Your Checklist for Successful Employee Onboarding

May 02, 2017

your checklist for successful employee onboarding.png

The employee onboarding process is one of the most critical time periods for an employer. Why? Because the first few days in a new position are when workers typically have the highest level of enthusiasm for their jobs.  Of course, the goal is to maintain this high level of engagement as long as possible.   

According to a recent report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services titled, “The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance,” 71 percent of respondents ranked employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success. Therefore, how employers handle the first few days, weeks and months of a new hire’s time is crucial. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for companies to get onboarding right the first time to help avoid the costly and emotionally taxing process of losing and replacing a new hire.

Do: Have a company-wide plan in place

An organization should have a strategic employee onboarding process in place before new hires begin their first day. Having a process that is consistently experienced by all new employees helps make sure that the same onboarding messages are delivered to all workers at every level.

In addition, each new employee should have separate onboarding goals tailored to his or her specific role within the company. Individual plans should include training timelines, along with a detailed description of the worker’s roles and responsibilities, so the new hire has a clear understanding of what is expected and what lies ahead.

Managers should consistently monitor the onboarding progress of their new employees by checking in periodically to identify problem areas and seeing that new employees are learning, adjusting and achieving their assigned tasks. The occasional check-ins with the boss also demonstrate a continued commitment by the employer to the new staff.

Do: Provide the right tools

From day one, new hires should have a workstation fully equipped with the tools they will need to succeed at the job. This should include everything from basic office supplies and a computer to a building/floor plan map and access to the employee handbook. These items play a critical role in helping new workers get acclimated to their new surroundings. Having a fully prepared workstation for new employees also demonstrates the company is organized and excited about their arrival. Nothing can be more disheartening for recent hires than the feeling that their new employer had forgotten their start date or did not think to prepare for it.

Do: Share company history and make key introductions

Highlight the company’s history, mission and values during the onboarding process. This will provide the new hire with a better understanding of the company and its goals. New employees should be given copies of company org charts. They should also receive introductions to internal stakeholders and explanations of departmental roles. This will help new staff understand the inner workings of the organization and see where they fit into the bigger picture. When coworkers are involved in the onboarding process, new hires are better able to develop the relationships needed to work toward common goals.

Finally, employers should make a genuine effort to help new workers understand the company’s culture. Describing values, guiding principles, and beliefs that drive the organization will give new staff an idea of the collective personality of the business. It can also guide recent arrivals as to how they can utilize their strengths and add value to the company.

Common pitfalls to avoid when onboarding new staff include:

Don’t: Avoid assigning real work to new hires right away

Engaging new hires is paramount. Give new employees real work to complete right away and have them start interacting with the necessary team members throughout the organization. Engaged employees are happy employees who will go the extra mile to get the job done.  For example, avoid dropping all the paperwork required during the onboarding process on a new employee’s desk and leaving him or her to figure it out alone. Instead, walk the new hire through each step of the process. It will go a long way toward maintaining enthusiasm for the new job.

Don’t: Forget to set clear expectations

If clear expectations are not set early in a new employee’s tenure, the entire organization runs the risk of facing a large margin for error. Clear expectations are a pathway to solid results.  Let new hires know what is expected of them, and how they should document their efforts.

Establishing a positive and engaging onboarding program can help place a company on a path for success. It can create an environment where new employees feel welcome and happy to come to work. An effective onboarding program can also build loyalty and help make sure that top performers remain with the company for many years to come.

Eric Bonugli is a District Manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.

Executive Summary Newsletter Subscription

Topics: Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit

Read more articles from Kay Oder

Guide to Business Borrowing

Learn what banks are looking for when they prepare to make loans. Our guide covers what business owners need to know when they prepare to borrow.


Download eBook