New Team Member / Employee Onboarding Checklist

An effective new team member onboarding process is a key to success for your organization’s new hires. Why should you care? Individual team member success is largely a result of their engagement and satisfaction. Engagement and satisfaction lead to increased team retention. Team retention saves your organization time and money in both the short- and long-term.

With so much riding on the success of each new hire, it is easy to see that effective onboarding is mission critical. Failure to formalize an onboarding process for your organization can spell disaster, but don’t worry – we’ve got your back.

Tasks for Completion before the New Hire’s First Day

Traditionally, the first day of employment is a stressful, largely non-productive day for most new hires. Turn that pattern on its head by taking care of these essentials prior to the first day:

  • Send a welcome email to the new hire, with links and instructions regarding how to access your employee portal (if you have one).
  • Provide a timeline for completion of HR forms and review of the employee handbook.
  • Provide clear direction regarding where and when the new hire should report to work and list any items which must be brought to finalize HR forms.
  • Prepare a workstation for the new hire prior to his or her arrival. This is the hardware the team member will need.
  • Ensure all the software and licenses are set up, and the new team member has login credentials as required.
  • Get the business cards (if appropriate). Let me clarify here, ‘if appropriate’ means that if you think one day they’ll need business cards, then get them day one. Don’t try to save the $40 in case they don’t work out after a week.
  • Send an itinerary of the first day so that the new hire can be mentally prepared for what to expect. Remember, it’s their first day, so they don’t have to start at the beginning of the day – better to have them arrive at a time you can meet with them (which may not be the first thing in the morning).
  • Select and assign one team member to act as a sponsor or buddy for the new hire. Clearly define for that person what the job of sponsorship entails.
  • Send out an email to all team members about the arrival of a new hire, with encouragement to make the new hire welcome at every opportunity.
  • Arrange for a gift (we recommend a Money Tree) to be sent to the home of the new team member. How about making this to the attention of their family – add a sincere note about how you are looking forward to them joining your team.

On the First Day

Your goal on the new hire’s first day is to make the new team member feel at ease with a welcoming and engaging manner. The first day is a crucial day for truly beginning to immerse a new employee in your company culture. Here are some things to accomplish on this important day:

  • Fill in the gaps the new team member has relating to your company mission, your values, and your history.
  • Introduce the new hire to their sponsor.
  • Orient the new team member to your organization by introducing key members of the team.
  • Ensure that the new team member knows the essential details of day-to-day activities, including things such as how to use the phone system and company intranet, where to park, where to find the bathrooms and break rooms, etc.
  • Set up an informal meeting with the new team member and other team members – maybe over lunch.

During the First Week

Your continuing goal during the first week is helping the new team member to assimilate into your company culture and become productive as soon as possible. Here are some steps to take to make that happen:

  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting between the new team member and his or her direct supervisor. The purpose of this meeting should be to clearly outline expectations of the manager and short-term goals for the new team member. This meeting is also an opportunity to elicit feedback from the new team member about his or her own career goals and observations about the firm.
  • Ensure that the new team member understands the business processes and workflows which will impact his or her specific position.
  • Assign work to the team member appropriate with their current understanding of the firm and its clients and work product.
  • Meet with the new team member after the first week and ask:
  1. How did it go?
  2. How do you feel?
  3. Are you coming back next week?
  4. What do you love about it here?
  5. Do you know anyone else that might be interested in working here (remember to always keep hiring – great people are hard to find)? 

Above all, prepare and make sure the first day on the job is the best it can be! The more fun you can be, the longer this person will be with you.

Remember the gift to the family? We give a Money Tree to all new team members. One gentleman worked for us for many years. When he retired, he sent us a picture of the Money Tree – it had grown from eight inches to three feet.

What else do you do for new team members to make them feel like one in a million (because you really didn’t hire the other 999,999)?