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How to Create Your Onboarding Checklist

How to Create Your Onboarding Checklist

Crafting and following a comprehensive onboarding checklist ensures a consistent, streamlined process for each new hire. It also allows HR pros to better track the work and time associated with bringing on new employees. 

From step-by-step instructions to HRIS streamlining capabilities, find out what HR teams need to include in new hire onboarding checklists.


What Is Onboarding and Why Does it Matter?

Employee onboarding involves the integration of a new employee into an organization by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to be successful in the role. The onboarding process typically involves everything from filling out paperwork to meeting coworkers and being introduced to the company culture

Effective onboarding has very real benefits for organizations. According to SHRM, employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. And a Gallup poll found that an employee’s perception of an organization begins with the individual’s very first interactions with the company, including the sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding processes. 

Unfortunately, Gallup also found that just 12% of employees feel their organization does a great job onboarding new employees. If setting your employees up for continual success means offering a comprehensive and satisfactory onboarding experience, would it be worth it to take a look at how you do things? 

The tightening labor market means employers are struggling to retain talent, leaving HR pros to question how they can sharpen their competitive edge. The answer may be to improve your onboarding process with an onboarding checklist.


What is an Onboarding Checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a set of standardized procedures that gathers together onboarding needs like compliance documentation, benefits elections, and more to create a streamlined and consistent onboarding experience. 

This retention-focused approach to onboarding allows HR pros to better track the work and time associated with bringing on new employees, which gives organizations an easier way to identify and address inefficiencies in existing onboarding processes.

Employers that use onboarding checklists should include the following sections:

  1. Legal and Employment Paperwork: This includes legal forms that are required by the federal government like Form I-9 and Form W-4, as well as employment agreements and direct deposit authorization forms. Some states have specific tax forms, so be careful you're filling out the correct documents. 
  2. Technology Instructions: HR teams should equip employees with all of the proper tech tools they need to be successful, like how to use the cloud drive, how to operate software programs, and more. 
  3. An Introduction to Company Culture: Use a Culture Guide to introduce your company culture, including what it means to work for the organization and where the business is heading in the future. 
  4. Other Practical Needs Employees Need to Know: Think of the little things that might not be essential to a person’s job function but help them better integrate into the company, like where to get office supplies and where to park. 

Some organizations have different roles that require different tech. To account for this, HR should develop unique onboarding checklists for different departments and possibly even different roles.


Tutorial: Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Onboarding can be tricky to get right. However, HR teams that use the following best practices can get closer to perfecting their approach to employee onboarding:

    1. Onboard Online: Create an efficient procedure by onboarding online with a human resources information system (HRIS). By taking onboarding online, teams can eliminate the need for paperwork, which decreases the time it takes to onboard a new hire. Online onboarding also allows teams to keep a record of new hire documents without any added steps.
    2. Onboard Before New Hires’ First Day: Begin onboarding before day one to skip the stress of new hire paperwork. As a result, new employees can start learning their position sooner, which ultimately decreases the time to full productivity.  
    3. Compile a Culture Guide: Employees should review and acknowledge the company Culture Guide during onboarding. This elevated employee handbook should include sections on governing principles, operational policies, benefits, leaves of absence, and general standards of conduct. It should also be readily accessible to every employee at all times. An HRIS like BerniePortal can track employee signatures, so HR knows who has read the Culture Guide and agreed to the terms. 
    4. Prepare an Agenda: On an employee’s first day, HR and hiring managers should prepare an agenda that establishes a timeline of tasks and goals and the steps to take to get started. This is best accomplished using a 30-60-90, which is a list of expectations, projects, and responsibilities that new hires need to be successful in their first three months on the job.
    5. Define Available Resources: It’s easy for new hires to feel overwhelmed when they start. HR can alleviate some of this stress by clearly defining the resources available to them. These resources should include procedures, communication channels to use, and platforms through which information can be accessed. 


If you need additional resources for creating an onboarding checklist, BerniePortal has created one for you. We have a comprehensive onboarding guide on the different details you may need to check off before you can declare a job well done.  


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credits
  • Resource Library—tools, templates, and checklists on an extensive list of HR topics
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics


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