The Onboarding Checklist Every Company Needs
Onboarding new employees is a crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s that specific moment when new hires are integrated into the organization’s culture, processes and values. And there’s a lot to learn and absorb in such a short amount of time. But aside from the learning process, the employee experience in and of itself is key.
Research suggests that 51% of non-management frontline workers feel undervalued as employees. Which is why providing proper onboarding and enhancing learnings are a few ways to instantly make them feel more valued. It’s especially true for companies that have frontline workers who are generally deskless and geographically dispersed.
That’s where an onboarding checklist comes in the internal communication strategy to ensure a rapid and successful onboarding process.
Best Practices for Onboarding Frontline Workers
We’ve gathered learnings and best practices from other internal communicators with extensive onboarding experience. Consistency and organization is key, which is why an onboarding checklist can come in handy.
This checklist should provide all the necessary information that a new frontline worker needs to know. However, keep in mind that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all onboarding checklist, and it may need to be adapted depending on the role, organization or industry.
While a company handbook may cover many of the practical points, it's important to ensure that the information in the handbook is up-to-date and relevant to the new frontline employee. Onboarding is not only about providing information, but it's also about making the newcomer feel welcome and a part of the team. And with an effective onboarding process, an organization can improve employee retention, engagement, and productivity.
Your onboarding checklist can be split into three stages: pre-boarding, onboarding and continued boarding.Pre-boarding
- Invite the frontline employee to pre-planned team outings or company events taking place before the start of their first day, or at least in the first few weeks.
- Share any details of relevant working processes.
- Give access to the internal social network.
- Introduce the new frontline employee on the internal social network, with a welcome message for example.
- Provide a contact person or go-to-peer for questions.
- Give precise instructions for the first working day: where they need to be, at what time, and who they will be meeting.
Onboarding employees is a critical part of the integration process, and it involves various levels, including social, operational, and strategic.
Social onboarding involves facilitating effective communication and building positive relationships between new hires and their colleagues. This level of onboarding aims to make the new frontline employee feel welcome and comfortable in their new work environment.
In terms of communication on the work floor, your onboarding checklist could include:
- Language use amongst colleagues. Explain the company's policies on appropriate language and behavior in the workplace. Provide examples of what is considered appropriate and inappropriate, and emphasize the importance of respect and professionalism when communicating with colleagues.
- Use of the public address system. Train new employees on how to use the public address system effectively, including how to make announcements clearly and concisely, and how to use the appropriate tone and volume.
- Correct working attitude. Set expectations for the correct working attitude by discussing the company's values and culture. Emphasize the importance of being punctual, reliable, and committed to the job.
- What to do during quieter periods. Train new employees on what to do during quieter periods, such as organizing workspaces, restocking supplies, or completing training modules.
- Use of mobile phones. Outline the company's policies on the use of mobile phones in the workplace, including when it is appropriate to use them and when it is not.
- Operation of company telephones. Train new employees on how to operate company telephones, including how to transfer calls, place callers on hold, and take messages.
- Dealing with difficult customers. Provide guidance on how to handle difficult customers, including how to remain calm and professional, how to listen actively, and how to resolve complaints effectively.
- Responsibilities of different functions and teams. Explain the different functions and teams within the organization, and provide an overview of their respective responsibilities. This can help new employees understand how their role fits into the broader organizational structure.
In terms of internal social network, the onboarding checklist could include:
- Operation of the internal social network. Give new employees a walkthrough of the company's internal social network platform, including how to navigate the platform, set up a profile, and access different features.
- What to share and avoid sharing. Set guidelines for what is appropriate to share on the internal social network and what is not. This can include sensitive information, confidential data, or anything that might reflect poorly on the company.
- Suggestions for fun or useful posts. Encourage new employees to participate in the company's internal social network by offering suggestions for fun or useful posts. For example, they could share updates on their work, interesting articles, or pictures of company events.
- How to leave feedback. Teach new employees how to leave feedback on the company's internal social network, including how to provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.
By providing a comprehensive onboarding checklist and ensuring that the information provided is relevant and up-to-date, organizations can ensure that the onboarding process is effective, leading to a successful integration of the new employee into the company culture.
Finally, include a continued boarding process:
- Set clear expectations. Continually reinforce the expectations of the job, including performance goals and KPIs, and provide feedback on progress towards those goals.
- Offer performance reviews. Schedule regular performance reviews to assess progress and identify any areas where additional training or support may be needed.
- Encourage communication. Establish an open-door policy to encourage frontline employees to communicate with managers or supervisors about any issues they encounter on the job.