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How to Create a Meaningful Workplace Onboarding Checklist

A supervisor and new hire shake hands.

So, you’ve made it through the daunting interview process, and now it’s time to board the company ship. You don’t know what to expect, as you’ve never been on this ship before or taken this journey. Nevertheless, you’re excited to take on a new position, put your skillset to use, learn new skills, overcome new challenges, and meet new people.

Everyone is bound to experience the excitement, and the nerves, that come with starting a new job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals between the ages 18 and 54 and born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 12.4 jobs. Predictions for today’s younger generations are even higher.

Starting a new job is an undertaking we will all likely encounter several times throughout our working lives. The first few days and weeks of a new job can dramatically impact the overall experience at a workplace and the longevity of employees there.

Importance of Onboarding

Employee onboarding can help set the tone for a newcomer to an organization, positively or negatively. The onboarding time and process is the employee’s first impression of the company and how it runs. It is also the company’s first impression of the potential candidate and how they might fit into the organization.

For this reason, providing and working through a well-thought-out workplace onboarding checklist with new hires is consequential. A list will help them acclimate to their role and the company culture while setting the expectations held of them in their new position.

Without clear communication and expectations, a company may believe its new hire is falling short in responsibilities. Similarly, the new employee may feel reprimanded for unwritten rules and expectations they were never made aware of.

These are not fun or productive feelings for either side. A carefully curated onboarding process can mitigate some of the unnecessary pains of starting a job at a new workplace.

Graphic: why onboarding is important

Employee Experience

The onboarding period is an employee’s introduction to the company and their new role. It is the first taste of what it will be like working at this new place, in this new position, and not only what they can offer the company, but what the company can offer them.

The onboarding process has the potential to help welcome new employees to the company, get them acquainted with the spaces, people, and technology they will be using, and set them up with the proper resources and connections to succeed.

If well executed, onboarding can assist a new hire in feeling included, motivated, and prepared to tackle the responsibilities of their position. Executed poorly, an individual may feel lost, confused, and like an outsider. They may need clarification of what they should be doing in their role, be uncomfortable asking questions, or feel unsure who to talk to about it.

Company Experience

Facilitating an effective onboarding program that makes the new hires feel a sense of belonging, support, and preparedness to tackle the roles and responsibilities that come with their job is also vital for the company’s success. A good onboarding experience will likely lead to employees being more motivated, productive, and simply an overall asset to the team.

No onboarding and employee orientation process, or a poor one, can contribute to lower engagement and higher turnover rates. With a lack of direction, purpose, and connection, employees are less likely to be productive and more likely to start looking elsewhere for work.

Not only is it a pain to constantly be recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees, but it is also incredibly costly for the company.

Coworkers in conversation.

The 4 Cs

Four key elements help support the process when creating an effective onboarding program. Considering these elements and creating a program that encompasses them all helps integrate new employees and improve productivity.

  • Compliance — covers company policies and regulations

  • Clarification — expands upon job-specific responsibilities, expectations, and performance

  • Connection — helps facilitate work relationships and connection networks

  • Culture — provides an understanding of the company culture and norms

Building an onboarding and training program based around these four elements will proactively ensure all new hires have a clear grasp of their position and company expectations, are fully equipped with the resources and connections to succeed, and feel acclimated to the work environment and company culture.

Share the Weight

Once again, onboarding should be a fruitful group effort for all sides. While it is typical for human resources to conduct business areas involving recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding, employees in other departments of an organization have some responsibility to ensure the onboarding process is thorough and successful.

The HR professionals will create the onboarding program, ideally utilizing the 4Cs, to ensure onboarding isn’t strictly filling out piles of paperwork for someone new joining the team. It is crucial for management and those paired with the new employee as a mentor, guide, or trainer to take the onboarding seriously.

Onboarding a new employee can be fun and exciting, but it can also be daunting. A well-planned and thought-out onboarding process can make the process go smoothly and painlessly, leading to higher satisfaction on both sides.

Illustration of a well-planned onboarding process.

Employee Onboarding Course

The Regional Economic Development Center (REDC) of Yavapai College provides an employee onboarding course for supervisors, managers, and HR staff who are or are planning to bring new employees on board. The onboarding course will teach about the importance of onboarding and increase the ability to create a successful and worthwhile program to share with new employees.

After completing the REDC onboarding training, you will be able to build an employee onboarding program that increases employee retention and productivity, leads to higher engagement and lower turnover rates, and drives revenue and satisfaction of new employees, the company, and customers.

A better understanding of each other, the value both sides of the relationship provide, and the higher satisfaction rates gained through onboarding lead to a more outstanding commitment and the likelihood that employees will stay at the company for three or more years.

Onboarding Costs

The average onboarding cost is just over $1,500. However, it is a worthwhile investment as the average cost of hiring a new employee is $4,129. It is cheaper, in the long run, to invest in your new hires, as this increases the probability that they will stay at the company for a more extended period. The company won’t have to start the hiring process repeatedly due to turnover.

The relationship between an employee and a company should be mutually beneficial. Both parties need or want something from the other, and both have something to offer. With honest, open communication and expectations, companies and employees can help each other work together to achieve their goals and be successful individually and collectively.

Invest in your employees, and your employees will invest in you.

Get Started

Onboarding works proactively to help in the new employee transition period. REDC’s Onboarding course teaches people, and companies, how to manufacture an onboarding program that best benefits everyone. Inquire today to invest in your company and your people positively.

Home LinkThe REDC is a Division of Yavapai College.Go to yc.edu

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