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How an onboarding checklist sets your team up for success

Aude Creveau

You've passed the interview process, asked the right questions, and found someone who's highly qualified and killed it in the interview. 

Now comes the hard part: the onboarding process. You see, the job interview still isn't over. You still need to impress your employee during the onboarding process if you want to keep them for more than 12 months. 

This is where an onboarding checklist can help. Not convinced? Here's what an onboarding checklist can offer your team and why you should use one.

What is onboarding?

Before we take a closer look at onboarding checklists, it's important to understand what onboarding is

The onboarding process is the initial process of assimilating newly hired employees into your overall workforce. It's also the process of preparing for the arrival of a new employee into the staff and into a particular team. 

This way, both teams and new employees alike are ready to tackle their new tasks and work dynamics successfully. 

It can include every step in the process of taking an employee from brand new to an established team member, including: 
Preparations before the employee's first day

  • Tasks for the new employee
  • Tasks for the new employee's team
  • Meeting the team
  • Introducing tasks to the new hire
  • Introduction to the tools used on the job
  • Orientation in the office
  • Checking in with the new hire over the next several weeks

It doesn't just make the integration process easier, it also boosts productivity and bolsters employee retention. If you're doing it right, that is.

What does a successful onboarding process do?

Successful onboarding completes a few key priorities for your company:

  • Increases employee retention from the first day
  • Defines clear responsibilities for your employee
  • Speeds up the training process
  • Enables employees to be more productive more quickly
  • Reduces employee turnover

Put it this way: do you expect your new hires to leave within 12 months? Do you budget for high employee turnover?

If so, you're losing a significant portion of your budget. Monetary costs to replace an employee can be up to 150% of their annual salary. Some of these costs are obvious, like interviewing and training costs, but most of them are hidden, like the cost of low morale and dragging productivity as employees are stretched thin.

On the flipside, onboarding directly helps your retention. A study found that new employees who went through a structured onboarding process are 58% more likely to still be at a company three years later.

What is an onboarding checklist?

This is where an onboarding checklist is your friend.

If an onboarding process is more successful when it's structured, an onboarding checklist is your handy guide to creating that process.

An onboarding checklist is simple: it's a list of different tasks that must be completed to ensure a smooth integration for your new employees.

Some of these tasks are delegated to your HR department, while others are delegated to the members of the new employee's team. 

What does an onboarding checklist include?

You might think that an onboarding checklist looks like a to-do list: a long list of rote tasks that you need to complete without much attention to what goes on.

The truth is that an onboarding checklist can be as comprehensive as you want them to be.

An onboarding checklist can be broken into four distinct time periods:

  1. Before the new hire's first day
  2. New hire's first day
  3. First tasks for new hires to complete
  4. The first four weeks on the job

They can also be split into four distinct groups for checklists:

  1. The new employee
  2. The new employee's team
  3. Managers
  4. HR teams

You can also use the onboarding checklist to address a variety of concerns, from technology to culture to workplace standards and procedures.

The best onboarding checklist doesn't start on day one. They start on the day of hire. You see, onboarding begins from the moment you hire an employee. It's not just showing them how to use your software, it's showing them how excited you are to welcome them into your workplace.

Advantage of onboarding checklists

You need a great onboarding checklist because you need to do more than just create a strong onboarding process. You need to create a consistent onboarding process. 

Otherwise, you might give a great onboarding to one employee and lose another critical employee because you neglected their onboarding. 

With an onboarding checklist, you can guarantee that every employee will go through the same onboarding process and enter the job with exactly the tools they need to succeed. You'll also guarantee that all your new employees have a consistent image of your company culture, great news for your retention rate. 

It also helps you save time by avoiding any embarrassing surprises on the first day, like not having a computer for your new hire to work on. 

Plus, a well-defined onboarding checklist makes it easy for everyone to see their exact responsibilities during the whole onboarding process.

That way, no one gets confused on who's supposed to be doing what. 

The good news is that once you develop an onboarding checklist that works, you won't need to refer to it as often. You'll know exactly what you need to do to offer a great onboarding every time. 

But if you're just getting started, a template can make things much easier. 


Get started with onboarding checklist template

An onboarding checklist can make all the difference between a haphazard first day and a smooth integration that gives your employee the tools for success.

If you need help getting started with the onboarding process, check out this onboarding checklist template to create better first days at work.

Claim your checklist template

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