Finding a suitable candidate for your company, let alone onboarding them, is tough. In an era of limitless opportunities, it’s the job candidates that hold most of the power – not the employers. To ensure that they stick around, having a proper new hire checklist for onboarding can help.
You need to go all in on an onboarding checklist for new employees to make sure they fit right in.
For that, you need a proper game-plan, or a set of standard operating procedures, if you will.
Whether you’re a new founder or an established business owner looking for some tips, keep reading. In this article, I’ll take you through a straight-forward new hire checklist (broken into two major phases) for onboarding new people.
Let’s jump right in.
New Hire Checklist [Before They Join]
Contrary to popular belief, the new employee onboarding process should begin before an employee joins.
The sooner the new employee begins to get a gist of their new role, the company culture, and policies - the better. Before we begin, make sure you have an employee onboarding software. I highly recommend using Gusto. I've tried several and there's the most streamlined. Plus, they have a 1 month free trial.
To make that possible, do this before day one:
1. Create a Job Offer Letter & Get it Signed
Once everything’s good to go, and the candidate has verbally agreed to join your team, the very next step is to have them sign a job offer letter and “seal the deal.”
The job offer letter is a document that should include:
- A statement about the candidate being accepted for the role
- All of the expectations from the role
- The agreed-upon salary/package
- Mention of benefits and brief information about the eligibility requirements
- Statement asking them to sign the letter to accept the employment
Here’s a good example of an offer letter:
By signing the job offer letter, the candidate formally agrees to join your company.
2. Request Documents for Verification
To stay on the safe side, run another background check.
Use this time to ask the new employee to arrange all of the documents that prove their eligibility.
These usually include copies of academic documents (degrees, certifications, etc.), birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, US social security card, etc.
With all of the relevant documents, you can now fill out Form I-9.
3. Share the Employee Handbook
You should also share the employee handbook with the new hire beforehand.
Your employee handbook should include details about:
- The company culture and the core values that drive the team
- Company rules and policies (timings, dress code, check-in and check-out procedures, etc.)
- Information about the departments
- Details about other standard operating procedures, if any
Request the soon-to-be new employee to go through the handbook (but don’t pressure them do so at this stage).
4. Fill Out the Employee Information Form
Next on the new hire checklist is asking for the contact details of their family/friends in case of medical/personal emergencies.
Emergencies can happen at any time. Considering that, it’s best to have emergency contact details of the new employee before they join.
5. Share Schedule (if Any)
Unless you’re about to onboard remote employees, with no fixed schedules, you should share the schedule planned for the new hire.
This will remove all possible misunderstandings about the timings on the first day.
6. Arrange the Necessary Equipment & Create New Accounts
The only thing left to do before the new employee joins is arranging equipment and creating their accounts.
These usually include:
- A working laptop/desktop computer
- An email account (and accounts for other tools, such as a CMMS software, preventive maintenance software, etc.)
- (Optional) A personal printer, shredder, and any other necessary office equipment
In addition, you should also set up their desk, arrange the furniture, and any other office supplies that they might need.
New Hire Checklist [After They Join]
Once the new hire joins, it’s time to formally execute the onboarding process.
This is a slow process that can last for months.
To make it simple, I’ve further broken down the new hire checklist into three phases:
On Their First Day
The first day is the scariest.
This goes for both the new employer and the new employee.
As the employer, your job is to ensure that you make things as comfortable as possible for the new hire.
You can make things easier with the following new hire checklist – meant to reduce first-day jitters:
1. Conduct a Formal Orientation
Start the new employee’s first day with an orientation session.
Give them another formal introduction of the company, its culture, core values, the policies, and processes.
Hopefully, they will have read the employee handbook that you shared with them earlier on - but don’t make any assumptions.
In the end, answer any questions they might have.
2. Assign a “Buddy” to the New Employee
Help the new employee get used to the company culture and its policies by assigning them a “buddy.”
This can be anyone, a direct supervisor, colleague, or a subordinate, who acts as their guide.
3. Give the New Hire a Tour of the Office
To make sure they don’t lose their way around the office, take the new hire on a tour of the place. Show them the restrooms and emergency exits.
Introduce them to team members and have ice-breaking sessions/parties.
Finally, show them to their desk and hand over their login details.
During Their First Week
With the first day out of the way, here are the things that you need to focus on during the rest of the week:
1. Start Their Training
Ideally, training should start on the very first day. However, depending on their experience, you don’t want to overwhelm the new employee right away.
In any case, the first week is when you should definitely initiate the training.
2. Ask Them to Fill Out a W-4 Form
During the first week, ask your employee to fill out the W-4 form (also known as the "state tax withholding form").
This will allow you to withhold the right amount from their income for taxes.
Filling out this form can be tricky. Offering your assistance, if necessary, will help avoid any tax-related conflicts.
3. Ask Them to Review & Sign Contracts/Agreements (if Any)
If you want to get the employment contract and other legal documents signed, now is the time.
Give the new hire a few days to have the documents reviewed by a legal professional, if necessary.
During the First Three Months
After 3 months, the new employee must be familiar with their job requirements and the basics of the company.
To ensure that everything goes according to plan during this period, do the following:
1. Evaluate Their Performance
You should ideally have a formal framework in place to gauge the performance of new employees.
This can be in terms of their progress in training, or the initial tasks they perform, among other things.
2. Schedule Feedback Sessions
Last on this new hire checklist is to schedule weekly (or at least, bi-monthly) feedback sessions.
You can now use the two-way approach.
Share relevant feedback with the new employee, offer your advice wherever necessary, and ask for their feedback.
Onboarding new employees takes more than a day.
After going through the new hire checklists above, we can safely conclude that it’s a continuous process.
And by ticking all the boxes, you can increase your chances of retention and scale comfortably.