Employee onboarding process checklist: The best onboarding practices ✅

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If you’re recruiting for your business, or are looking for new ways to improve your current recruitment process, a well-structured employee onboarding process should be a factor you are prioritising.

A new employee onboarding process and solid new employee orientation plan will allow your new hires to be fully integrated into your business and equipped with everything they need to get straight into their new role and help your business grow.

If you’re wondering how to onboard a new hire and are looking for new employee orientation examples, we’ve put together a complete guide to the best onboarding practices.

If you’re looking to hire for your business, get in touch and discover how we can add exceptional candidates to your teams this year:

What is onboarding and new employee orientation?

Wondering what does onboarding mean and what does onboarding mean in HR?

Here’s our definition and why it’s so important:

Onboarding is the procedure of integrating a new employee into a company and training your new hires.

Whether you’re hiring engineersrecruiting salespeople or looking to hire an SEO expert, a strategic and consistent employee onboarding process is key to helping new hires settle into their role and integrate into your business.

Particularly in graduate recruitment, when candidates are likely to have limited experience in full-time employment, a clear onboarding plan or employee orientation checklist essential to help them settle in, integrate with your team, work effectively, and ultimately stay at your company.

It’s important to note that effective employee onboarding doesn’t just involve initial training and introductions – and it isn’t just something to tick off on a list of to-do’s.

Companies with best onboarding practices begin their process when a candidate accepts their offer, and continue for at least their first year, helping to nurture and develop graduates to become engaged, motivated and productive employees.

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What are the benefits of employee onboarding process?

There are numerous benefits of having an employee onboarding process flow in place, here are a few top benefits of employee onboarding:

  • Typically, it takes a while, sometimes up to a year for your new hires to be achieving their targets and performing to full productivity.

    A great onboarding process helps your new hires achieve your required productivity a lot quicker, through making your new hires aware of your goals from the beginning and having frequent manager check ins, monitoring development.

    Communicating with your new employees about their performance so far, and setting out a plan for improvement, is key to homing in this productivity and training your new hires from the beginning.

  • Showing your new hires your onboarding process, and map for their first year is a great way to show that you care about their development in your company.

    Make sure to sit down with your new employee and go over their training plans, when their check-ins will be and what you want them to achieve.

    Emphasize to your new staff that you want them to succeed and grow with the company, and you are on hand to provide the resources for them to do so.

    Organisations with successful onboarding plans have a higher rate of employee retention, and see their staff grow with their company on a long-term basis.

    If you’re looking to improve your employee retention, having an excellent onboarding plan in place is key.

    For more tips on how to retain staff, check out our employee retention strategies.

  • Employee referrals play a large part in your recruitment process.

    Your new hires may rave about your onboarding process to their network, helping encourage others to apply to your vacancies and want to join your company.

    It’s important you’re selling your onboarding process on your job description, letting candidates know that their training and career development will be planned out from the start through a structured onboarding process.

    A survey we conducted amongst graduates found professional development and growth opportunities ranked before salary on graduates’ list of ‘what is most important in a job’.

    So including your onboarding process in your job vacancies is an excellent way to attract top graduate talent who are serious about progressing in their career.

    Check out our 2020 graduate employment statistics for more statistics and insights into the factors graduates value in a role.

    Or for more ways to attract talented candidates to your roles, discover how Give a Grad a Go can help you find top talent.

  • A top onboarding process provides your new hires with a strong support network to discuss any of their initial worries and anxieties when starting a new job.

    This helps develop trust and stronger relationships between your employees, creating a happy and collaborative working environment.

    Research indicates that the most engaged employees are those who have strong connections with their co-workers and managers – a well thought through onboarding process is key to the productivity of your staff and helping your business achieve its long-term and short-term goals.

Virtual onboarding: How to virtually onboard new employees

Wondering how to onboard a new employee remotely and how to train a new hire online?

Virtual onboarding is more popular than ever. With many offices working from home and using technology to virtually communicate when working remotely, it is important to know how to onboard employees and keep the remote onboarding process as proactive, engaging and productive as possible.

  • One-to-one meetings are vital

This will give your new employee the opportunity to talk about how they are finding the onboarding process.

Having a one-to-one virtual meeting will give the employee the time to explain if there is anything they want to address and be a great opportunity for you to get feedback for the virtual process for onboarding new employees.

  • Create an online community

For fully remote workers and employee onboarding, creating an online community or virtual hub is a great way to boost morale in your company, help each other out and keep in contact during isolation.

This is great from a business perspective to have a dedicated space to share ideas and store information virtually, but it is also a good idea from a personal perspective.

Engage your new team members with unique onboarding ideas such as introducing them to the office with a fun competition, end of the week quiz (such as ‘Guess the baby photo’) and video calls.

  • Use online tools

Make the most of the virtual tools for remote onboarding which can be a great help to your virtual onboarding.

Use remote training tools such as scheduling software, internal communications platforms and videoconferencing to ensure that all the tasks being completed by your new starter are clear and useful.

  • Offer ongoing support

The best onboarding processes are the ones which are continuous and supportive throughout the entire employee journey.

This is especially important for remote employees, because if they do not feel as though the virtual training was sufficient enough for them to perform the role, then they may not know who to contact about it, or might unknowingly be making mistakes.

A top tip for virtual onboarding is to ensure that you regularly checking in with your remote employee and consistently being a good manager to ensure their happiness and success from home.

If you’re looking for more ways to onboard and train your new hires remotely, make sure to check out our virtual training tips for businesses.

What are the best onboarding practices? How to onboard a new employee:

When planning your onboarding process, it’s important to consider what do your hires really need from you?

The graduate recruitment process doesn’t end when the candidate accepts your offer.

When your new graduate hire arrives at your office, they’re probably going to be brimming with enthusiasm, nerves and a sense of disbelief that they’re officially entering the working world.

By this stage, your induction process should already be in full flow.

Find out what you need to be doing to help them settle into your organisation and excel in their new role, with our in-depth sample new employee onboarding checklist below for the most effective onboarding strategy:

  • The first and one of the most important steps in your employee onboarding process checklist is to send out offer letters, contracts and welcome packs.

    Keep your new hires in the loop about how often they can expect to hear from you in the time before they start, and include them in company-wide emails – a great way to make them feel involved before they’ve even started.​

    • Organise technology and other logistics

    During the week leading up to their start date, set up their email address and ensure that all technology is in good working order.

    Make sure you have your employee’s desk is set up and ready for them.

    Ensure their work place is how you would want to find your own – clean and tidy, with business cards if they are going out to clients straight away, and maybe some company swag.

    Remember the courage it took you to ask where the stationery supplies were kept on your first day of work? Make sure their desk is fully stocked with notebooks, pens and anything else they need.

    Then, contact the candidate via phone or email, make sure they know what they need to bring (passport, bank details etc), and who to ask for on arrival.

    Especially with graduates who have little previous experience, their first day can be hugely daunting – so taking steps to ensure they feel comfortable and welcomed at your company is an important part of the process.


    • Assign a mentor and launch a workplace mentoring scheme

    One of the best ways to onboard new employees, is to have mentor to support them. Assign a member of your team who’ll act as your new recruit’s buddy – ideally someone who has been at the company long enough to be able to answer questions, but also someone who hasn’t been at the company too long – so they can empathise with them as a ‘new starter’.

    If you’re looking to introduce a workplace mentoring program as part of your onboarding plan, make sure to check out our complete guide to employee mentoring and tips for how to best launch a mentoring scheme.

    Create an induction plan so that your graduate’s first couple of days aren’t a lonely mix of refreshing their temporary inbox (nope, still just the automatic email welcoming them to Outlook) and looking around in the hope that someone will ask them to do something.

  • On their first day, introduce them to the team and take them on a tour of the office/building/surrounding area (showing them some of your favourite places!)

    Arranging brief induction sessions with members of your team will help a new starter settle in, understand more about your business and get started on tasks that will be of value to them and to you.

    Then, take 10-15 minutes to sit, have a tea or coffee, and explain what will be happening on their first day, and what they can expect from their first week.

    Throughout the day, encourage them to ask as many questions as possible. Finally, we think it’s a nice touch to take them out for lunch or for a post-work drink – showing your graduate hires how much you value them from the start.

  • In their first week, create a clear and structured agenda for your new hire.

    If they are training, sitting in meetings, or working on projects, tell them when, where, and what they should bring to each one.

    Then, encourage them to sit down with their line manager or supervisor to discuss their goals, ambitions and where they see the role developing.

    Finally, why not kick off their first week by getting them to work on a meaningful task with other team members?

    This will give them great insight into what the role is going to involve.

    Manage yours and your team’s expectations.

    Even though your graduate hire or new employee may have some previous work experience under their belt, the chances are they won’t have spent much time in a similar office environment.

    They may also be new to your industry.

  • Their first month is integral to the success of your new hire – so initiatives you set up when they joined, like matching them up with a mentor to confide in can be hugely valuable.

    Giving ownership of a task, no matter how small, can boost your graduate hire’s confidence and engagement.

    How can you challenge them, stretch them and offer them experiences in their first few weeks they’ll feel are valuable and worthwhile?

    Assigning a new hire a mentor is particularly useful for sales roles, helping give your new employees a standard to work towards and experience hands-on training into the sales practices of your business.

    Looking for a sales recruitment company? Get in touch and discover why we’re London’s graduate sales recruitment experts.

    Consider how you can enhance your graduate’s soft skills too.

    Could they be responsible for manning the phones for a few hours a day to improve their communication skills, or be working on multiple projects to strengthen their time management?

    Then, at the end of the month, organise a check-in to ensure that they’re enjoying their new role.

    The check-in doesn’t need to be with a HR team – and can be conducted by a line manager, a team lead, or a mentor.

    Make sure to use this time to listen, too. The feedback they give can provide a real insight into your company culture, onboarding process and management styles.

    Ask them to evaluate their onboarding experience:

    What was useful?

    What might need more clarification or attention?

    Is your buddy system working?

    Did they feel their induction was thorough enough?

    What new skills have they learnt so far?

    How could you improve the onboarding of future hires?

    Their evaluation will help you improve your process, as well as help improve employee morale in the workplace, as individuals like to have their voice heard!

  • The graduate recruitment process isn’t over once you’ve completed the initial onboarding program (up to their first month).

    More than 22% of new starters leave a firm within the first 45 days of employment due to a poor onboarding process.

    Moving forward, you can retain your new hires by providing ongoing support, scheduling regular reviews and catch-ups, provide clear and constructive feedback, run through their achievements to date and set some objectives in place so they have clear goals to work towards.

    Think about opportunities for growth and development, rewards and salary reviews, further mentoring schemes and company-wide perks.

    If you’re operating internationally, and you have teams in different parts of the world, the onboarding process can be even more challenging. In this case, you can outsource your HR services to a Professional Employer Organisation. For example Global PEO, or other providers local to where you are, which can oversee the onboarding process to ensure optimal international employee retention.

From the moment a candidate accepts their offer, to your new hire’s first day, week, month and year, the onboarding process is a vital part of graduate recruitment and key to ensuring that they integrate in to your business seamlessly and effectively.

Looking to hire graduates for your business or improve your current recruitment process?

As the UK’s leading specialist graduate recruitment agency, our services helps companies employ staff as quickly as they need to grow and succeed. You will receive a shortlist of vetted candidates usually within 48 hours; you can trust us to find talent, whatever your deadline.

Get in touch today and discover more of our award-winning hiring services and business resources.



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