Hiring can be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful (1). After going through the whole hiring process, which is quite lengthy, you have to make sure you don’t forget anything important in the orientation process.
Creating an orientation program allows for a more structured way of onboarding the employee. With this article, we are going to help you get your new team members started quickly and efficiently. We will share with you the best steps to follow from the moment you make the first job offer.
- The orientation program is a process. It is an extension of the hiring process and is where you begin to make an impression on the new employee (1).
- New employee onboarding checklists serve to ensure a successful orientation experience and a smooth start to your new employee’s career.
- Try to incorporate on your list all those things you don’t want to forget to do or talk about with your new employee. This tool is to make it easier for you and the new team member to onboard.
The best items to have on our orientation checklist
Here are the key items you should have on your checklist to make the orientation process go smoothly and without any setbacks or frustrations for you and your new employee.
1. Present the new employee with an employment contract
Once you have identified your ideal candidate, and have done a reference and background check, the next thing to do is to make it official with a signed employment contract.
This step is important, so it’s best to avoid emailing the contract. Make it your priority to call your new employee, congratulate them and express your excitement at having them on the team.
In addition, you should offer to go over the most important points of the agreement together. This will give you the opportunity to answer questions and doubts your new employee may have.
2. Inform about benefits and compensation
Consider the benefits that new employees want to know about, and mark them in the employee handbook. This is beneficial when employees request vacation or want to know more about paid vacations.
Spend time discussing benefits and compensation, and show them the procedures they should follow when requesting them. This way, they’ll be on the same page from the start.
3. Welcome the new employee with a call and an email
After the employment contract is signed, it’s important to make a phone call or video call. It’s another opportunity to express your excitement and start preparing the new team member for the future.
During the call, you can tell the new employee what to expect from you on the first day of work and what he or she will encounter once in the office.
A day or two after the phone call, send an email. The purpose of this is to generate enthusiasm and to make the new member of the company feel accompanied and prepared for his or her next steps.
4. Send a welcome package to the new employee
Everyone likes it when they receive an unexpected gift. The welcome package sent to the new employee can include:
- Employee handbook
- Benefits brochure
- Paperwork the employee is required to bring with them
- Welcome card
- Company gift
- Access cards
Ideally, the new team member should receive the welcome packet prior to the first day of work, ideally it should be immediately after the welcome call.
5. Send an orientation email to new employees
The orientation email will have more detailed information about what the new team member can expect before the first day of work and in the first few days on the job. It will be a summary of the steps in our checklist.
Here are a couple of ideas of information you can include in this email:
- Start time and place: this would be the where and when the new employee should be on their first day. If there are specifics about parking, don’t forget to include them.
- Key contacts: include who they will meet first on the first day, it can be the manager or human resources. Also, mention the people they can count on in the first week.
- Dress code: this is usually an aspect that is not taken into account. Making the dress code known can help with first-day nerves and save the new employee from unnecessary embarrassment.
- First-week agenda: it is good to give the new team member time to prepare mentally.
- Team members: send an organizational chart of the company and the team the new employee will be part of. This way they can familiarize themselves with their new colleagues.
- Key company policies and processes: emphasize the 2 or 3 that will impact your new employee on the first day of work. If you sent them an employee handbook, mark the most relevant sections.
As this email can be very long, the ideal is to tell the new team member to take their time to read it.
6. Organize and verify that the new employee’s paperwork is complete
Paperwork is a necessary part of the hiring process, but tedious. The best thing to do is to encourage new employees to complete their paperwork as soon as possible. Having them ready before the first day of work would be best, as this frees them up to do the most important and fun part of the new job.
Some of the paperwork the employee needs to complete has to do with health insurance, tax withholding, medical coverage, and general employee information, among others.
7. Prepare the new employee’s work tools and resources
It is important to have ready in advance everything the new team member needs to perform his or her job successfully. Many of these things need to be ready before the first day, while others can wait a little while.
The tools to be prepared will depend on whether the new team member will be working remotely from home or in the office. Also, consider what work he or she will be doing and what was sent in the welcome packet.
Some tools to prepare are:
- Workstation: whether it’s the office, a cubicle or a shared space. Add to that a desk and chair, filing cabinet, office supplies, among others.
- Computer equipment: desktop computer, laptop, tablet, monitors, keyboards, mouse, etc.
- Communication: cell phone, landline phone, videoconferencing equipment.
- Network access: shared network drives, company intranet, e-mail address, e-mail list access, remote network access.
- Software licensing: office productivity, project management, R&D (research and development) applications.
- Office and facility access: entry card, building alarm codes, identification badge.
- Travel resources: business cards, product demonstration kits, company branded apparel.
You can go through this list of items with the new employee on the first day or do it a little at a time so as not to overwhelm them.
8. Prepare the orientation program agenda
The orientation program, which is part of the hiring process, may require a day, a week, or a month.
By now, you’ve sent the new team member an email with what to expect when working for the company. Now it’s time to get into the details.
Creating the orientation program agenda will serve as a checklist to ensure that nothing is missing in the employee’s first few days.
The orientation program should be thought of as the construction of a tower, which needs a very strong and firm base, in order to add new floors on top of it. Some of the activities that can be included in the orientation program’s agenda are:
- Face-to-face interviews with the manager or other team members.
- Make an agreement of trust between the manager and the team member.
- A tour of the office.
- Review the work tools and resources available.
- Review the employee handbook and key company policies.
- A lunch or casual event with team members.
- Complete new employee paperwork.
- Verify the employee’s role and responsibilities.
- Check the employee’s training and development plan.
9. Make a general introduction of the company
Telling a bit about the company’s history and describing its values, mission and vision is a key step in the orientation process. This shows new employees where the company started and how it will continue to move forward to achieve its goals.
10. Create a training and development plan
An important part of the orientation and hiring program is to give the new team member the tools, training and resources they need to be successful in their role.
To create a successful training and development plan you must:
- Assess the needs of the team or new member.
- Identify objectives and anticipate results.
- Design an outline of the training plan.
- Build the program.
- Optimize engagement
- Evaluate the success of the training.
11. Involve senior leaders in new employee orientation
You may be the senior leader of the company. In case you are not, have a meeting with someone from leadership or the executive team to help with orientation, and be involved in activities such as:
- Give a company presentation.
- Give a tour of the building.
- Introduce a specific training topic.
- Invite the new team member for coffee or lunch.
Having senior or more senior leaders involved in orientation gives you a chance to teach the new member, tell stories and talk about the company’s values. It will also make the new team member feel a sense of belonging to the company.
12. Provide opportunities to meet, get to know each other and learn
As part of this list, schedule meetings with key members of the new employee’s organization and team.
This is a good way for the new hire to hear what other people do and how they work together. And it will give him/her a sense of where he/she fits in and how he/she fits in.
In turn, this helps to develop interpersonal relationships within the workspace, which results in more optimal employee well-being and improved job satisfaction (2).
We can conclude that having an orientation checklist for the onboarding process of a new employee is a very useful tool. It has a lot of benefits, such as starting to build the commitment of the new member towards the company, showing in advance the expectations you have, and making the new employee feel valuable to the team.
This tool not only helps the onboarding process go smoothly and smoothly, but also relieves the stress and anxiety it can generate for both you and the employee. Are you ready to start your own checklist?
1. Wallace K. Creating an Effective New Employee Orientation Program [Internet]. SSRN. Library Leadership and Managment; 2011 [cited 2022].
2. Pozo Muñoz C, Alonso Morillejo E, Hernández Plaza S, Martos Méndez MJ. Determinants of job satisfaction in public administration workers: The value of interpersonal relationships in the workplace [Internet]. EBSCOhost. Anxiety and Stress; 2005 [cited 2022].
3. Gibbons M. Ultimate New Hire Checklist: 10 steps to start onboarding! [Internet]. People Managing People. -; 2022 [cited 2022Sep13].
4. Indeed Editorial Team. What is an orientation checklist, and how do you write one? [Internet]. Indeed. Indeed; 2021 [cited 2022].