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New Hire Orientation: A Checklist | Fairygodboss
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The 7 Steps to a Successful New Hire Orientation
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AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger
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Congratulations on finding and hiring a new employee! The hunt for talent can be a difficult one but, the long and arduous process is over. Once you find and score that employee you've been hoping to find, it can be a massive weight off your shoulders. 

For a little while at least. 

It's not quite back to business as usual just yet. Now you have to onboard said employee! Making sure that they're ready for the job at hand, their paperwork is all complete and filed, and they're trained well can take even more time and effort. Add to that the fact that, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, between 16 and 17% of new hires leave their positions between the first week and the third month of starting their job, and you've got quite a lot of work ahead of you.

Being proactive about the onboarding process will help you to avoid legal risks by ensuring that you sign and file what you need to, focus on your new hire's comfort settling into their new role and create a friendly environment for them.

This new-hire checklist should help you to onboard new employees with ease — and, ideally, the smoother the transition, the more compelled the new hire will be to stick around. Here's everything you should do when hiring a new employee. 

1. Sign the employee contact.

First things first, have the employee sign the contract. You will need to sign it as well. A typical employee contract will include the following factors:

  • Employee name
  • Employee signature
  • Company name
  • Employer signature
  • Date of signatures
  • Start date of work
  • Duration of employment
  • Job title
  • Schedule
  • Salary or pay information
  • Benefits package information
  • List of duties, responsibilities and expectations
  • Terms and conditions
  • Termination conditions

This is absolutely crucial to do before you do anything else. You don't want to waste any of your time (or the new hire's time) going through the onboarding process without a signed agreement that they're going to work for you. After all, if they decide that they don't agree with the terms or conditions, they might change their mind about taking the job. So sort that all out before any complications could arise.

2. Go over employee benefits.

You'll also want to have a separate package or booklet detailing the benefits in the benefits package. This is where employees can turn to find more information on the benefits that you'll be offering them. It may be wise to have this package signed, as well, so that expectations are clear — and there is documentation of that. You don't want any confusion surrounding what is and what is not covered.

Benefits may include items like...

  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Commute reimbursement
  • Student loan reimbursement
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Daycare coverage
  • IVF benefits
  • Fitness center plan
  • Other wellness benefits
  • Mobile plan
  • Company car plan
  • Stock option forms
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation time

3. File all legal paperwork.

Legal paperwork will differ from state to state, so it's important that you stay on top of what's required of you in your state. That said, most legal paperwork includes the following...

  • W-4 or W-9
  • E-Verify system
  • I-9 Employment eligibility verification form
  • State tax withholding form
  • Direct deposit form (ACH form)
  • Anti-harassment documentation

Be sure to get all of it signed and filed straight away in order to avoid any legal complications. After all, you want to make sure that your employee is able to be paid right away. If they're not, it could end up with an ugly court case — and no one wants that.

4. File any company agreements.

On top of legal documents, you'll want to get any other paperwork required to work at your company signed and filed. These might include documents like the following...

  • Employee handbook signature page
  • Non-compete agreement form
  • Non-disclosure agreement form
  • Confidentially and security agreement form
  • Drug/alcohol test consent agreement
  • Overtime policy form
  • Safety policy form
  • Emergency procedures form
  • Personal conduct code form
  • Visitors policy
  • Disciplinary actions policy

You might not have any of these documents to share, and that's OK. You also might not require that all of these are signed, and that's also OK. These documents are entirely up to the company. But they are smart to have so that all expectations are clearly documented.

5. Collect personal information.

While you might already have personal information on file, it's important to double check with your new hire in order to be prepared in case of an emergency. You might want to collect the following information...

  • Emergency contacts
  • Allergies and food preferences

6. Schedule an orientation.

Now, once your new hire starts working for you, you'll want to schedule an orientation day for them! This should probably be the first day that the get there. During the orientation, you'll want to have a meeting with them and any other new hires to go over the following few topics:

You can also address normal procedures in the office during the orientation. This might include the following...

  • Show new hires where the restrooms are located.
  • Show new hires where the mailroom is located. 
  • Show new hires where the printer and copy center is located.
  • Show new hires where the supplies are located.
  • Show new hires where the parking is located.
  • Show new hires where the kitchen/cafeteria/coffee/etc. is located.
  • Show new hires where the emergency exits are located. (You should also have emergency drills so they know just what to do!)

7. Host a meet-and-greet lunch.

Once the paperwork and the orientation are out of the way, it's time to make your new hire feel comfortable! Introduce them to their team, connect them with others in the office and give them some time to chat and catch up with their new colleagues. You can do this over a lunch or coffee meeting that you schedule within the first few days of them starting. Give them some time to settle in, and then start making them feel comfortable. After all, a lot of the reason why people stick around in jobs is because they love the atmosphere and the people with whom they work (and a lot of the reason why people leave is because they don't get along with their coworkers!). 

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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