You never get a second chance at a first impression. And onboarding is your chance to create a great first impression for your new employees.
The importance of onboarding goes beyond just familiarizing new workers with the company and its policies. Nearly one-third of employees, according to a survey by Bamboo HR, have quit a job in their first six months. That’s wasted time, money, and effort on the part of a company that now has to find a replacement for that employee.
On the other hand, organizations that improve their onboarding processes see an 82% increase in new-hire retention and a 70% increase in productivity from those hires. Those are compelling numbers. To help you improve your own onboarding process (and build a stronger, more profitable company), we’ve collected eight great employee onboarding checklists, each of which addresses a different scenario or concern.
Generic New Employee Onboarding Checklist
It’s up to you to fill the new hire’s first few empty days and properly acclimate them to the company. There are introductions, tutorials, account setups, and first assignments. It's a lot to keep track of for one person, and even harder if you're onboarding a group.
Thrive’s Step-by-Step New Employee Onboarding Checklist doesn’t just run down the most important tasks of a new hire’s first week; it also offers preboarding best practices. Then, it plans out tasks a full year after the employee’s arrival, which shows dedication to the employee and to the process. By the end of the process, the new employee is familiar with the company’s values and culture, as well as the tools and resources needed to do the job.
At Eduflow, we give new employees one of our own Eduflow courses that acts like an interactive checklist. In the screenshot below you can see the new employee checklist down the lefthand side, and the onboarding information in the center of the screen.
The onboarding walks new team members through everything from simple stuff like uploading a photo to more in-depth affairs like reviewing the company data policy. Running onboarding like this helps our team keep track of what new employees are doing in their first days, and makes sure we don’t forget to pass along vital information.
IT Onboarding Checklist
Don’t squander all that first-week enthusiasm by making your new employee twiddle their thumbs as they wait for proper access permission or a laptop. Create a specific checklist to help the IT department prepare the hardware and accounts that new hires need to get started.
We like this IT Onboarding Checklist for its breadth of coverage — physical equipment, software, and policies — and because it divides tasks by time frame. It tells what to prepare before the employee’s arrival (ordering laptops and other equipment), and on their first day (software and equipment tutorials), and it covers topics going forward (security policies, productivity tips, etc.).
Startup Onboarding Checklist
Most startups lack the advantages of a dedicated onboarding manager. Some may not even have an HR department. As a result, they may completely overlook the importance of onboarding, leaving new employees to fend for themselves in an unfamiliar, fast-moving environment.
To make sure employees are properly oriented without investing in a multitude of resources, startups need to develop a well-organized, low-lift onboarding process that lets employees ramp up quickly with minimal hand-holding.
The Hub’s Ultimate Guide to Employee Onboarding for Lean Startups is a step-by-step guide to a pared-down onboarding process. The lean approach focuses on the most important goals and objectives during each stage of onboarding to help you welcome and prepare new employees without expending massive resources.
The list also pulls in tried-and-tested tactics used by successful startups to facilitate better onboarding, such as Twitter’s Yes to Desk program, which focuses on keeping new hires excited and informed during the preboarding period.
Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist
Remote work requires a level of flexibility and asynchronous communication that can complicate the onboarding process. You need to convey company culture and structure and make sure the employee has all the resources they need, without the benefit of strict schedules or in-person interactions. Without a strong onboarding plan, you risk creating knowledge gaps or misconceptions that, without strict oversight, may not become apparent for months.
Remo’s checklist for onboarding remote employees addresses common remote onboarding problems, including how to tackle disparate time zones by setting up shared calendars and team maps, and setting “golden hours” when all employees must be online. They also suggest outlining a specific communication agreement to help employees understand which communication channels should be immediately addressed and which are less urgent.
Eduflow is partially remote as well, so we understand the importance of communication across timezones and long distances. In our own onboarding process, new team members can watch welcome videos shared by their new colleagues, as well as upload their own video to introduce themselves.
The videos help new hires get a 360 degree view of our company and products, as well as introducing them to their new team.
Manager Onboarding Checklist
Onboarding managers requires even more effort and attention than onboarding other employees. In addition to all the standard orientations and trainings, managers need special guidance to help them understand the company’s leadership culture and processes. This up-front training will help managers lead more effectively from the beginning of their tenure.
Pair a more generalized onboarding checklist with this checklist for Onboarding New Managers from Workable, which carefully outlines each of the specific sessions, skill sets, and activities you should set up to give your new manager a holistic view of the company. Unlike other manager onboarding checklists, this one includes specific steps to train new managers on conflict management, time management, and motivational abilities.
Developer Onboarding Checklist
A good developer is always in demand, which makes it extra important to help your new hires feel connected to your company on day one. You want to inspire the kind of loyalty and job satisfaction that will insulate them from being lured away by other companies.
A developer needs to fully understand your product, the specific tools your company uses, and the existing source code and documentation. This Developer Onboarding Checklist by Daxx is geared toward remote developers but can be used to efficiently onboard in-office developers as well. What sets this checklist apart is its plan for gradually ramping up the new developer on projects by assigning a mentor who can monitor the new hire’s progress and assess their early contributions.
Salesperson Onboarding Checklists
It can take upwards of ten months to fully ramp up a salesperson, during which time you’re not receiving the full financial benefits of that new hire. A good process can help them ramp up faster. And the faster they onboard, the faster they start bringing profit into the company.
SmartWinnr’s Ultimate Sales Onboarding Checklist is designed to accelerate ramp-up time for new sales hires. This checklist plans for an intensive day-one orientation, during which you give your new salesperson a broad overview of your industry, as well as more specific details on sales targets and expectations, codes of conduct, and compliance. It posits that you can get your new salesperson up and selling faster by going deep on theory and expectations on the first day and then focusing on professional sales training in the coming days and weeks.
Intern Onboarding Checklist
Interns are usually only with your company for a brief time, so they don’t need to go through an extensive onboarding process the same way a new full-time employee would. At the same time, you do need an orientation plan that helps familiarize interns with the company and with their duties so they can feel confident as they start work.
This onboarding interns checklist from Workable provides a simple but comprehensive list of essential activities to tackle during an intern’s first week. It’s pared down, so you don’t waste time on superfluous training, and it lists only the information needed to get interns set up with the information and systems they need to start being productive right away.
Create an Onboarding Process That Benefits Everyone
Creating a new onboarding process from scratch can seem overwhelming. Get a jump start on the process by taking any one of these onboarding checklists and making it your own by adapting it to your company’s culture, onboarding tools, and workflows.
Once you’ve put together a comprehensive checklist, it’s time to take your onboarding to the next level by creating a standardized process that ensures every employee gets all of the information they need. One way to do this is through a self-directed onboarding course. New employees can work through each step, and you can monitor their progress.
Remember, you get only one chance at a first impression. Make it count by giving your new employees an enthusiastic, comprehensive, and confidence-building welcome to life at your company.