3 New Employee Onboarding Checklists You Shouldn't Hire Without

Alex Bell

Do you like it when your employees choose to stay instead of leave your company?

Want to make sure you don’t blow your budget on hiring yet another employee after one leaves?

Then you need an effective employee onboarding process. 

Because according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Three and a half million employees have left their jobs voluntarily every month since January 2019. 

Filling that open position could cut deep into your budget. 

Investopedia estimates that the full cost of an employee ranges from 1.5x to 3x the salary you pay them. This includes costs such as benefits, taxes, equipment, training, rent, and any other costs associated with your specific industry and business. 

Bottom line:

Employee onboarding allows you to keep customers around and save quite a bit of money as a result. 

Those aren’t the only benefits though. 

We’ll dig into many more later on this post. 

We’ll also show you the difference between employee onboarding and employee orientation (many managers mix them up). 

And end with a few helpful onboarding checklists you can use going forward. 

But first, let’s define employee onboarding in case this is new to you. 

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Ship boarding passengers
Employee onboarding is about helping new hires sail to success as quickly as possible.

The onboarding definition from Wikipedia states:

“The mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members and insiders.”

That’s not a bad description of the employee onboarding process.

Training new employees in the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job is what most people think of first when it comes to onboarding. 

“Behaviors” has to do with codes of conduct, the things employees can and cannot do in the workplace. 

Helping employees become “members and insiders” can easily be overlooked. This is about your company culture and bringing someone new into that culture, welcoming them in. We’ll discuss this as a strategy later, just know, it’s a crucial part of the onboarding process. 

At the end of the onboarding process (which can take from a day to a week to multiple months), your new employee should know everything they need to, feel a part of the company, and be an autonomous member of your team capable of performing their job without assistance. 

Why Employee Onboarding Matters

Employee onboarding can feel like a waste of time but it’s important for many reasons.

We gave you a couple of reasons in the intro to this post about why employee onboarding is so important. 

Below are even more reasons onboarding matters so much. 

Employees Learn Faster

If you just handed a new hire your employee manual and expected them to read it and know all the ins and outs of your company, their job requirements, and the culture they’re now a part of…

You’d never have competent employees. 

The more training upfront, the faster new employees will learn and be able to work without supervision. 

They’ll also feel much more comfortable in their new job - preventing churn.

Especially when that upfront training incorporates high-quality materials like videos that easily communicate tacit knowledge and a good bit of hands-on guidance.

You Receive Useful Feedback

Throughout the onboarding process, managers and supervisors can and should request feedback from employees. 

This tells you how effective and efficient your onboarding program is and what requires improvement. 

It also helps keep employees engaged.

They need to know that you empathize with them and genuinely care about their opinions. And if they have concerns or issues, it’s best they’re allowed to voice them as soon as possible to avoid further problems down the road. 

New Hires are Integrated Into Your Company Culture

An employee’s peers play a huge role in their decision to stay at a company. 

By integrating a new employee with their peers right away, you “socialize” and induct them into a culture and a social circle they can call their own. 

This is a major psychological and emotional part of hiring employees. 

Being the “new guy” or gal can be frightening for some people and uncomfortable for most of us. 

And if you have a toxic work culture or don’t appropriately assimilate new employees with everyone else on your team, you can quickly isolate a new hire. 

As a result, they may end up regretting their decision and quitting or fail to ask their peers or managers important job-related questions, causing errors or worse problems. 

But if you integrate new employees into your company culture with open arms, make them feel at home, provide warm introductions from their fellow employees, and a solid set of tools and processes for knowledge sharing

they’re more likely to work better, learn faster, and stay at your company for a long time to come. 

Employee Onboarding vs Orientation

Manager delivering new employee orientation and onboarding
Onboarding and orientation may seem similar but they have clear differences.

In many managers’ minds, there’s a battle between these 2 concepts:

Employee onboarding vs orientation. 

They’re quite different but so many people confuse them with one another. We’re going to clear up this confusion below. 

Let’s start by defining orientation.

What’s New Employee Orientation?

Orientation is generally a one-day event where new hires are formally introduced to your organization’s culture, mission, and values. 

It usually happens on day one of employment. 

You’re almost always grouped with many other new hires in a conference-style event using presentations and Q&A sessions. 

In some cases, managers and executives greet the group, introduce themselves, and describe their role in the company.

Here’s a brief list of some of the other things new employees can expect at orientation:

  • Mandatory paperwork provided by an HR rep who guides them through its completion. 
  • Introduction to benefit plans, which will most likely be conducted by HR again. 
  • Review of safety, health, harassment, and other important company policies. 

Comparing employee onboarding to employee orientation

OK, now that you know what employee onboarding and orientation are, let’s discuss their differences. 

Orientation is about a new employee’s role in your company. It happens once in a group. And it prepares you for your training. It’s essentially the first step in the onboarding process. 

Onboarding is about a new employee’s role in a specific department within your company. It involves many steps and a sequence of events over a period of time. It’s highly individualized, whereas orientation is general. And it prepares employees to do their jobs. 

Orientation helps employees understand the big picture of their new jobs. 

Onboarding helps employees become productive members of the organization. 

When combined, they establish the expectations, vision, and training needed to boost team collaboration so new employees can fully integrate themselves.

Helpful Onboarding Checklists for New Employees

Black marker checking new hire onboarding checklist
Having new employee onboarding checklists helps you get everything done for new hires efficiently.

We’ve mentioned that onboarding can take one day or a few months. 

That’s why we put together 3 different checklists for you below:

  • Before day one
  • Day one
  • Week one

Let’s dive in.

Before a New Hire’s First Day Checklist

  • Send legal documents, the employee handbook and any additional documents online they need to complete in addition to other resources they’ll need such as parking passes. 
  • Map out what the first week will look like for your new employee. Make it specific for the department they’ll work in and the job they’ll perform. 
  • Setup their desk, office, computer and anything else they’ll need to work. 
  • Leave a welcome gift, such as a tote bag filled with pens, calendars, branded mugs, etc. 
  • Let all other employees know about the new hire. Tell them their name and role, and let them know you’ll be introducing all of them to the new employee on their first day. Encourage your team to be friendly and welcoming.  
  • Schedule any important meet-and-greets with managers or colleagues that must happen at some point during the onboarding process. Try to do this well ahead of time to avoid cancellations or rescheduling. 

First Day New Employee Checklist

  • Make a major announcement to all of your employees and introduce your new hire to each of them, or at the very least, the coworkers your new employee will share a workspace with. Encourage employees to share a little about themselves to the new hire.
  • Give the employee a tour of their new office and the building it’s in. Show them the restrooms, the break room, where to find each department, their parking space, local lunch and dinner spots, and so on. 
  • Discuss the schedule for the first week of onboarding, all the things coming up the new hire should be aware of and ready for. Encourage them to ask questions and ask your own questions for them to make sure they have everything they need to get started. 
  • If you have the opportunity, assign a mentor to the new hire who can teach them the ins and outs of their new position, show them some tips and tricks, and help them navigate their daily tasks and activities with ease. 
  • Start training them in their roles and responsibilities. Clearly detail their job expectations, deliverables, timelines, projects, and tasks. 

First Week Onboarding Checklist

  • Walk new employees through proper procedures and company standards. Cover the rules for internet usage, email communication, collaboration with team members, breaks, personal devices, etc. 
  • Begin any hard skills training, such as learning new software programs, data organization processes, automation tools, etc. 
  • Organize social activities and team-building exercises to go above and beyond the initial meet-and-greet and create a cohesive bond between the existing employees and new ones. 
  • Follow up at the end of the week with your new employee to see how they’re getting along with coworkers, their office space, and their training. Make sure they’re comfortable and gaining competence. Discuss what you expect of them and where they should be at certain milestones. 

How to Make Sure New Hires Remember and Understand What They Learn During Employee Onboarding

If you follow our new employee onboarding checklists your new hires are going to learn a lot in a compressed amount of time. 

It’s important they retain and understand almost everything you teach them. 

Unfortunately, text-based content is rarely sufficient for people to comprehend new information. Oftentimes, you need to visually communicate with people for them to fully “get it.”

That’s what CloudApp is for. 

It’s been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools.

It lets you create step-by-step GIF’s, screen recordings, and annotated screenshots

With CloudApp, you can show, not just tell. 

Teach and train effectively by discovering why CloudApp is an essential employee onboarding tool today.

Employee Onboarding vs Orientation

Orientation is generally a one-day event where new hires are formally introduced to your organization’s culture, mission, and values. Orientation is about a new employee’s role in your company. It happens once in a group. And it prepares you for your training. It’s essentially the first step in the onboarding process. 

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