HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Onboarding: Making a List and Checking It Twice

In a recent Recruiting Daily Advisor article, Steve Bruce shares general considerations for onboarding. But how do you make sure you don’t overlook an important consideration? And what about those seemingly minor considerations that make an impression on a new hire?

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Fortunately, there are tools that can help you keep track of onboarding tasks.

Getting Down to Details

VIP Quality Software, for example, offers an employee onboarding checklist, which serves as a guide for HR and hiring managers. The checklist includes six categories:

  1. Basic Employee Onboarding
  2. Meeting with New Employee
  3. Introducing New Employee to Colleagues
  4. Introducing New Employee to Job
  5. New Employee Training
  6. Workplace Safety

Each category includes steps to take as part of the process. For example, Introducing New Employee to Colleagues includes “Create and share a formal letter that announces your new employee’s arrival, his/her name.” It also includes “Plan to take your new employee to lunch on the first day of employment” and “Organize a brief tour (20-30 minutes) to introduce your new employee to co-workers,” among other tasks.
The Introducing New Employee to Job section includes “Make a copy of job description and give it to your new worker” and “Discuss job responsibilities, roles and tasks,” and “Discuss your company’s policy of handling of confidential information,” among other items.
Meanwhile, the Workplace Safety section includes items like “Talk about parking and elevators.”

Multipurpose Tool

An onboarding checklist, like the one from VIP, does more than help HR and/or a hiring manager stay organized. It also assists with planning. How much time should you allot for a new employee tour? Twenty to 30 minutes should do it. Oh, and your new hire starts work in two weeks. Block out time for lunch.
Most important, it guarantees that steps in the onboarding process don’t get overlooked. Therefore, the more detailed the checklist is, the better.
Another checklist, this one shared by business consultancy The Karen Martin Group, includes specifics like “Ensure employee badge is activated.” It organizes onboarding steps into three sections: Before Employee Arrival, First Days, and Onboarding Follow-ups.
One step in the Before Employee Arrival section you may want to borrow is “Assign an ambassador to serve as a go-to resource.”

Onboarding Matters

Whether you purchase a checklist solution or create your own, you’ll want to make sure you consider all aspects of the onboarding process. Even seemingly small oversights can make a less than favorable impression on an employee, while more glaring issues can hinder ramp-up time.
Here are three examples. And yes, they actually happened.
No chair. A new hire was shown to his cubicle, only to find it was missing a chair. His coworker searched for a chair, found one, and wheeled it in. When the employee sat down, he discovered that the chair was broken.
Stranger among us. No one introduced the new hire to his colleagues. One coworker asked him, “Who are you?” He gave his name and said, “I’m the new guy.”
Missing in action. The department manager was on vacation when the employee started, and hadn’t instructed anyone to onboard the new hire in her absence. A coworker suggested she “get familiar” with the job until the manager returned.
A checklist will help ensure your new hire doesn’t have a similar story to tell.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.