Ever been hired for a new job and felt that combination of nerves and excitement leading up to your first day? Then, you arrive on your first day of work, fill out a bunch of paperwork, someone shows you to your desk and introduces you to a couple of coworkers, and then…crickets. You’re sort of just left to fend for yourself.

It’s not a good feeling. And scenarios like this are a big reason one in every five employees will leave a job within the first 90 days. The good news is, there are some simple things you can do to combat the expense and hassle of employee turnover. The biggest one? Onboarding.

In fact, according to a recent graphic shared by O.C. Tanner, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years after a great onboarding experience.

While onboarding may differ slightly from employee to employee, and should, of course, be customized to suit each individual organization and role, there are certain fundamental components that are universal.

To make things easier, we’ve put together a handy checklist that you can use to get your new employees up to speed quickly and set them up for retention and ongoing success right from the start.

Before Day 1

This is called pre-boarding, and it’s a great way to really set the stage for a positive new employee experience. It’ll also save time and make the regular onboarding process go much smoother.

Before any new team member starts, do the following:

__ Gather and provide all necessary paperwork (W-4, insurance documents, direct deposit forms, etc.) to be completed in advance.

__ Ask your new employee to review the company handbook and sign any additional ancillary documents, such as a non-disclosure agreement.

__ Prepare a workstation.

__ Set up all necessary tools and equipment, including a computer/laptop, printer, access to required software, internal systems access, etc.

__ Create new company email address.

__ Provide helpful material to help the new employee become acquainted with your organization, such as an org chart, a detailed job description, company policies and procedures as well as information about your company mission, values and culture.

__ Provide details and logistics about the employee’s first day, such as how to dress, where to park, what time he or she should arrive and any particular items he or she should bring.

Day 1

On the day your new employee is scheduled to begin work, have the following tasks and documentation ready to go. This will make the transition faster and more efficient. It’ll also make a better first impression on your new team member.

__ Prepare the rest of the team for the new employee’s arrival so they’ll be ready to welcome him or her.

__ Set aside time on your team’s calendar for a welcome meeting (lunch is a nice touch).

__ Provide a tour of the office, including important areas, such as bathrooms, breakrooms and where to locate other colleagues should the new employee need support.

__ Schedule a 1:1 meeting with new hire’s direct manager to go over expectations, how the department and/or company is structured and answer any questions the new employee may have.

__ Assign a mentor and ask him or her to schedule time to meet with the new hire ASAP.

__ If your company does a probationary period, go over that plan in detail so the new employee is clear on what is expected of him or her and in what time frame.

Week 1

Day one is important, but here’s where many organizations get it wrong. Throwing someone to the wolves after just eight hours effectively sets them up for failure. To keep the momentum going and make the new hire experience a more successful one, use the first week of employment to do the following:

__ Set up any necessary training and get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.

__ Verify that all required paperwork has been completed.

__ Assign the first project to your new hire. This helps new employees to feel like they are part of the team and enables them to settle in and begin to become comfortable in their role.

__ Review employee performance and set specific goals for month one.

__ Ask for feedback, questions and concerns. Open the lines of communication right away.

Month 1

For the entire first month, the new employee should feel well-supported in every way. He or she should begin to get to know coworkers, become more familiar with the job duties and gain a clear and accurate understanding of what’s expected moving forward. Most importantly, he or she should feel comfortable asking questions and sharing feedback, whether it’s with a manager, mentor or someone else.

To further strengthen the foundation you’ve begun laying for employee success, the following should be prioritized during the first several weeks of employment.

__ Schedule weekly meetings to gather feedback, answer questions and provide constructive criticism to the new hire.

__ Provide additional training and/or reading materials as needed.

__ Verify that the new hire has met or is planning to meet with the appropriate team members.

__ Organize a team building activity to help the new employee bond with his or her colleagues.

__ Ensure the new employee’s mentor is regularly checking in and providing adequate support.

__ Ask the new employee if there’s anything else he or she needs to succeed. Be open to suggestions and willing to accommodate where feasible.

While we’ve only covered the first month, studies have shown that the more you invest in making new employees feel comfortable and confident during the first year, the more likely they’ll be to stay on for the long haul. Feel free to use the above checklist as a foundation for building your own strong and effective new employee onboarding strategy.