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5 Steps for an Onboarding Checklist (Ultimate Guide)

5 Steps for an Onboarding Checklist (Ultimate Guide)

|Dec 18, 2023

Any reputable company should ensure that all its new hires start with a comprehensive onboarding process. Depending on the structure of the organization, this function may be carried out by HR, management, or a combination of both. Regardless of what the case may be in your firm, an onboarding checklist helps you get things done right. 

Laying out the required bases to cover is akin to having a map when traveling a complex route. You may remember some areas, but it's very likely for you to miss something if you don't refer to the directions you were given. The new hire checklist simply gives you a guide to follow, and once you do, onboarding is successful, and nothing is missed. 

The foundation of a new hire checklist can be the most difficult part of the process. Once you get things going, however, it gets a lot easier. You may think that you are trying to develop something complicated, but that is not the case. Provided it is effective, a new employee onboarding checklist does not have to include many steps. 

For example, the information below encompasses five steps you can use. These can form a complete HR onboarding checklist and are a part of one. 

The Importance of Onboarding a New Hire Correctly

Why do you do onboarding? As you've come to know and as the information above would have indicated, it's something that any reputable company does. Still, there must be a reason why that is the case and why you are now reading this whole information spread about the onboarding process checklist creation. 

It all boils down to effective preparation. Imagine that you were selected to speak at your high school to a new generation of seniors who are hopeful to enter the professional world. What if your speech were to be ready within two weeks? That query is very easy to answer. You would simply prepare, so you would cover everything you need to consistently and logically. 

What if the game were changed though? What if you were on your way to work and you were asked to take the day off to give a speech at your high school? In this instance, no one told you anything before and you must essentially “wing it.” That's a recipe for disaster, right? 

Remote employee onboarding is the same. You typically hire talent because you see the ability to produce a strong performance. However, people do need something to work with, and a proper introduction helps. Having skills is one thing but knowing where one is expected to apply them is another ball game.

Where is the department located? What's the process for getting stationery? What are some good spots for lunch? Who are the important people to know based on the role at hand? Where are the printers and restrooms located? These are just a few questions that can be a challenge to answer without effective onboarding.

The Importance of Onboarding a New Hire Correctly

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Steps to Create an Impressive Onboarding Process

This is the moment you have likely been waiting for. The importance of the company onboarding checklist is out of the way, and all that's left is to cover the steps that should form your foundation. 

Readiness of Necessary Information

You could say that this is arguably the most important step of them all in the onboarding checklist. Information is a priceless currency that can be used to purchase a comfortable and productive time at a company. There are so many businesses that are suffering with new hires because there is a failure to effectively prepare the onboarding process checklist. 

Never forget that your newest workers need to learn just about everything that existing hires already know. Of course, this may not necessarily be from the job function perspective, but more so from that of the general knowledge associated with the company. A job function onboarding can be done by relevant personnel later. 

It is the sworn duty of management and HR to compile required insights in a comfortably digestible format. Even if there is a lot to get through, you don't want to bombard someone with so much information that nothing is adequately absorbed. 

So, if you have an employee handbook, you want to do your best to avoid any unnecessary information. This is especially true if some of it is not immediately required, and other scheduled tasks are going to provide it anyway. Think of your handbook as a place to relay everything that needs to be in writing from a legal and compliance standpoint.

Apart from that, ensure that there is a logical flow for the rest of the insights to be provided via other means. This information in the company onboarding checklist can include the location of restrooms, required clocking in and out procedures, expected work hours, where to access company-provided transportation, etc. 

Readiness of Necessary Information onboarding checklist

Efficient Introductions

You cannot miss the introduction part in the new employee onboarding checklist. Your company's onboarding checklist needs to consider the fact that a new hire is going to meet a lot of people and see a lot of places in a relatively short time. This may be a bit different for smaller companies that require fewer introductions, but in most cases, it’s a lot to take in. 

For this aspect, it's best to imagine yourself back in the classroom environment on the first day of the first year in a new school. The first year is chosen because you progressively meet new people and learn new names with each progressive year. When you think of your first year in high school, for example, how many of the people that you did not previously know could you identify? 

It seems like a stupid question, doesn't it? How could you possibly identify a group of people that you don't know? As the day progresses, the homeroom teacher may ask everyone to introduce themselves in turn. Did you get all those names? 

It is very unlikely that you managed to remember more than a few names, and this is why introductions need to be efficient. 

In most cases, HR introduces new hires to a host of existing employees, which is the perfect storm to ensure that the names of all those employees are forgotten almost immediately. 

Instead, why not focus on ensuring the existing employees know who the new hire is? Remember that they only have one name to learn, while this person would have many.

What you could do is to introduce only people who are necessary for the job function and allow the rest to be learned during the natural working and familiarization process. However, going about it this way ensures existing workers can identify the new hire and know that they may need to provide initial assistance with helping this person get around. 

Apart from the people, you can take the new employee to various places of interest, such as the lunch area, restrooms, and the relevant departments. Other department locations can be laid out in the handbook in the form of a diagram or map. 

Efficient Introductions onboarding checklist

Company and Job Training

Company and job training are other essential parts of the HR onboarding checklist. Every company has do’s, don'ts, and an overall culture. Beyond that, it has a history, executives, etc. The intricacies of these things are almost second nature to existing employees and likely govern their behavior. 

For example, it may be company policy to dress formally on Mondays through Thursdays and a bit more casually on Fridays. Alternatively, your company culture may see every day being a casual day as is the case with many programming firms. 

There may be a monthly staff meeting which all staff members are required to attend. Nuances, such as these are not present in every company and would not immediately be known by someone just coming in. That's where company training comes into play. 

This facet of the smooth onboarding process does not prioritize the job function to be performed. Instead, it aims to relay information associated with the company and its behavioral expectations and customs. 

The expectation is that with this information in the new hire checklist, new employees are always going to be better able to understand how the company works and adopt the necessary behaviors. 

While company training is more likely to be carried out by HR, job training should be taken on by someone who is qualified in the department the new hire will be working in. Of course, this may not apply to situations where an independent job function that doesn't have other department members is at play.

The idea of the training here in the onboarding process checklist is not necessarily to teach the skills associated with performing a role. Your interview process would have ensured that the skill set is already there. Instead, the focus is familiarizing someone with the systems and layout, which helps with the optimal application of the said skill set. 

For example, imagine a new person is being hired to be a part of the accounts receivable team. In this case, job training would not necessarily teach this person how to do accounting, unless this is an internship. Even so, the intern would likely come in with a base of knowledge. 

Instead, an existing member of the accounting department would provide information, such as how to get access to bank account details, the names of vendors that the company deals with, the process for handling internal requisitions, etc. This would then help the new employee to apply the required skills properly to be effective in the context of the firm. 

Company and Job Training onboarding checklist

Readiness of Equipment and Office Furniture

Somehow, companies are still onboarding new employees without making provisions for equipment in the company onboarding checklist that is required to carry out the job function. Naturally, this is a cause for concern since it means getting in the way of productivity. 

The position profile for a job should come with a base of requirements, and these would indicate the provisions and pieces of equipment needed by this person. For example, you may put together a positional profile for a new IT network engineer.  

This would include duties, such as firewall configurations, switch configurations, VLAN segmentation, etc. The next logical question here would be, what would such a profile require? You may find that your answer includes a laptop and a wireless mouse, for example. 

What if this person is going to be working from home? Do you provide home office furniture for employees? If so, you need to ensure something is in place to source work from home essentials. This is especially true if you are concerned with your ability to attract remote work talents.

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The Autonomous program would take care of the rest in this instance, and the items would then be delivered to your employees. Whatever the case is, you cannot have someone working without the required tools, which is why this step cannot be missing from your onboarding checklist. 

Readiness of Equipment and Office Furniture

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Familiarization with Immediate Environment

The final piece of the onboarding checklist is familiarizing your new hires with the immediate environment. Some companies achieve this creatively by having existing employees take the new ones to lunch for the first week of work.  

Not only does this allow for an opportunity to become more familiar with coworkers, but it also brings light to great places to get lunch and other locations that may be in the environment. If there are any places that employee benefits and discounts apply in the area, it would also be good to share this. 

Perhaps the new employee didn't drive to work. If so, you can indicate the most optimal public transportation options available. 

Immediate Environment onboarding checklist

Final Remarks

There's no denying how crucial onboarding new employee is, but when done right, the effect is well worth the effort. Take advantage of the steps presented above to create your own comprehensive new employee onboarding checklist.

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