The Creative Manager's New Hire Checklist


Nothing flusters new employees more than walking in on the first day to find that no one prepared for their arrival. This new hire checklist will help make your employees’ early days on the job less stressful and more productive.

A few years ago, I hired two employees in one month and needed them to ramp up quickly. To help them hit the ground running, I logged on to their computers with their temporary passwords and spent time bookmarking websites they'd be contributing to, connecting them to nearby printers and creating server shortcuts. While I knew this would be beneficial, I wasn't prepared for the gratitude my employees showed by adding these tasks to my new hire checklist.

Sadly, their surprised reactions reinforced the fact that, after spending countless hours recruiting the best of the best, many managers neglect to prepare for the new employees’ arrival. But studies have shown that conducting a thorough onboarding process designed to both empower employees and put them at ease makes a positive and lasting impression on new workers. And, with the right onboarding process, new employees can begin to make positive contributions more quickly.

Following is a creative manager's new hire checklist that will help your new employees feel connected to your organization, build relationships with coworkers, and understand how they fit in with your company's mission and values.

New Hire Checklist: Before They Start

As soon as you know a new employee's start date, fill out any paperwork necessary to ensure they will have access to the equipment, supplies and information they need on the first day. Your new hire checklist should include the following tasks:

  • Obtain logins and passwords for computers, voice mail and other office equipment
  • Set up the employee's computer and install necessary software and non-system fonts
  • Connect the computer to printers and servers
  • Bookmark websites they'll need to access frequently
  • Clean and stock the workspace with basic supplies
  • Order a name plate, if applicable, or create a welcome sign
  • Cover details about building access, including information about door codes and office badges

It's also nice to send new hires an email a day or two before they start letting them know you're happy they're joining the team ­– especially if you weren't the person who extended the job offer. And let them know you plan to take them to lunch the first day so they won't wonder whether they need to brown bag it or not.

New Hire Checklist: The First Day

On the first day, the new employee should feel like they're your top priority. Plan to meet them at the door and escort them to their workstation. Ask if they need a few minutes to get settled, and then give a tour of the building, including the restroom and lunchroom. Next, briefly introduce them to their immediate team.

If your company doesn't have a formal orientation process, the first day is a good time to give an overview of the following information:

  • Paperwork to complete if they haven't filled out forms in advance
  • Benefits
  • Your company's mission statement, values, goals and current priorities
  • An overview of your industry and where your business fits into the overall picture (Who's your chief competition?)
  • Size and general structure of the company (if available, provide an org chart or show them how to access it on your intranet)

As mentioned, take your new hire to lunch the first day. Use this opportunity to relax and get to know each other a little better now that the stressful interview process is over. As you're heading back to the office, fill them in on the agenda for the afternoon.

Last but not least, let them know what time you expect them to arrive and leave the first week.

New Hire Checklist: The First Week

Even if you're a hands-off manager, you'll need to be hands-on the first week. You may also consider pairing up your new hire with a peer who can serve as their buddy, or designate each person on a small team as their go-to for different types of questions. To facilitate team-building, consider scheduling a group outing on the second day.

You should also set up a series of meetings for the first week that cover:

  • Job scope and how performance will be evaluated
  • The first projects to start on
  • Process for assigning and routing work
  • Your management style
  • Ordering business cards or additional supplies

In addition, schedule brief meetings to introduce your new hire to key contacts and clients inside and outside of your department. That way, the person feels comfortable reaching out on their own when they begin working on projects.

New Hire Checklist: The Long Haul

Even if you're strapped for time and eager for your new employee to get down to business, don't make the mistake of treating onboarding as a one-day event. Instead, create a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan that becomes progressively less detailed.

Don't wait until the first official performance review to ask for feedback and address concerns. In fact, check in with your new hire several times a day the first week, then daily, then weekly. These meeting are not only helpful for making sure your new hire understands your expectations and has the right resources, but also for soliciting feedback about the onboarding process so you can provide the best experience for future hires. (What was missing? What could you skip?) This also gives you an opportunity to determine whether your new hire needs additional training or would benefit from being paired with a mentor.

Remember, just because you hired someone with the right creative skills doesn't mean they understand your company’s culture and processes. You owe it to a new hire to make sure they have the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed. You can ease first-day jitters and get off on the right foot by adapting this new hire checklist for your team.

Looking for more hiring and management advice? Check out TCG executive director Diane Domeyer's post on how to build the best creative team now!

Tags: Management