Best Practices

New Hire Orientation Checklist for Business Owners

by Martha Pierson   Jun 02, 2021

You’ve just hired a qualified candidate — someone you think is perfect for the job. Now, you’re tasked with training that person, showing them the ropes, and introducing them to their new role at the company. That can happen at the orientation. Orientation is the first step in the onboarding process.

Often, a new employee’s first day on the job tells them all they need to know about whether they will enjoy working there. Data shows that 63.3% of companies say keeping employees is more difficult than hiring them. In the long run, it’s much cheaper to retain employees than constantly hire new ones. Therefore, it serves you better to foster a workplace culture that makes people want to stay.

Orientation is your chance to get new hires excited and motivated about their new role. Here’s how to organize your orientation checklist to make sure your first impression is a good one.

New Hire Orientation Checklist

Orientation is the first event of the onboarding process — one that every new hire unequivocally should undergo. As the word suggests, an employee orientation is meant to orient or give direction to new team members. This means taking care of housekeeping items like paperwork and acquainting them with their coworkers, workspace, and duties. Every company should have a comprehensive orientation program that provides new hires with the resources to start off on the right foot. It is a chance to welcome new employees and give guidance for their first few days at the company.

An orientation program should:

  1. Introduce new employees to a company’s mission, vision, and culture
  2. Explain company hierarchy or organization, as well as where the new hire fits in
  3. Review company policies and expectations
  4. Follow up with the new employee to answer questions or provide guidance

What Makes a Successful Orientation?

We’ve all sat through less-than-thrilling orientations — ones that drag on, overwhelm the participant with information, and possibly even make them question whether they made the right decision to join an organization. Here are some tips on what makes an effective orientation versus a bland one.

1.Engaging and efficient

A successful orientation takes care of housekeeping items while also maintaining an inviting and conversational attitude. Everyone wants to feel appreciated at work, and being too bureaucratic from the get-go can be off-putting. An engaging orientation involves elements of playfulness while checking off items on the new employee to-do list.

2. Informational, but not overwhelming

It’s important not to overwhelm new hires with information they don’t need to know all at once. Remember that an orientation should ease a new hire into the role, not push them into it head-first. For example, introducing a new employee to 50 different people on the first day might be a mistake. Chances are, the new hire will forget most of the names they learn anyways. Instead, stick to the basics and focus on communicating only what the employee needs to know for their first week. The rest can come later.

3. Clarifying

An effective employee orientation doesn’t leave any questions unanswered. After orientation, the new employee shouldn’t encounter any surprises. They should have a clear understanding of their pay, how payroll works, their benefits, and what supervisors expect of them. Ensure that whoever is conducting the orientation understands the position the new hiree is stepping into and is prepared to answer questions about who they report to, how they first into the larger organization, and what their objectives are for the first week. Other common questions you can expect during orientation include:

  • How should they reach people?
  • Will their performance be regularly reviewed, and if so, when and how?
  • Will there be formal training for their position?

4. Welcoming

Last but not least, an employee orientation should give the new hire a feel for the company. It should be, above all, welcoming and make them feel appreciated and comfortable in their new environment.

Training a New Employee Checklist

When someone new joins your team, there’s a lot they’ll need to know. It’s your job to get them up to speed. The process for training new employees juggles a lot of different items. Below, we’ve included a training checklist and timeline designed to help you ensure nothing is overlooked. While this new employee training plan template is not all-inclusive, it will help you establish a baseline of knowledge that all new employees should have.

Before the First Day

Two weeks to one month prior:

  • Compile job contract with salary information, the number of hours worked per pay period, and benefits. Confirm with the candidate’s supervisor that the information is correct.
  • Call the candidate to offer them the position. Communicate any proposed changes to the offer with their supervisor manager and follow up with the candidate.
  • Email the offer letter to the candidate for them to sign and return.
  • Collect personal information from the new employee, including:
    • Full legal name
    • Preferred name and pronouns
    • ID number
    • Mailing address
    • Personal email address
    • Cell phone number
    • Emergency contact
  • Enroll them in company payroll systems to ensure they will receive their paychecks on time. If applicable, collect their bank account information and set up direct deposit.
  • Send the employee legal forms such as:
  • Verify that the new hire has completed all prior steps and any additional ones, such as passing a drug test or background check, if applicable.

One week prior:

  • Send the new hire a welcome packet, including a welcome letter and any other helpful information.
    • In the welcome letter, express that you are excited for them to join the company. Notify them of any scheduled orientations, events, or training during or before their first week of employment. Confirm their start date and time. Also, inform them of any information they will need to know about arriving at the office, such as the building address, security codes, and parking instructions. Inform them of any items they will need to bring on their first day, such as a personal computer, equipment, or forms. Be sure to let them know how to contact you if they have questions.
  • Notify relevant departments and individuals of the new hire’s arrival.
    • Be sure to communicate with parking attendants, security guards, and other office building personnel when your new hire will be starting. Arrange for the employee to receive a set of keys and a parking pass. Be sure they are aware of any building codes needed for entry.
  • Set up the new employee’s workstation, including their phone line and computer. Ensure they have access to company programs, files, software, etc.
  • If applicable, prepare their name badge, office sign, or business card.

The First Day

  • Send a company-wide welcome letter to employee email addresses and any other communication platforms.
  • Give the employee a tour of the office. Show them where their supervisors and coworkers work as well as where to find the break room, kitchen, conference room, restrooms, etc.
  • Introduce them to the rest of the department and show them to their desk.
  • Schedule a meeting with their supervisor to go over job expectations and tasks for their first week.
  • Prepare a reference sheet that includes a company directory, login credentials, emergency phone lines, and any other information that may come in handy.

The First Week

  • Schedule a formal orientation. This is the initial training session when you will go over items such as:
    • Company handbook
    • Company’s history, structure, and vision
    • Company policies
    • Labor laws
    • How to clock in/out of work, when to take breaks
  • Schedule a series of basic trainings. At the minimum, these should include:
    • Cybersecurity
    • General safety
    • Sexual harassment
  • Schedule trainings related to job duties. This might include items such as:
    • Hardware or software instructions
    • Step-by-step instructions for specific tasks
    • Customer service

Periodically

  • Onboarding is an ongoing process. Be sure to check in with the employee periodically to make sure they feel comfortable with their job and get along with their coworkers and supervisors. Let them know of any upcoming events or scheduled performance reviews.
Martha Pierson, author at OpenLoans
Editor-in-Chief
Martha provides financial and business management analysis for retailers and service providers.