The Office Admin’s Checklist for Successful Onboarding

No matter how directly involved you are in the onboarding process, you may be in a position to improve it. Use this checklist to help new hires start strong.

The way that new employees are integrated into a workplace sets the tone for their time at a company. Yet as important as this process is, nearly one-third of your peers said it is either inconsistent or non-existent at their companies, a recent Staples InsidersNetwork poll found.

You may not be directly responsible for onboarding, but as taskmaster-in-chief, you can likely influence the process. Use this checklist to identify important changes to your company’s approach. Modify this list as needed, and share it with others involved in onboarding.

  • Send required forms. Aim to email new hires workplace policies, tax-related documents and other important information about a week before their start date. Encourage them to review the information and, if possible, sign and return needed forms to save time. When you get in touch, let employees know what time they should arrive, where they should go and who they should see on day one.
  • Gather workstation essentials. Take stock of the office supplies and work fixtures new hires may need. You might check in with them before they start — for instance, do they use a headset for making phone calls? Do they need an ergonomic chair or mouse? Making arrangements in advance will help them get off to a smooth start.
  • Do a tech check. Be sure the new hire’s computer, login access and email account are ready to go. If there is software or systems they will need to be trained on, try to schedule it for as close to their start date as possible. Check that a phone extension has been assigned, and prepare instructions for setting up and accessing voicemail. If the employee will need an access badge, make sure that is ready as well.
  • Make a first-day plan. Check that your colleagues who will work directly with the new employee are prepared for his or her arrival. Find out who will meet with him or her and when, and arrange schedules and book meeting space accordingly. Determine who will show the new hire around the workplace — or if that task will fall to you.
  • Arrange a meet-and-greet. If time allows, arrange a team lunch or an informal welcome event for the new hire’s first day. This serves two purposes: It gives the whole team a heads-up about the arrival, and it lets the new hire know they are a valued addition. A team gathering is also a good way to introduce the new employee to the company culture.
  • Review the basics. Make time to discuss nuts-and-bolts items like time tracking, parking and any policies or rules that weren’t sent beforehand. Explain safety procedures, or be sure another staff member covers them. Even in an office setting with few obvious hazards, pointing out first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and emergency exits is good practice.
  • Check in. Make a point of checking in with new employees a week or two after they’ve started. Ask how they're adjusting and if there is anything you can do to make that process easier. Reassure them that they can come to you with any questions or requests.

Remember that onboarding is not a one-day or even a one-week process. Be prepared to answer questions that come up as new hires are getting their bearings. Remember, too, that onboarding is a team effort. The more closely in sync the team is throughout the process, the more effective it will be.