Twice in the last month I have spoken to candidates interested in one of my searches simply because they had not heard from the company that recently hired them and seemed up in the air as to when they were going to start.

It is unusual to find three cases of poor onboarding in such a short time frame, but with limited resources, onboarding can sometimes take a back seat to company profit.

Onboarding is the mechanism that allows employees to acquire the knowledge, connections and behaviors to transform from outsiders to insiders. It is a critical time for both the employee and the organization, as it sets the stage for success in the long run. Onboarding can include activities like an initial new-hire orientation, allowing employees to learn about the organization and its structure, culture, vision, and values but there is more you can do.

Here are some tips:

Communicate Regularly

Establish a pattern of communication that shows you’re looking forward to having your new hire on board— before they start. A welcome package with detailed company info accompanied by a warm note that contains what an employee can expect is recommended.

Crucial First Week

The first week is likely the most stressful time an employee will ever experience at your company. When a new employee first arrives, they do not know the lay of the land. They will be uncertain about where to go, what time to be there, where they can find food or a bank branch, etc. We recommend preparing a FAQ sheet, a plan for a new employee’s first week and a checklist.

First and Foremost, Welcome Your New Staff Member

Be enthusiastic and positive from the minute your new hire walks in the door. A tour of the facility and introductions to co-workers will help get you started. We recommend scheduling a team get-together to acquaint new hires with others on the team. Many companies provide a checklist for the first week that allows a new employee to keep pace, accomplish new tasks, and stay organized.

Why an Onboarding Checklist is Important

Starting a new job can generate feelings of uncertainty, stress, or anxiety. Remember your first day at college or your first day on your last job? The same feelings of uncertainty arise for everyone.

An onboarding checklist provides a structured schedule that helps your new hire gain confidence about their new role and environment. It’s your company’s chance to make a great first impression. It also shows your company is an efficient, organized, and caring place to work.

A detailed employee onboarding checklist can contribute mightily to successful employee retention and engagement and reduce the anxiety of starting a new job with a new company.

Provide a Mentor

Mentorship is a great way for new hires to get support and guidance from experienced employees. Mentors can help new employees learn the ropes and solve problems quickly and efficiently. If you do not have a mentorship component in your onboarding, perhaps this is a good time to add it.