The ONLY Employee Onboarding Checklist You’ll Ever Need (And It’s Free!)

Dharshan Chandran Employee Experience, Employee Onboarding
employee onboarding checklist

Ever experienced the “first-days-at-a-new-workplace” jitters? This feeling builds when new hires struggle to navigate basic tasks such as locating office supplies, proficiently using new IT systems and apps, or even figuring out how to sign-up for benefits and 401k plans – all on their own. Fortunately, all these issues are avoidable if the company gets its new hire checklist right. To this end, for starters, you should add harnessing a powerful Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), such as Whatfix, to your employee onboarding checklist. This tool, with its contextual walkthroughs and 24/7 in-app help, would make it easy for new joinees to get comfortable using your business-critical enterprise software.

But there is much more to be done. The journey from job offer to getting recruits completely in sync with their role in supporting your business, spells a lot of hard work for your HR team. Make no mistake. This is what makes a comprehensive employee onboarding checklist ever so critical. But first, let’s try to understand how better employee onboarding management can help your business.

Benefits of a Well-Planned Employee Onboarding

The first 90 days of your employee’s life is a crucial transition period. Get them to feel engaged and involved, and you win yourselves, die-hard company loyalists. The problem, according to Gallup, is that only about 33% of employees end up feeling thoroughly engaged.

To prevent workplace anxiety among newbies and ensure high employee engagement from day #1, every company needs to have a solid onboarding plan.

Some of the key perks of a well thought out onboarding process are:

  • Improves talent acquisition – If employees feel well-taken care of, word of mouth spreads about it and helps build a positive image about your company as the employer of choice. In an economy where companies struggle to source employees with the right skills, this is a great advantage to have.
  • Heightens productivity – Onboarding employees the right way is likely to decrease time to achieving proficiency in their job and improve productivity by over 70%, according to research by Brandon Hall Group. In this manner, new hires can hit the ground running from the get-go.
  • Increases retention rates – Employee turnover is a very expensive affair. Proper onboarding helps maximize your employee lifetime value. If done right, employee retention increases by a whopping 82%!
  • Improves sync with company culture – Companies that invest in new employee onboarding notice that recruits assimilate into the corporate culture with much greater ease. And they end up feeling more connected to their team and committed to the success of the enterprise.

And ultimately, all of this would equate to a heftier bottom-line for your company.

The Ultimate Employee Onboarding Checklist

the ultimate employee onboarding checklist

Most companies think of employee onboarding to be a one time affair focused on paperwork and admin tasks – such as getting employment contracts signed, forms filled, etc. but it needs to be so much more.

Your mantra should always be – ‘educate and engage all day, every day’.

And as a new-age organization that needs to cater to the needs of Gen Y and millennial talent, it’s important to strategically plan and execute your employee onboarding.

So, here is an easy-to-follow plug-and-play workstream template that can get your employee onboarding process running smoothly and efficiently. Make sure you assign timelines and responsibility to individuals for each of these pointers.

Pre-Onboarding (T-1 week before the first day)

At this stage, you need to be able to prepare the business and the new recruit on what they can expect on the first day at the workplace. The following tasks need to be completed 1-2 weeks before the joining date:

Run background checks and send a job offer letter and contract copy over to the shortlisted candidate for review.

  • Send out a personalized welcome email. It may include:
    • First day’s schedule
    • Contact person details
    • Employee handbook
    • Company background/overview etc
  • Set up employee records. Ask the hire to send you personal details, bank account information, copies of certificates and diplomas, etc. Nowadays, companies use onboarding software to get employees to update and upload these details on their own. All they need is an efficient Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), such as Whatfix, to guide users through its self-service workflow.
  • Prepare the IT support items and admin essentials. Sanction laptop and role specific software access, configure email id, place orders for business cards and office ID, etc. Here, again, you may employ Whatfix to aid HR and IT in onboarding users on to different applications and walk them through HR portals, email systems, etc. within the platform.

Onboarding (Things to do in the First Week)

This week, in the employee onboarding checklist, should be packed with celebrations and early learning and familiarization sessions.

  • Send out an email introducing the new joinee to the team. By profiling the joinee based on their interests, areas of expertise and past experience, the team will be able to better understand their new co-worker.
  • Host a warm welcome party. It could even be a team lunch or an after-work dinner. Because let’s admit it, nothing beats great food, music and conversation in making employees feel at home in a new workplace!
  • Show them to their workstation. Also share a link/physical copies of the employee handbook, IT, security & HR policies and code of conduct.
  • Check in to see if the IT elements are ready for use. Double-check with new hires to see if they have properly installed and signed in to all software, such as corporate email, messaging software, HRIS and other enterprise tools. Whatfix’s superior analytics can help track user actions on the application as well as queries regarding any feature. An onboarding tasklist (featuring basic training modules and action items) can also be created and user progress can be tracked.
  • Provide the new hire with a welcome package that features all essential items needed to get through the first few days at work. This could include key cards, office supplies, wifi passwords, phone numbers, and maybe even some cupcakes to combat first-day munchies!
  • Foster a culture of user accountability. You need to get the hires to understand that using new technology is a non-negotiable part of their role in the company. This messaging, especially if routed through a CXO would really help up adoption rates.
    You could use Whatfix’s onboarding overlay widget, to play a welcome video as soon as users open the new enterprise platform. This video could reinforce the benefits of using the tool.
  • Offer training in the flow of work. Subscribe to an intelligent mix of micro and macro training, powered by in-depth employee data tracking and analytics.
    • Conduct training on LMS and face-to-face classroom-style sessions. This would do the trick to inform the new users about WHY the enterprise software is needed or for one-off instances of product training, mandatory HR training. But with people having knowledge easily available at the click on a button, be it via Google or social media, it’s important for corporate learning experiences to match consumer-grade experiences. Hence, you need to add real-time upskilling tactics to your L&D bouquet – discussed in the next pointer.
    • Be sure to introduce the new users to your DAP. Especially in the first week, it is critical to get a DAP up and running on your enterprise systems such as Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday, SuccessFactors, Office 365 etc. DAPs, such as Whatfix, run as a layer over these platforms and helps new users understand how to use the HCR, ERP and sales tools, while they use it. This is the best way to ensure that new users develop a high level of application proficiency, from the first day of work. The training is also hyper-personalized to the needs of each end-user. Some of the key features of Whatfix include, but are not limited to:
      • Engaging guided in-app walkthroughs (flows) that promote learning by doing
      • Contextualized enterprise knowledge that automatically surfaces in-app, whenever you have a software-led query. This information appears in the form of:
        • Tooltips to explain succinctly the function of each feature/button
        • Self-help widgets for contextual help documents, videos, etc.
        • Beacon widgets to draw peoples’ attention to new features in the software. And its smart pop-up functionality can also be used to help users navigate through the newest platform releases.
    • Assign platform adoption champions. There is nothing more authentic and relatable than having a co-worker help users with their workplace queries, software or otherwise. You could assign a team of early adopters, who are champions of the tool, to support new hires in their journey of getting familiar with the tool.
    • Encourage participation in P2P platforms. This could include engaging with internal social media channels or discussion boards, where they can discuss any concerns or queries they may have.
    • Use DAPs superior data analytics ability to understand where the software-related knowledge gaps lie. The adoption tool does a great job of observing employees as they use the enterprise software, tracking their behaviour, to give L&D personnel the insights they need to create personalized training content. So, as users progress in their understanding of the software, they receive experience-appropriate content in real-time to improve their software interactions.
  • Offer a grand office tour. Give your new joinee a run of the office premises including the location of the pantry, boardrooms, pantry, etc. Also, show them where the IT, finance and other functional teams sit.
  • Introduce the employee to their workplace mentor, manager and buddy. Mentor and manager will be the formal guides, while the buddy will act more like an office friend for the more emotional/casual concerns such as where to get great coffee from!
  • Share a reminder with the employee to submit all requisite paperwork. This includes verification of their work visa papers.
  • Explain the company’s goals, organizational chart and the employees KPIs (based on their unique job description)
  • Take the recruit through their career development plan. Set a 90 day plan personalized to each employee. Here, the joinee gets to discuss their role, goals and projects with their supervisor. This will help them realize what is expected of them, and what areas they need to improve in. Such a step is critical as research states that only 21% employees feel that their performance is managed carefully enough to motivate them to do better.
  • Schedule regular discussions and Q&A sessions with the HR or team leads on the joinee’s progress in settling in. This could be performed every two weeks, during the first month.

Post-Onboarding (Week #2 Onwards)

It is believed that up to 90% of employees make up their mind about whether to stick on with the new organization within the first six months. That means you need to continue giving them reasons to stay on and build loyalty even after the first week on onboarding.

To that end, here are some of the tactics to add to your employee onboarding checklist:

  • Run employee onboarding surveys. These help map how the employees felt during the first few weeks. And such feedback can be harnessed to improve the experience of new recruits in the future.
  • Follow up on the employee development plan. Conduct six-month performance review and set goals for the next 6 months. This is also the time to offer recognition for a job well done.
  • Conduct regular all-team meetings to showcase employee success stories and morale-boosting company wins.
    • Explain complex workplace concepts and offer training to employees via fun quizzes, role-playing, etc.
    • Continue using DAP’s features to improve engagement with the enterprise platform, even after onboarding – throughout the employee’s lifecycle.

You can bank on digital adoption platform Whatfix to take care of your software onboarding needs, with its real-time and automated in-app guidance. Click here for a free trial of this DAP to see how your new users can go from zero to competent on the software familiarity scale. Alternatively, to know more about the many onboarding and adoption features of Whatfix, signup for a quick demo.

Dharshan Chandran

Dharshan Chandran

Product Marketing Manager at Whatfix
Dharshan, with 8+ years of corporate experience, has helped take early-stage enterprise SaaS products to market in various industries. His current focus is on the HR tech space and how evolving technology is helping enterprises digitize their workspace and drive employee engagement.
Dharshan Chandran
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