring out how to use the printer or the correct procedures for reviewing a proposal. 

It can take three to six months for employees to fully acclimate to their new role. Good onboarding can speed up this process. It helps to reduce turnover, improve employee engagement, boost job satisfaction, and increase productivity.

Why Should You Use an Employee Onboarding Checklist? 

A new hire’s first impression of your organization is made during the onboarding process. Because of this, you want your employee onboarding tools and documents to be as organized as possible. This makes you look more professional to the new hire, and it prevents you from missing any important steps.

Other than giving your new hire a great experience, employee onboarding tools are also important from an HR perspective. Your HR department is responsible for making sure each employee is in legal compliance with employment laws, safety policies, and local regulations. Because of this, your onboarding process will generally involve filling out W-4 and I-9 forms on the first day. You will most likely spend time providing information about safety policies, lunch break requirements, and overtime pay.

Get Started on Your Onboarding Checklist Today 

By looking at a sample new employee onboarding checklist, you can get a better understanding of how effective your employee onboarding template is. Then, you can adjust your onboarding new employee checklist to include the best tools and techniques. Once your employee onboarding tools and checklists are finished, you can enjoy having more engaged team members and a more profitable company.

If your organization needs guidance from small business HR experts, Asure can help. For a fraction of the cost of in-house HR resources, our certified HR experts can help you maintain compliance and influence productivity-boosting practices to help your business thrive. Connect with us today. 

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