Even the most intrepid entrepreneur eventually needs the support of a staff, and that means business owners must engage with a hiring process to bring on necessary help. Unfortunately, too few business leaders think critically about how to onboard their new recruits, which results in less then effective assistance from their workforce and as well as other likely headaches, such as low morale and high turnover rates.
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Onboarding is the most important step in hiring, which means that every business leader needs to develop a strong system for transitioning workers into their roles. The following checklist should help all business owners create an onboarding process that continues to deliver positive results as their business grows.
Understand the Needs of the Role
Before leaders take any steps toward hiring and onboarding a new employee, they need to fully understand the objectives and responsibilities of the role they are creating. In some cases, companies will already have established requirements for a vacant role, and leaders can utilize these expectations to develop their onboarding checklist. However, startups and small businesses that are expanding may need to put more time and effort into assessing a role’s needs to ensure they both find the right candidate for the role and prepare their new hire appropriately for the work ahead. It might be helpful to research similar open positions at other companies or question prior or current employees in similar roles.
Identify Pre-hire Responsibilities
The first section of an onboarding checklist should focus on tasks related to pre-hiring, which will help direct your candidate search and prepare you for bringing on a new member of the team. Some examples of these tasks include:
Gather paperwork: Companies typically collect basic information from new hires through forms like W-4s, I-9s, insurance paperwork, direct deposit documents, non-disclosure agreements and more.
Arrange appropriate technology: New hires will need hardware, like computers, as well as access to company software, Wi-Fi, employee contact information and more.
Organize the workstation: A new non-remote employee needs a space on premises to work. Their workstation should have appropriate supplies for their first week, to include notepads and pens as well as whatever tech devices they will use for their work.
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Recognize Important First-day Tasks
A worker’s first day is remarkably important; during the first few hours in a new workplace, a new worker will learn cultural behaviors, professional habits and career expectations which will impact the success they have in their new role. Therefore, the first day is perhaps the most important component of an onboarding checklist, which might include the following tasks:
Give a tour: A new hire needs to know the most important locations in the workplace, such as the HR office, the nearest bathroom, the kitchen and their supervisor’s desk.
Provide training materials: It is wise for companies to create a learning management system that makes it easy to keep training materials organized and accessible for new hires.
Set daily expectations: Leaders should discuss key elements of the employee handbook, such as dress code, parking rules, language etiquette and other elements that impact corporate culture.
Introduce a mentor: It can be useful for a new hire to have a contact at the company who is not their supervisor or hiring manager. A mentor might maintain a similar role in the company but have more experience to guide the new worker toward success.
Offer lunch: Taking a new hire out to lunch with their new team members and supervisor allows the entire group to bond on a personal level.
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Determine First-week and First-month Goals
The first day is arguably the most important step of onboarding, but by no means is one day the full extent of the onboarding process. An effective onboarding checklist will at least extend to the end of the first full week, paying attention to objectives that the new hire should complete after their first few days on the job. The exact goals involved in this section of the checklist will depend on the specific role; some new hires will need much more extensive training before they can contribute to projects, while others might be able to jump into work within their first week. It might be necessary to complete a checklist covering a new hire’s first month — and leaders should certainly check in with new hires after a month to determine whether they will continue to need onboarding support.
People are the core of any company, and how new people join the staff will impact the business’s success now and into the future. The sooner business leaders develop a strong strategy for onboarding, the sooner they can build teams of passionate, committed and high-performing hires.