The Ultimate Employee Onboarding Checklist:

13 Questions for SaaS Executives

You've likely spent countless resources mapping and streamlining your new employee onboarding process. But you can always improve even the most well-oiled machine.

Regularly evaluating your process can ensure that every employee has the best possible experience — and that your organization is reaping all the benefits of a solid onboarding program.

We've created a checklist of questions you should ask at each stage of the employee onboarding process: pre-boarding, orientation, assimilation, and ongoing integration.

Analyzing your process through this lens will help you identify any areas that need improvement and optimize your onboarding program for success.

1. Information: Do We Provide New Hires With All the Information They Need Before Their First Day?

This question includes everything from practical details — like where to go and what to wear — to more general information about the company, team, and role.

For example, sending new hires a welcome packet that outlines the company's history, core values, and what to expect on their first day is a great way to set the stage for a smooth transition.

A great way to ensure that you're providing new hires with all the necessary information is to create a pre-boarding checklist. This way, you can ensure that each new team member has everything they need before Day One.

A pre-boarding checklist might look something like this:

  • Company overview
  • Team structure and personal information
  • Role overview and expectations
  • Logistical details (e.g., travel, accommodation, and parking)
  • Etiquette and company culture

Sit down with your HR team and brainstorm everything a new hire needs to know before their first day. Then, put it all in a central location — like a Google Doc or intranet page — that new hires can access as they prepare for their start date.

2. Introductions: Do We Introduce New Hires to Their Team Before Their First Day?

Pre-boarding is the perfect time to build relationships with new hires' future colleagues. If possible, connect new hires with their team before their first day so they can start getting to know each other.

Being a new person can be daunting, so easing the transition by introducing them to their team before their first day will help them feel more comfortable and confident.

For instance, you might want to set up a team lunch or coffee date for the week before a new hire's start date. Or, if your team is remote, you could have everyone introduce themselves via email or video call.

Of course, this isn't always possible — but if it is, it's a great way to start building relationships and setting new hires up for success.

3. Expectations: Do We Set Clear Expectations for What Will Happen During the Onboarding Process?

It's essential to set clear expectations for new hires, so they know what to expect during the onboarding process. This way, they can mentally prepare themselves and have realistic expectations for the days and weeks ahead.

Some things you might want to cover:

  • The onboarding schedule
  • What they should bring with them on their first day
  • Who they will be meeting with and when
  • What they should expect to learn during onboarding

Setting clear expectations can help new hires feel more prepared and confident as they start their journey with your company.

4. First Impressions: Do We Make a Good Impression on New Hires When They Accept Our Offer?

First impressions matter — and that's true for new employee onboarding, too. When a new hire accepts your offer, you should be working to ensure they have a positive onboarding experience.

That means sending a welcome email (or even a welcome package) as soon as they accept, keeping in touch leading up to their start date, and sending a reminder email the day before they start.

Creating a warm and welcoming environment on their first day is also essential. This might include having a team member meet them at the door, giving them a tour of the office, and taking them out to lunch.

5. Purpose: Do New Hires Feel Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves?

Surveys reveal that 7 out of 10 employees define their purpose by work. Still, only 18% of respondents think their current job is purposeful.

Connecting new hires to your company's purpose is key to keeping them engaged and motivated in their work. During the onboarding process, take some time to explain how their new role contributes to the company's larger mission.

You might also want to share stories of how your company is making a difference. 

You can use stories about how your products have helped customers or tales of employees going above and beyond the call of duty.

By helping new hires see the bigger picture, you can inspire them to do their best work and feel proud to be part of your company.

6. Feedback: Do We Give New Hires Regular Feedback on Their Performance?

Giving feedback is an integral part of the onboarding process. It helps new hires understand how they're doing and shows them that you're invested in their success.

You should give and collect feedback early and often during the new employee onboarding process. This way, new hires can course correct if they're veering off track and feel supported as they learn the ropes.

Some questions to ask about feedback include:

  • Do we have a system in place for collecting employee feedback?
  • Do we give feedback regularly?
  • Do we provide specific, actionable feedback?
  • Do we give both positive and negative feedback?

By giving regular feedback, you can help new hires feel like they're a part of the team and improve their performance simultaneously.

7. Development: Do We Provide New Hires With Growth Opportunities?

80% of employees consider growth and development vital for staying engaged at work.

Discuss your company's development opportunities with new hires during the onboarding process. This could include anything from job shadowing to mentorship programs.

You might also want to share your company's development philosophy and discuss how new hires can take charge of their growth.

Some questions to ask about development include:

  • Do we have a system in place for growth?
  • Do we provide opportunities for job shadowing?
  • Do we offer mentorship programs?
  • Do we provide opportunities for formal employee training?

The answer to these questions might differ depending on the size and resources of your company. However, it's essential to provide development opportunities for new hires during the onboarding process.

This could be simple: giving them a list of books to read or providing access to online courses. 

By showing new hires that you care about their development, you can keep them engaged and motivated in their work.

8. Culture: Do We Help New Hires Understand and Buy Into Our Company Culture?

Culture is the set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that define a company. It makes your company unique and sets it apart from other businesses.

That's why it's vital to help new hires understand and buy into your company culture during the onboarding process.

Some questions to ask about company culture include:

  • Do we have a written set of values?
  • Do we live our values?
  • Do we help new hires understand our values?
  • Do we provide opportunities for socializing?

Answering these questions can help you assess how well you're doing when onboarding new hires into your company culture.

If you find that you're not doing as well as you could be, consider making some changes to your onboarding process.

For example, you might want to create a more comprehensive guide to your company culture or host social events specifically for new hires.

You can improve engagement and employee retention rates by helping new hires understand and buy into your company culture.

9. Resources: Do We Provide New Hires With the Resources Required To Succeed?

One of the essential parts of the new hire onboarding process is providing new hires with the resources they need to succeed.

That could include anything from job-specific training materials to a list of helpful contacts.

10. Communications: Do We Have a System for Communicating Important Information to New Hires?

Centralized communication is more critical than ever in the onboarding process.

Make sure you have a system for distributing important information to new hires through an intranet system, weekly memos, or regular check-ins.

For example, you might want to consider using an intranet system to post job descriptions, company policies, and other mission-critical paperwork.

You can also use an intranet to host virtual orientations or training sessions.

Alternatively, you might opt for weekly memos to update new hires on company news and developments.

Finally, regular check-ins with new hires can help them settle into their roles and adjust to company culture.

11. Fun: Do We Make the Onboarding Process Fun and Enjoyable for New Hires?

While a successful onboarding process should be informative, that doesn't mean it can't be fun.

Ensure you incorporate fun elements into the onboarding process to help new hires enjoy their experience.

Some ways to do this include organizing social events, hosting fun activities, and offering perks and benefits.

For example, you might consider hosting a welcome party for new hires or organizing group outings.

You can also make the onboarding process more enjoyable by offering perks and benefits, such as free lunch or access to a gym.

Some other ideas include:

  • Organizing a scavenger hunt
  • Having a themed welcome party
  • Giving out swag bags
  • Gamifying the onboarding process
  • Studying companies in alternative industries and adapting their best practices. 

Sometimes, it takes a little outside-the-box thinking to take your onboarding process from good to great. Making the onboarding process fun and enjoyable can help new hires feel more welcome and engaged.

12. Evaluation: Do We Evaluate the Onboarding Process Regularly?

It's important to regularly evaluate the onboarding process to ensure that it meets new hires' needs.

Some questions you might want to ask include:

  • Do new hires feel prepared for their roles?
  • Do they feel welcomed by their colleagues?
  • Do they feel like they have the resources they need to be successful?
  • Do they understand our company culture?

Surveys, interviews, and focus groups are great ways to collect feedback from new hires. Ensure you're constantly evaluating the onboarding process and making necessary changes.

13. Personalization: Do We Have an Onboarding Plan for Each Type of Employee?

Different employees will have different needs when it comes to onboarding.

For example, a salesperson will need to be trained on your products and services, while an engineer will need to be trained on your company's systems and processes.

Tailoring the onboarding process to each type of employee will ensure everyone gets the individualized attention they need to succeed.

Instead of having a one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding, consider creating different plans for different types of employees.

A Successful Onboarding Process Is Essential for Your Organization

Asking the right questions will ensure that your onboarding process is up to par and meets the needs of new and existing employees.

Hopefully, this guide has given you some food for thought and helped you create an effective employee onboarding for your business.

By optimizing your process, you can set your new hires up for success and ensure they have a positive onboarding experience at your company.

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