While it is sometimes seen as a compliance chore, onboarding is an incredibly important part of an employee’s journey with your company. It is their introduction to life at your organization and it is important to lay the proper groundwork for a long lasting and productive relationship.
A mishandled orientation can result in employees starting work already looking for the exit. But a thoughtful, thorough onboarding process can get them truly excited about working with you, causing them to be engaged with their work and more likely to stay put for years to come. You’ve already invested a lot of time and energy into bringing the new hire into your business, it’s worth the extra energy to set a strong foundation for the rest of their time at your company.
There are several foundational pillars to cover in a successful onboarding: the employee’s knowledge base and their integration into their new team, the company culture, and the mission/vision. You should provide them with the tools they need to succeed in their new position, and let them know where to go for help. At the same time, it’s important to connect them with the people they will be working with for the foreseeable future, and get them to buy into the mission and culture behind your work.
So you have to cover all of the bases getting a new hire integrated into the company’s systems, setting up their benefits and employment paperwork, giving them the knowledge they need to thrive at your company, AND make sure you get the human side of orientation right? In case that seems overwhelming, we have come up with two checklists to help you streamline and make the most of the onboarding process. Let’s take a look at those lists and then tackle how you can ace the “soft” side of orientation too.
New Hire Document Checklist
- Form I-9
- Form W-4
- Confidentiality agreement
- Emergency contact information
- Benefit forms
- Employee handbook
- Offer letter and job description
- Direct deposit form
- Organizational chart
- Phone list and office map
- Safety instructions
- Personnel action form
- State-required new hire pamphlets
- Other state or local documentation requirements
- Any other material a new hire would find useful on the first day
Orientation/Onboarding Procedure Checklist
- Review and discuss new hire paperwork
- Schedule or conduct safety training
- Provide tour and introductions with manager
- Provide information on company logistics including work station location, break rooms, and restrooms
- Provide instructions for phone and computer access
- Sign agreements for security access and keys
- Explain timekeeping requirements
- Explain organization structure (provide organization chart and job description)
- Discuss company mission, vision, values, and goals
- Describe company products and services
- Describe benefits of working at the company (employee benefits, job opportunities, etc.)
Get the Human Part of Onboarding Right
With so many technical details to cover during onboarding, it can be easy to forget the interpersonal aspect of orientation. The first day, and even the first few weeks, can be a stressful time for a new hire. They’ve made a serious commitment, and they want to be sure that they made the right choice. Since the onboarding process may well set the tone for the rest of their time with the company, it’s important to do as much as you can to set their minds at rest by showing what an awesome, supportive workplace they’re joining.
The great news is that there is a reason why they chose to work at your company, so you don’t have to do anything particularly different to make their first weeks go smoothly. Instead, you can just build on the energy that you developed during the hiring process. You have already convinced the new hire that your business is special, now show them what that means for their day to day life at your company and how they will fit into your mission and your culture.
The best way to ensure that a new hire has a rewarding, productive onboarding is to get buy-in from the rest of their team. Get all of the team members involved in equipping the new hire with the information they need to flourish in their new job and making them feel as welcome as possible. There is no better way to show a new employee that they matter than to get the people they will be working with for the next several years deeply involved in their onbarding. It will make them feel welcomed and appreciated, connect them to the people they will need to help them hit the ground running in their new position, and jump-start their integration into your company culture.
Perhaps the most important people to get involved in the new hire’s orientation are their direct managers and team leaders. These are the people who will be guiding the new employee once orientation is over, so it’s important to start with a strong foundation of trust. Don’t treat an introductory lunch with the manager as a mere formality; encourage your management team to take orientation seriously and really try to get to know the new hire. As much as possible, make managers responsible for onboarding and orientation to get them engaged in the process of integrating the new employee into their team.
Finally, make sure that both HR and managers check in on new hires regularly during orientation and the first weeks of work. You want to identify any issues, fears, or misgivings as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth onboarding process. Plus, it’s important to set the precedent of communication and transparency, and to show employees that you care about what they think, from day one.
Onboarding is your opportunity to show a new hire what makes your company special and make sure that you start the relationship on the right foot. Use our easy checklists to make covering your compliance bases easier so that you can focus on the human side of onboarding. Just make sure to:
- Provide a consistent experience from the first interview through the first months of employment
- Equip new hires with the information they need to flourish in their new position
- Show new employees how they fit into the company culture and how they will contribute to the mission/vision
- Get managers and team members involved in orientation to build effective, productive teams
Like many parts of assembling your workforce and developing your culture, onboarding and orientation can be a very personal experience. You should tailor the onboarding process to your needs and priorities. But hopefully these checklists and key takeaways will help you get started on perfecting the experience for your new hires.