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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.

Benefits of using a new hire checklist

Using a new hire checklist can greatly benefit both employers and new employees. Here are some of the key advantages:

Smooth onboarding process

A new hire checklist ensures that all necessary tasks and paperwork are completed in a timely manner, streamlining the onboarding process. This reduces the chances of important steps being overlooked or delayed, leading to a more efficient and organized transition for the new employee.

Compliance with company policies and legal requirements

A checklist ensures that new hires complete all the required forms, such as background checks, employment agreements, and direct deposit forms. By following a checklist, employers can ensure that they are in compliance with legal requirements and company policies.

Consistency in orientation and training

A checklist serves as a guide for managers or HR personnel conducting the orientation and training sessions for new employees. This helps to ensure that all necessary information is covered consistently for each new hire, preventing knowledge gaps and ensuring a standardized onboarding experience.

Improved employee engagement

A well-planned new hire checklist includes steps for introducing new employees to the company culture, mission, and vision. This helps new hires feel more connected to the organization from the start, increasing their engagement and commitment to their role and the company.

Efficient allocation of resources

By having an onboarding checklist in place, employers can allocate resources and equipment needed by new hires in a more organized and efficient way. This prevents delays or confusion in providing necessary tools and resources, allowing new employees to be productive from day one.

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.

So no, we won’t be talking about job descriptions in this article.

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.

This is especially important for remote employees, who need the structure more.

New hire checklist steps

Let’s get more specific with how to structure new employee onboarding 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. 

Essential new hire checklist steps

When bringing a new employee on board, it’s essential to have a comprehensive new hire checklist in place. Here are some essential checklist steps to include:

Complete paperwork

Start by gathering all the necessary hire forms and documents that the new hire needs to fill out. This may include employment agreements, tax forms, direct deposit information, and any company-specific forms.

Set up systems and accounts

Make sure to create email accounts, provide access to any necessary software or tools, and set up login credentials for the new employee. This step ensures that they have the necessary resources to perform their job duties.

Provide company policies and employee handbook

Give the new hire a copy of the company’s policies and employee handbook. This helps to familiarize them with important information such as dress code, attendance policies, and code of conduct.

Introduce company culture and mission

Take the time to explain the company’s culture and mission to the new employee. This helps them understand the values and goals of the organization, fostering a sense of belonging and alignment.

Conduct job training

Provide comprehensive training to ensure the new hire understands their role and responsibilities. This may include training sessions, shadowing opportunities, or online courses.

Equip the new hire with necessary tools

Make sure the new employee has all the equipment and supplies they need to perform their job effectively. This may include providing a computer, phone, office supplies, or any other specific tools required for their position.

Assign an onboarding buddy

Pair the new hire with a more experienced employee who can act as a mentor and provide support during the onboarding process. This helps the new employee feel welcome and provides a valuable resource for questions and guidance.

Set performance goals

Clearly communicate the expectations and goals for the new hire’s performance. This helps them understand what is expected of them and gives them something to work towards.

Schedule regular check-ins

Set up regular meetings between the new employee and their supervisor to ensure they are making progress and to address any questions or concerns.

Provide training materials

Offer any additional training materials or resources that can be beneficial for the new employee’s development. This may include training videos, manuals, or online courses.

Provide company swag

To help the new hire feel like part of the team, provide them with some company swag such as a branded t-shirt or water bottle. This small gesture goes a long way in making them feel welcomed and valued.

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.

new hire checklist

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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