5 Steps to an Effective New Employee Checklist

You know the age-old story: a company hires a new fresh-faced employee, and the HR team spends time helping him or her to “learn the ropes’’ of their new workplace.

This includes key elements like the company’s background, day to day operations, and vision and values. And let’s be real. It also includes the best coffee and lunch spots.

You know the age-old story: a company hires a new fresh-faced employee, and the HR team spends time helping him or her to “learn the ropes’’ of their new workplace. This includes key elements like the company’s background, day to day operations, and vision and values. And let’s be real. It also includes the best coffee and lunch spots.  

While this is all well and good, what about creating a fun onboarding process?
What about making an emotional connection with that employee?

You may not have the resources of a multinational tech company. We get that. We don’t either. But with a little bit of time, dedication, and the use of a new employee checklist, you can give new hires a relaxed start and a memorable experience of their first few days in your world.  

Something to keep in mind during a new hire survey and the process of onboarding is that nine times out of ten, new employees are not yet fully committed to their jobs. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, on average, a company loses one out of six new hires during the first three months of employment. 

So what does this mean for businesses like yours?

It means that the new hire onboarding experience your company provides is not something to be taken lightly. Implementing a memorable and helpful onboarding process that fully integrates and makes use of your new employee orientation checklists puts you less at risk from high turnover rates and avoids less-productive teams.  

By making use of a new employee orientation checklist, you can help ensure that employees settle into their roles and responsibilities with ease. This is where a business can either make or break their first impression. A new employee checklist shows you care about the experience for new hires. It communicates that you want them to report back to work the very next day. And it helps ensure that they do.

The onboarding process is a completely systematic and comprehensive approach to integrating new hires within your company and its culture. To ensure your new hires become thrilled by your business and are engaged in their roles long after, check out our top five tips for effective new employee orientation checklists.

The New Employee Orientation Checklist

Tip #1 – Make it fun. Show you care.

Let’s be honest. While it’s vital for new employee checklists to have to include onboarding sessions, they’re boring! We’ve all had to sit through training. We’ve all had to fight off the pull of sleep or daydreaming that inevitably happens while someone is talking to us about the ins and outs of our new job. But this is a necessary part of the process. This is need to know information, and for at least some time of the day, your new employees are going to have to listen to someone present. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up your new hires’ first day with a special lunch, fun bonding activities, or even a scavenger hunt! Make sure to use this time to make a great impression, and let your new hires know that your company is the one to work for.

Tip #2 – Show them around.

The whole walk around the office can feel a little . . . awkward. But it doesn’t have to be. In order to sidestep those especially awkward ‘who are you again?’ questions, it’s vital that you ask a friendly, longtime employee to walk new hires around and introduce them to who they need to know. This is especially important in bigger businesses. When working in larger offices, make sure to provide your new employees with an office map, directions for where they need to go, or at the very least, connect them to whoever they need to go to when the have questions.

Tip #3 – Guide new hires through hardware/software.

Don’t assume that just because you know and fully understand your companies technology, new hires will also know it or even pick it up quickly. It’s easy to forget that there’s a knowledge gap between everything you know about your work place and the little to nothing that new employees know. And it’s your responsibility to close that gap. How you do is up to you. But how you do it will also impact that first impression. Do you have hardware or software that is integral to your operations? We suggest that you hold introductory classes to demonstrate how to use certain programs, and guide them through your software/hardware. Don’t leave your new employees to flounder. Do this, and help build up your new hires’ competency and confidence. Do this, and help to avoid any future mistakes he or she might make.

Tip #4 – Be extra clear about where they go with questions.

Part of the rationale behind the new employee checklist is that you need to make sure your new hires know where to go or who to go to when they have questions. (And they will have questions.) There’s nothing worse for a new employee than to be left in the dark about rules, guidelines, work flows, processes, chains of command, or the best place to grab a sandwich and salad at lunch. All this does is create unnecessary confusion. Make sure they have all of this information within their first day, and if they’re unsure of something, direct them about where to go and who to speak to.

Tip #5 – Write It All Down. Make It Repeatable.

Here’s a secret to leading well. Don’t wait for perfection, and don’t waste anything along the way: experiences, lessons learned, mistakes, processes, failures, and successes. 
Learn a thing.
Practice it.
Change it.
Make it better.
Don’t waste any of it.
When it comes to new hire experiences, checklists, and the process by which your new employees transition into regular ol’ employees, write everything down, and make that process repeatable. You don’t need to curate unique experiences for every new person. You don’t have that kind of time. So make the process one that you can repeat again and again. When necessary, update that process and make it better. But make it better for the sake of repeating it the next time.

Let's Bring it Home

To conclude, a new employee orientation checklist is definitely something that should be considered a work-in-progress. Make sure that you start with the basics. See what works. Ask your new employees for feedback. Refine it as needed. And don’t be afraid to add items as new employees identify needs that need to be communicated. After all, they know better than you do about what new employees need the most.

As you begin to develop your new employee checklist, test it out on new hires, and follow up  with them after 90 days or so. Ask them questions and for information on what might have been  helpful for them to know. And don’t shy away from feedback. Remember that constructive criticism is your friend. (No, really. It is.)

Communication is key. And your new employee checklist can be used to help facilitate smooth transitions which in turn help employees get off on the right foot and feel supported during their first few weeks. When you take the time to invest in the experience of new hires, you are helping to ensure that they’ll stick around and commit to the work you’re doing together.

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