New Hire Orientation Blog
New Employee Hire Checklist and Onboarding Checklist
- June 18, 2019
- Posted by: Sherman Morrison
- Category: New Hire Induction
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have tasks laid out clearly in a list so each item can be checked off as it is handled or completed, you’re going to love this page. The primary objective here is to present a variety of new employee hire checklists you can use to make sure each new employee gets started off on the right foot. Why is this important? Because it sets the stage for better employee performance and employee retention over time. If you want to see the statistics that prove the value of top-notch new employee onboarding, all you have to do is read one article on the blog page of this website: Onboarding Research Roundup #1: Improving New Hire Orientation And Training.
Checklist of New Employee Forms
The various forms a new employee needs to fill out and/or sign vary widely from company to company, so the checklist of new employee forms presented below starts off with the most common forms across companies for legal and regulatory compliance purposes, then lists less common forms that are still important or needed at many companies.
- W-4: This is the form every new employee has to fill out before their first paycheck because it contains the information needed to calculate federal income tax withholding.
- I-9: In order to determine the new hire is actually eligible for employment, this form must be filled out and the identity/eligibility documents inspected.
- State Forms: Some states have their own version of a W-4 type of document for the information needed to calculate state income tax withholding.
- Equal Opportunity Data Form: If your company has more than 100 employees, or if your company has at least 50 employees and handles federal contracts, this form is required.
Best Practices Forms at Many Companies
- Employee Information Form or Job App: This is used to collect verifiable personal information such as name, address, contact information, previous employers, education and requires the new hire to sign that all the information is accurate.
- Signed Offer Letter: The letter describes the job title, duties, start date, pay and benefits.
- Employee Handbook: The new hire should sign off on a form to acknowledge they have received a copy of your company’s employee handbook, have read it and understand its contents.
- Direct Deposit Authorization: Most employees want their paycheck automatically deposited into their checking account, and this form gives you the information and authorization needed to make it happen.
- Background Check Forms: Depending on what kinds of background checks your company needs to conduct, the new hire may need to fill out an authorization form.
- Nondiscrimination Policy: Your company may have specific policies around nondiscrimination in the workplace (racial, gender, anti-sexual harassment, etc.) you want the employee to sign off on, or to verify they have received the company’s related training on the topic.
- Drug Testing: If your company has specific policies about drugs and drug testing, you may want to have a form specific to that for employees to sign.
- Emergency Contact Form: In the event of a serious illness or accident or failure to show up without being able to reach the employee, this provides emergency contact information the company can use when needed.
- Employment Contract/Agreement: Typically only used for higher-level management and executive positions, or contractors, to confirm work details and nonperformance penalties.
- Noncompete Agreement (NCA): This form protects your company by preventing the employee from working with competitors during or after termination (for some period of time).
- Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA): This commits the employee to confidentiality regarding the company’s intellectual property, proprietary information, and so on.
- Benefits Enrollment Forms: Each of your company’s various benefits may have its own forms and paperwork that need to be filled out, including health insurance and retirement plans.
Our recommendation for new hire paperwork is to take care of as much of it as possible during pre-boarding. There’s nothing worse than wasting much of a new hire’s first day(s) with mountains of paperwork. Figure out how much of your new hire paperwork can be prepared, filled out, and signed electronically. The longer the pre-boarding period, the more paperwork should be handled during that time. Be sure to include contact information for specific people who can answer any questions the new hire may have about specific items such as benefits. Carefully examine the items included on the above checklist of new employee forms and identify the ones that can be handled electronically during pre-boarding.
New Hire Checklist for Pre-Boarding
Because too many companies don’t have nearly enough contact with a new hire during the time between the employment offer and the first day of work, the checklist below contains a wealth of options for how to make the best use of pre-boarding:
- First Contact by Email: Decide who should compose an upbeat welcome email message that describe the many things they can do before their first day, and mention what’s happening on your end to get ready for their first day.
- Employee Manual: Send an electronic copy of the employee handbook so they can read it and make note of any questions they may have. Include your company’s form they should sign acknowledging they’ve received and read the handbook. Find out how you can enhance your handbook in our article, An Employee Handbook for the 21st Century.
- New Hire Paperwork: As described above, handle as much paperwork electronically as possible during pre-boarding.
- Assign a Buddy: Determine which employee will serve as the new hire’s “buddy” for the first several weeks to show them where things are, how things work, answer questions, and so on.
- Workstation Preparations: File all the IT and other requests needed to make sure the new hire will have a fully operational workstation with all the equipment and supplies they need.
- Email Account: Make sure IT sets up the company email account for the new hire so they have a chance to see try out the email system.
- Team Heads Up: Be in touch with the new hire’s team/department to tell them about the new employee and when they will start.
- Company Contacts: The new hire will appreciate having their company contact list populated with key contacts (their team, helpful HR and IT contacts, etc.). Make sure they also know where to find the company directory with everyone’s contact information (phone extensions and email addresses).
- Company Calendar: Put in all the recurring meetings/events that should appear on the new hire’s calendar.
- Schedule an HR Meeting: Schedule a time when the new hire will meet with HR to ask any questions they may have, finish off any remaining paperwork, and so on. But not on their first day, which should be more special than filling out new employee forms!
- First-day plan: Carefully plan the employee’s first day and who will take care of which pieces that need attention.
If your pre-boarding program covers all of these items, your company will be way ahead of the game of most when it comes to making all the right first impressions on new hires, and your employee retention metric will show the results of your efforts!
Day One Onboarding Checklist
Pre-boarding is an important aspect of employee onboarding, but even more important is what happens on that first day when the employee walks through the company doors to begin the job. If you’ve already made a good impression through pre-boarding, the first day is when you can really hit a home run if you work your way through the following day one onboarding checklist:
- Fun Workstation: Decorate the new hire’s workstation with a welcome message and some company swag items.
- Warm Greeting: Figure out who is going to greet the new hire and bring them to their workstation.
- Company-Wide Announcement: Send an email to everyone welcoming the new hire and saying a few things about them.
- Team Meeting: Have an informal get-Introduce the new hire just let everyone get to know each other.
- Company Overview: A big chunk of the first day (such as the rest of the morning, before lunch), should be devoted to a deeper big-picture orientation to the company’s mission, focus, objectives, and so on.
- Team Lunch: This should be a working lunch with the team that’s much like a regular team meeting so the new hire can see how the team works, as an observer unless they want to jump in.
- Job Details: In the first part of the post-lunch afternoon, the new hire should have a one-on-one with their immediate supervisor/manager where they learn all the nitty-gritty details of their responsibilities and duties in the job.
- Facility Tour: Break up the afternoon with a full tour of the company facilities so the new hire can get a sense of where things are.
- Final Meeting: After the tour, the one-on-one should continue as a wrap-up to the day. This is when the employee can ask any questions that have come up and you can get a sense of their impressions of what they’ve seen during the day.
Onboarding Checklist for Day Two and Beyond
As you can see, our checklists have been very detailed for both pre-boarding and day one of employee onboarding. But that’s literally just the very beginning of what a robust onboarding program should include. The checklist below lays out the other things that should happen throughout the entire first year of a new employee’s tenure at your company:
- On-the-Job Training: Adequate training to set up the new employee for performance success is absolutely essential, but it also has to be properly managed. Too-little-too-slow will leave the new hire feeling neglected, ill-equipped or bored while too-much-too-fast will be frustrating and overwhelming, with little retained. Take some time to plan out the what, who, when and how of training the new hire. You want to make sure the new hire has good employee skills, so some kind of skills assessment would be good in order to identify areas where additional training and education may be needed. Also essential is setting clear expectations for employee conduct through your compliance trainings around anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and diversity/inclusion training.
- Performance Goals: If you want a new hire to become a star performer, you have to lay out very clearly what the expectations are with measurable performance goals so everyone is on the same page.
- Regular Check-Ins: Performance check-ins would be conducted by the new hire’s immediate supervisor/manager and need to be more frequent than other regular employees. We suggest weekly during the first three months, every other week during months 3-6, and then monthly for the rest of their first year. The same holds true HR check-ins about how they’re settling in and any issues they may have. For HR check-ins, we suggest one at the end of the first, another at the end of the first month, and then every three months for the rest of the first year.
- Mentoring Matchup: A buddy helps orient a new hire for the first few weeks and answer questions, but a mentor is a long-term relationship that helps advance the career of the new hire with regular meetings, such as monthly.
- Soliciting Input: It’s especially important to solicit feedback from a new hire throughout their first year to provide valuable input to your company’s onboarding program to identify what your onboarding is doing well and where there’s room for improvement.
The four checklists provided on this page cover all the major aspects of what it takes to deliver top-notch new hire orientation and employee onboarding. From new employee forms to pre-boarding to day one planning to complete first-year onboarding, use these checklists to make sure you’re covering all the bases.