In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important items to include on an employee onboarding checklist.
Staying organized is a prerequisite to working efficiently, and the right workflow can literally save hours per week, month, or year.
If you are an HR professional who wants to stay more organized and boost your efficiency, then take out your note pad or spreadsheet app … this checklist will pay for itself in short order.
A 5-Minute Employee Onboarding Checklist that Can Save Hours
Let’s start by understanding exactly what a checklist is and how it can be applied.
How to Use an Employee Onboarding Checklist
A checklist is a tool.
Like onboarding software, they can save a great deal of time and effort.
However, checklists are very low-tech and can be implemented in a matter of minutes.
A checklist, of course, is nothing more than a list of items that you can use to organize any series of tasks, such as employee onboarding.
Most employee onboarding processes are roughly the same – like a recipe, the ingredients may differ, but the general order of operations doesn’t change.
Whether you have a checklist already or if you are creating your first one, the list below can help you renovate your onboarding process and create a better employee onboarding process.
If it’s used correctly, that is.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of this onboarding checklist – or any checklist, for that matter:
- Use it consistently. Like any other tool, a checklist is only valuable if it is used. If you forget to use it, or only use it occasionally, you won’t get any real value from it.
- Include it in your project management tool or HR software. Most of us don’t use paper and pen to manage our to-do tasks. If you do, then that’s great – print out the checklist and pin it to your to-do board. If you use project management tools, HR platforms, or other onboarding software, incorporate these items into that tool’s workflow.
- No process is perfect the first time around – adjust over time for best results. The first time you use a checklist, it certainly won’t be the best it can be. Try it out, learn from the experience, then make adjustments as needed.
- Compare post-checklist results to your previous process. If you really want to measure the difference, then track your time. Most project management tools or HR tools include time-tracking functions, so you can see exactly how much time you save.
That being said, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most important elements to include in any employee onboarding process.
Orientation is only one part of the onboarding process.
Some professionals conflate the two, but it is important to understand the difference.
On the orientation section of your checklist, include:
- Welcome emails
- A shared itinerary of the onboarding procedure
- A general office tour
- A tour of the employee’s department
- Required documents
These are, of course, crucial pieces of the onboarding process, but they are not the only ones.
Another important stage of the onboarding process is social integration.
If this is mishandled or not handled at all, employees may feel uncomfortable and they may have trouble fitting in to the new work environment.
That, in turn, can unfortunately contribute to increased turnover and lower job satisfaction.
Avoid this by including items such as these in the social integration section:
- Communication with existing staff about the new hire’s schedule
- Introductions to coworkers and managers
- Meetings with relevant personnel, such as managers, team leads, and so forth
- Access to online social work groups
- Delegating an employee to be the new hire’s liaison
The social aspect of employee onboarding should not be understated, so continue to check in with employees regularly, even after the onboarding process is complete.
Organizational integration aims at aligning individual employees with the organization’s purpose and strategy.
This helps to clarify their obligations, the organization’s mission, and ensure that employees align their contributions with the organization’s needs.
In this section, include items that focus on:
- Explaining the organization’s mission
- Clarifying behavioral expectations and job performance expectations
- Describing the culture and climate of the work environment
- Articulating details about the business, its model, its marketplace, its customers, and other relevant information
Expectations, rules, and procedures may be included here or under the “orientation” section … this is just a matter of semantics and personal preference.
Regardless of what section you include them in, they are both important pieces of the employee onboarding process.
Employee training should begin on day one.
This training should ensure that employees:
- Have the required tools to perform their day-to-day tasks
- Are provided with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties
- Have adequate support as they continue to develop and grow
The type of training will vary from job position to job position, and the checklist can include:
- Person-to-person training, such as classroom-based training or online training
- Job-specific training
- Cross-departmental training
- Providing access to technical support
- Digital training, via digital adoption platforms, for instance
Certain sections of the checklist, such as this one, can vary significantly from job role to job role.
Be sure that the checklist is flexible enough to make room for that variation.
Using a project management tool often makes this process easy – a task list, for instance, can quickly be augmented with sub-tasks as necessary.
Those sub-tasks, in turn, can be easily delegated to other team members.