On-Boarding the New Employee: The Checklist – Before the First Day of Work

In our continuing series on On-Boarding and Employee Development, Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham focuses her attention on the issue gathering all of the pieces of what to do for a successful onboarding, before the first day of work. Enjoy this week’s Power Idea.

Having a quality onboarding process that starts with a checklist costs a fraction of your resources. It also helps a new employee understand the organization, its culture, the other employees, as well as, becoming more productive.

It is important, especially during the training period that the new employee should be working closely with the supervisor and the mentor. The supervisor ensures the new employee is oriented in the organization, policies, facilities, work expectations and more.

Let’s start with what should happen before the first work day for the new employee. This should be done by the supervisor and Human Resources:

I. Prepare all relevant paperwork and information and have it in a folder so it is ready to be finalized such as:
1. An application, if it is required and one hasn’t been completed
2. A copy of the offer letter
3. Date of employment
4. Contact information
5. W-4
6. I-9
7. Insurance forms
8. Direct deposit forms
9. Non-disclosure agreement
10. IT access and/or information for access
11. Any specific company forms

II. Choose a mentor who will be responsible to:
* Make contact with the employee prior to their first day of work.
* Prepare the work station and include supplies like furniture (desk, chair, telephone, computer), desk supplies (stapler, letterhead or access to get it on-line, paper, pens and business cards if there is a standard form that is used, etc). Clean out anything that may have belonged to a previous occupant. If the company has something available like a coffee mug or water bottle with the company logo on it include that as well.
* Have the necessary tools ready for the new employee such as their login and how to create their password, their company email address, their company phone number and any social accounts they will need access to, an email list of co-workers with job titles, department phone numbers, keys to rooms they will need access to and a company mobile phone if applicable.
* Meet the new employee on their first day of work. Have a parking decal if needed, or ensure they have a bus pass, train pass or whatever is needed, depending on how they will be traveling to work and what programs are available through the organization.
* Make arrangements to have lunch with them on the employee’s first day of work. (Not buy them lunch, though, if the company does that it’s fine), but definitely eat with them. The first day of work is a lot like the first day of school, no one wants to eat alone on their first day.
* Prepare a benefits package or ensure it has been done.

III. The supervisor should:
1. Ensure the new employee has received an offer letter.
2. Provide a current job description with responsibilities.
3. Have assigned required reading.
4. Create accounts or have them created by IT.
5. Ensure the new employee has access to any tools they will need.
6. Ensure the new employee is scheduled for required training such as risk management classes, orientation, etc.
7. Discuss role, goals and projects (this should be done at the beginning of the first day).
8. Have a discussion with the new employee at the end of the first day to ensure they had what they needed, first impressions and any concerns.

The first day is critical in setting the tone for the future of the new employee. It lets them know they are wanted and valued and that the supervisor and the organization have a vested interest in them and their future. It sends a message that everyone is glad the new employee has chosen this organization to join and that together they will both be successful.

In the next Power Idea we will look at what should take place during the first week to ensure a successful onboarding process for a new employee.