Essential Onboarding Checklist 2021

onboarding employees

Human resource professionals have a lot of responsibility within an organization. They are responsible for planning, coordinating, and acting as a liaison between management and staff.

They work with the executive team on strategic planning, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and lead the onboarding process for new employees. HR professionals play an important role within an organization—perhaps one of the most important roles—as they are responsible for hiring qualified candidates that make up the organization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the responsibilities of a human resource manager is varied. It is bound to keep those in this position busy with several different job responsibilities. Most HR managers must oversee the following:

  • Learn each employee’s unique talents, and find job positions that best utilize their skills
  • Act as an intermediary between top-level management and the other employees
  • Plan and execute employee benefit programs
  • Act as a consultant to other managers when it comes to HR issues such as sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity, and other violations as set forth by the organization
  • Coordinate and oversee the work of freelance workers
  • Coordinate the organizations’ recruitment process, schedule interviews, secure good hires, and schedule the onboarding process
  • Mediate issues between staff members and provide improvement suggestions, and coordinate disciplinary procedures, when appropriate

Finding Employees to Fill Important Jobs:

One of the most arduous tasks HR professionals have is finding and keeping highly motivated, qualified employees. Where valuable candidates are identified, human resources are responsible for getting them acclimated to their new job. This is done through a comprehensive onboarding process that will provide them with an overview of the organizations, job responsibilities, and other important information needed in their new position. Once completed, human resource managers will work to ensure:

  • Positive employee relations
  • Securing regulatory compliance
  • Oversee or administer employee-related benefits, payroll, and other training needed
  • Oversee support staff to make sure the supervisor is satisfied with job performance
  • Identify ways to increase employee productivity and make sure they are fitting into their roles

There are Many Different Types of HR Managers:

We tend to think of human resource managers as having one set of skills and are interchangeable, but that is not the case. Many HR managers have specific skills. Here are some of the types of HR managers:

  • Labor relations and employee relations managers. They supervise the workforce and make sure policies are being abided by in organizations not overseen by a union. They will negotiate and create contracts that explain employees’ wages, benefits, and corporate policies. They will also handle grievances between management and employees to provide quality solutions for all.
  • Payroll managers: HR managers in this role will supervise the payroll department and make sure that employees get their paychecks on time. They will make sure that garnishments and taxes are deducted, resolve payroll issues, prepare management reports, and ensure that employees receive the end of year W-2 forms on time.


Recruiting or staffing managers: This is a big part of an HR manager’s job. They are responsible for recruiting and hiring staff. They typically will develop a recruiting plan that helps them identify valuable new staff members into open positions. They work with upper-level management to put together attractive benefits packages that attract top talent.

Onboarding: A Vital Step in the Hiring Process:

Recruiting the right employee for the job is critical, but it is also important to provide the tools needed to set that employee up for success.

According to the Society for Human Resources Development (SHRM), “Proper onboarding is key to retaining and engaging talent.” Onboarding is the process of acclimating a newly hired employee with their new job, the company culture, and providing the tools they will need to become a valuable member of their new team. The goal is to help new employees have a clear idea of job expectations and responsibilities, help them socialize so they can begin their new position being well informed and ready to hit the ground running.

Two Different Procedures; Two Different Purposes:

There are two different categories of onboarding Formal Onboarding and Informal Onboarding. Here is an overview of each process:

  • Formal onboarding includes tasks and processes that help new employees adjust to their new environment and their role within the organization. In the formal onboarding process, new employees are usually kept separate from the rest of the workforce. They typically will take part in orientation activities and classroom instruction.

  • Informal onboarding includes less formal activities that help new hires learn about their new environment and job role. It includes one-on-one mentoring, meetings with management, colleagues, and others that new employees are working with. This process also includes getting a security clearance, badges, completing paperwork, and receiving supplies and equipment.

Essential Onboarding Checklist:

Employee onboarding is often an arduous task for both the HR manager and the employee. However, it is a necessary one as it can prevent the early turnover of employees. It helps employees feel welcome so they can bring value to the company more quickly.

Some organizations confuse onboarding with orientation. Orientation is a necessary part of the hiring process, during which paperwork and routine tasks are completed. The onboarding process can last up to 12-months.

The goal is to develop an internal action plan to help new employees learn the company culture and policies and workflow expectations.

The following are all important points to touch upon within your formal onboarding process.

1. Start Early

Some organizations wait until they’ve officially hired someone to begin the informal parts of onboarding.

You should start earlier. The interview is the first part of the process, and the person doing the interview should make sure their questions are consistent with the values of your organization. This gentle introduction to company culture helps the candidate feel like part of the team before they’re officially hired.

That also means making sure that someone is available for them to speak with if they have any questions.

In general, the candidate should feel welcome before they’re actually hired, when you do hire them it makes the entire process go a bit smoother.

2. Put Them Through HR

Your HR team are the ones who should fill your candidate in on their benefits, company policies, and any emergency procedures that your organization has in place. Let them handle it, that’s their job after all!

During this stage, you’ll also grant them their security clearances to get into the systems they’ll require to do their job. Ideally, all of the programs needed can be accessed through just one platform.

Any extra administrative tasks should also be taken care of here.

3. Assign Required Devices & Software Onboarding

Most modern companies have at least one device that their employees will use. Whether it’s a tablet, laptop, or whatever else. Make sure that they’re ready to go on day one to make onboarding them smoother.

From here, the procedure will usually become less formal as you need to bring your new hire entirely into the company.

Whether you provide devices or not, you most likely will have to provide access to various tools and platforms your employees require in order to perform their jobs. 

Taking OneTool for example, you can easily provision new users from the users dashboard. Within the dashboard you have clear visibility into the number of tools users have access to, the number of active subscriptions, and the total monthly and yearly costs incurred. 

Users page onetool

4. Introduce Them to the Office

At this point, you should introduce your hire to the relevant people within the company, and perhaps fill them in on some of the trickier bits of your office culture.

Get them familiar with the physical layout of the office during this tour as well.

The observant manager can learn a lot about their employee from how they begin their interactions with others as well. This should be friendly and informal for the most part, but it will be your first time observing the new hire “in the wild” as it were.

Intra-office dynamics are important, so get them off to a good start and make note of anything that may be important in the future.


5. Introduction to Your Network

Many bosses just kind of let their employees slide into their network as time goes on.

A better approach is to strategically bring them on board and begin introducing them to the right people. Set up some meetings and put your employee in the right place to meet those they’ll need to associate with.

By taking a proactive approach to networking, you’ll be able to get them on board and doing their job more efficiently. In most businesses, people are one of the most important factors.

Help your employee get off on the right foot with your clients or customers, and you’ll end up in a much better position as time goes on. This way, they’ll know who to communicate with if there’s an issue.


6. Set Some Goals

You should sit down with your employee at some point and set some goals.

They should be quantifiable so that you’ll know for sure whether or not they’re accomplished. A reasonable time frame is best practice, allowing you to schedule a review some time past when the goal should be accomplished.

These should all be reasonable: they’re the first real metric you’ll have on how the new hire is and, more importantly, how they actually perform in the field.


7. The First Performance Review

The first performance review for an employee should be thorough and honest. You can like the new hire all you want, but in the end, it’s how they’re affecting your organization that really counts.

At this point, the employee is onboarded for better or for worse. What action you take from here is up to you, but your new hire should be well integrated into your organization at this point.


Bringing on employees doesn’t have to be a nightmare, instead, you can use the above checklist to help bring them into your company. Remember that full integration also means your new hire having access to not only the tools they need but also a bit of knowledge of their colleagues and the customers they’ll have to deal with in the future.

It’s simple really: check off the boxes and watch their performance. Making the process as painless as possible is simple enough as long as you have a rough outline of what needs to be done!

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