The Ultimate Employee Onboarding Checklist for High Growth Startups

The Ultimate Employee Onboarding Checklist for High Growth Startups

It’s exciting to hire new employees as your company scales. You’ve done extensive research, interviewed thoroughly, found the best candidates, and are excited for your new hires to leverage their expertise to grow your company.

Most startups (and even established companies) fail to onboard new hires optimally. Poor onboarding can lead to employee churn. The cost of replacing an average employee costs anywhere from $3K-$18K annually! The cost of poor onboarding is not only high monetarily but can have long-term implications on your company’s roadmap, culture, and future hires.

A strong onboarding process can drive up new hire retention by 50% and show boosts in new hire productivity by over 60%.

So what does a strong onboarding process look like?

The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist

The following is best communicated with a new hire 2-4 weeks leading up to their start date so that they can hit the ground running on day 1.

#1 Vision and goals

  • Goal: Provide clarity on the role and how it fits into the company’s vision and goals
  • Company and product(s) overview
  • Company targets (by quarter/year)
  • Role overview

#2 How you operate

  • Goal: Provide a guide to how the new hire should operate day-to-day
  • Company values and guiding principles
  • Company norms (e.g. collaboration, meeting guidelines, giving updates, etc.)
  • Perks and swag (e.g. subsidized meals, free shuttle rides to office, etc.)

#3 Access to tools

  • Goal: Provide adequate and timely access to software and physical tools the new hire needs to execute her job
  • Software & Systems
  • Core product(s)
  • Collaboration and communication (e.g. Slack, G-suite, Zoom, etc.)
  • Company wiki (e.g. Confluence, Notion, etc.)
  • Security (e.g. 1Password, Google 2FA, Okta, etc.)
  • Payroll and HR (e.g. Gusto, Rippling, BambooHR, etc.)
  • Productivity hacks (e.g. useful extensions, email optimizations, etc.)
  • Physical setup (e.g. laptops, mobile devices, monitor, WFH setup, etc.)
  • Department specific software (e.g. for an engineer, this would include Github, Jira, etc.)

#4 Access to Resources

  • Goal: Provide relevant context and history on the new hire's scope of work
  • Reading material that’s relevant
  • Learnings/context on work done before

#5 Access to People

  • Goal: Introduce new hire with key people your new hire will interact with
  • Introduction to relevant team members, supervisor(s), and external contacts

#6 Expectations setting

  • Goal: Mutually agree on short-term goals for success
  • Mutually agreed upon 30, 60, and 90 day plans with targets
  • Recurring and frequent 1on1s with supervisor to connect on progress

#7 Social inclusion

  • Goal: Provide a sense of inclusion into the team and community
  • Onboarding buddy assigned
  • Introductory meeting / new hire announcement to the company
  • 1on1s with each / relevant team members (depending on the size of your company)
  • Access to social channels and events in the company
  • Updates to the company website and social channels with new team addition

The time taken to onboard a new hire varies by the role and the startup and can take anywhere from a couple of days to weeks. At AbstractOps, we follow a 2-3 week onboarding process following this checklist. We’ve found that giving at minimum access to company wide tools and reading material before day 1 helps in make for a seamless onboarding experience.

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