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The Ultimate New Hire Checklist (Boost Retention with a Great First Impression)

“I am very happy tonight to be a member of this company and to feel that I have had and will continue to have the support of such an able organization.”

IBM, Quintessential Quotes.

Isn’t this something you want your team say?

IBM has a refined hiring process to ensure its employees are the best fit, well trained, and fully engaged. By getting the recruitment and employee onboarding processes right, IBM is happy and IBM’s employees are happy.

Like IBM, we at Process Street believe it is critical to get your hiring process right. This will give you every new hire checklist you will ever need to perfect your recruitment and employee onboarding processes.

Given that 46% of newly-hired employees quit within the first 18 months, there is no doubt that a polished process is what you need to hire, train, and keep your best team.

Our new hire checklists are specifically adapted to cover recruitment and employee onboarding processes to ensure your team sings your praises. So get the choir ready.

What is a new hire checklist?

A new hire checklist is a process with steps guiding you through all the necessary tasks to recruit and fully onboard a new employee.

Only 1 in 5 new hires are considered to be successful, and the culprit for this is often poor hiring and onboarding practices. New hire checklists strengthen those processes and increase your chances of attracting and retaining top talent.

What should be on a new hire checklist?

New hire checklists should include every step of the hiring and onboarding processes. But for our purposes today, we will be focusing on onboarding checklists for new hires.

When putting together a new hire onboarding checklist, everything from the pre-onboarding documents to the monthly check-ins post-onboarding should be on there. Each step must be clearly laid out so nothing is forgotten and every new hire receives the same quality of onboarding.

New hire checklist steps

Let’s get more specific with how to structure new hire checklists and what to put in them. Here’s the breakdown:

Step 1: Before the first day

You have to do several things before your new hire’s first day and you need to include them on the onboarding checklist.

These are tasks such as:

  • Gather the new hire’s basic information
  • Conduct the background check
  • Prepare and send the contract
  • Fill out any additional documents (insurance, direct deposit, etc.)

Missing any of the pre-onboarding steps can seriously derail the rest of the process. Having them all laid out in a new hire checklist ensures you never miss an important step.

Step 2: First day

Your new hire’s first day is your only chance to make sure they don’t experience buyers remorse by choosing to work for your company. 

You need to take the time to make the new hire feel welcome and comfortable in their orientation. Start by giving them a tour of the office or hopping on a Zoom call if they’re remote. Introduce them to the team before showing them where they will be working.

From there, you need to set clear expectations with the new hire. Give them an overview of how the onboarding process will go, explain the company culture, and assign them the training materials.

Doing all of this shows the new hire that you’re organized and helps them feel more relaxed as they know what to expect moving forward, at least in the first few weeks.

Step 3: First week

During the new hire’s first week, they should complete their training material. Once they have done that, they are ready to receive their first project. The project should be approved by the new hire’s manager within the checklist itself so everyone is on the same page.

At the end of the first week, the new hire should have a solid understanding of what is expected of them as an employee. They should also have an idea of what’s to come based on the checklist.

Before the new hire leaves on that first Friday, make sure you sit down with them to go through any extra paperwork and discuss how the first week went. It’s a great way to get some early feedback on how the onboarding is going, and it makes the new hire feel seen.

Step 4: First 30 days

Throughout the first month, you should set up the new hire with anything they need to settle in. This could come in the form of the following:

  • Extra training materials
  • Performance feedback
  • Check-in meetings
  • Additional reading material for personal growth

You are there as a source of support, and it’s important that the support you give is included in the new hire checklist. Those personal touches go a long way in the onboarding process, so add them to your checklists

Step 5: First 60 days

As the new employee gets into the groove of working at your organization, you can begin to step back and set tasks on the new hire checklist that remind you to check in with them.

You can set up weekly emails, bi-weekly meetings, whatever works. But making an effort to see how the new hire is doing is crucial. Their feedback also helps you improve the new hire onboarding checklist going forward. 

Free new hire checklist template

A bit overwhelmed with it all? Don’t be! We have lots of new hire checklist templates to help you get started. Here are a couple of the best ones:

New Hire Onboarding Process Template: This is the whole onboarding process already laid out for you in an actionable checklist template. You can customize it however you want but it covers all the basic steps without you needing to do anything at all.

The 30-60-90 Day Plan for New Hires: This template is for HR managers to reference. It’s a place to jot down the company’s goals and the new hire’s goals at each phase of the onboarding process. It’s useful for seeing how both sets of goals line up and change within the first 90 days.

Benefits of using a new hire checklist

Using a new hire checklist has a number of benefits. Of course, keeping things organized is one of the bigger ones, but that’s not the only value it offers:

  • Sets clear expectations with the new hire
  • Makes hiring and onboarding documentation more centralized
  • Customizes the experience for each new hire
  • Assigns tasks for company leaders to get them involved

I really cannot think of a single reason to not use a checklist for employee onboarding. If you’re not already doing it, you should start now!

Best practices for using new hire checklists

As you begin making your new hire checklist, keep these best practices in mind:

Make sure the new hire isn’t overwhelmed 

This is really important. When your new hire starts, they will be hit with a lot of information all at once. Checklists are a great way to lay it all out in a clear and concise way.

With each task, they learn a little more about the company and how it works. All of the materials like the employee handbook can be stored in the checklists for the new hires to go back and reference. 

They will also be able to see exactly what to expect next, which removes a lot of pressure from their shoulders.

Make sure the checklist is actionable 

The first word of each task should be a verb. Language matters and making each task actionable makes it clear what needs to be accomplished. Doing this helps to avoid confusion and ultimately saves time.

At Process Street, we are very intentional about how we write tasks when we create checklists. You could even call us sticklers because any task that isn’t clearly actionable can ruin a whole workflow. 

So use those verbs when writing your tasks.

Make sure the checklist is personalized for each new hire 

Personalization is key to making the new hire feel welcome and comfortable. What’s great about checklist software like Process Street is that you don’t need to create a brand new checklist for each new hire. You can build in the personalization using this beautiful little thing called conditional logic.

For example, you could use a dropdown menu to select which department the new hire is in. If you select marketing, the new hire only has to complete tasks related to the marketing department. If they’re in sales, they only see sales-related tasks. 

Easy as that!

Make sure you gather feedback from the new hire

Always get feedback from new hires. Always. You are never done making changes to new hire checklists and you should never think that you are.
New hire feedback is invaluable because no one knows better than them how the hiring and onboarding processes went. Encourage them to be open and honest with you about how they feel and take any feedback they have for you into consideration. It will only serve to help you improve and retain the best possible talent for your organization.

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