Quick Guide to Onboarding & Inductions

Want your new team members to hit the ground running and be productive from their very first week? Then you need to get your onboarding and induction process right for every new employee.

When our clients mention that their new team member is not ‘getting it’, they aren’t filling the gap as quickly as anticipated, or even that people keep leaving – often one of the underlying issues is a poor or non-existent onboarding and induction process.

Picture this: you start a new job and from the first day, everything is done on the fly. You’re not introduced to other team members, shown around, taught how things happen around here, shown the different systems or how to use them, who to ask for help, where to park, what day the weekly team meeting happens, or when/how you can take a lunch break… let alone any of the other information you need to do your job.

Some people would be completely bamboozled. Other people would be frustrated by the lack of planning and processes. Either way, this is not a good first impression and is not the way to set people up for success. Unfortunately, you would be surprised how many new employees have experiences like this.

Studies have shown that having a consistent, structured onboarding and induction process results in employees settling in and being successful in their roles and committed to the business in the long run.

Our Quick Guide to Onboarding and Inductions provides guidance on how to get it right to improve your employee retention and culture, and help your team hit the ground running.


Onboarding is the complete process from being a new employee to becoming a fully trained and productive member of the team. It starts before the employment commences, with providing contracts, position descriptions and policies, to having document returned and a payroll profile setup. It continues through the first couple of months of employment as the employee learns:

  • ‘How we do things around here’
  • How the company values are (or are not) embedded in the day-to-day operations
  • How their role contributes to the organisations goals
  • Organisational context which will help them to succeed
  • The organisations culture

Throughout the process, they may even be assigned a buddy to help them.


It’s the process new employees should experience over their first days and weeks, to be equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to become an effective and productive team member. It also familiarises the new employee with the organisation’s policies, procedures and culture.

While onboarding and induction happen simultaneously, induction is more specific and task-focused than onboarding.


Before a new employee commences, there are a few steps that can be taken care of ahead of time. Here’s a few of our top suggestions:

  • Paperwork: Ensure the new employee completes any required paperwork for HR/ payroll before they start. This will also save you some time on their first day, by not having to worry about the amount of time that is spent filling out forms. Examples of paperwork might include returning a signed copy of their employment contract, superannuation details form, tax file number declaration and personal details form.
  • Medicals & Vaccinations: If your business requires employees to complete any type of medical assessment or vaccination, then the new employee should be informed that this needs to be completed before they commence, along with any evidence requirements. If these items apply, we also recommend informing the candidate throughout the recruitment process and including them as a condition of employment in their employment contract.
  • Licences & Qualifications: Any licenses, tickets, qualifications etc. which apply to the role should be requested prior to commencing. This is, firstly, so you can verify that they hold what they claim to, and secondly, for record keeping purposes.
  • Equipment: If the employee needs any particular equipment to perform their job, make sure it’s organised and ready to be issued on their first day. This might include a company mobile phone, laptop, credit card, or keys. There is nothing worse than starting a new job and you don’t have the tools you need!
  • IT Access: The same goes for any systems or programs that the new employee will be required to use in their role. Make sure that accounts are set up for them and ready for the employee to access on their first day.
  • Uniforms: Where possible, uniforms should also be organised before the new employee starts, especially if they need to be ordered in. This way, the employee will likely receive their uniforms on their first day or first week of employment (rather than a month or more after starting). This one is not always possible but can leave a lasting impression when arranged ahead of time.
  • Position Description: It’s a good idea to make sure the position description for the role is up to date so you can provide it with their employment contract and run through it with the employee on their first day – after all, this is the document that details what they are responsible for!
  • Prepare your onboarding and induction plan: This one is the whole point of this Quick Guide! Familiarise yourself with our tips and put together a checklist or basic plan of what you need to cover off with the new employee in their first day/week. Or contact the team at Edwards HR to put together a tool tailored to your business.
  • Let other team members know: You’ll want to let the rest of the team know there will be a new addition to the team – we recommend sending out a quick email to let them know about the new employee commencing and what their role will be. This can also be done during a team meeting if email is not your thing.

4. ONCE THE NEW EMPLOYEE COMMENCES - What should you cover?

Some businesses will have a general company induction that covers some of the points we discuss in this Quick Guide. If this is the case, generally we would recommend that you have a separate process or checklist that covers the information specific to the new employee, their role and their team.

a) Introductions & Tour

On the employees’ first day, make the time to give them a full guided tour of the workplace, including introducing them to their new work colleagues. Your guided tour should include things like where they will be sitting/working, the location of the lunchroom, toilets, lockers and where they can park.

It is also a good idea to set some time aside on their first day to have a one-on-one to provide the new employee with dedicated time to hear about the company, their personal responsibilities, ask any questions they may have and allow them to get to know their new Supervisor or Manager.  

For more senior or management positions, the introduction process may also involve one-on-one meetings with other managers, their team and other relevant colleagues, clients and suppliers they will be working closely with. You may also need to arrange visits to other sites/work locations.

b) Employment Conditions

The new employee should be informed about their employment conditions. This is something that should be done on an employee’s first or second day. Here’s what we suggest covering:  

  • Hours of work & breaks: ensure the new employee is aware of their work hours, including start and finish times, and the breaks they will be entitled to.
  • Work Roster: If your team work on a roster, make sure the new employee is aware of where they can find the roster, when it is updated and the process if they may need to request a shift change.
  • Timesheets & logbooks: Depending on the employees’ position, ensure they understand how to record their time worked and how/when they must submit their timesheets and/or logbooks.
  • Payroll information: Be sure to confirm what the employee will be paid, the pay frequency and the day they can usually expect the payment to arrive in their bank account. If you are missing any information such as bank account details or tax file number declaration, ensure these are followed up so the employee can be paid.
  • Protocol for leave: Inform the employee of the leave they are entitled to (eg, personal, annual etc) and what the expectations are for taking leave. For example, if an employee wants to use sick leave, they may be required to call their employer rather than send a text message or if they want to use annual leave, they might need to provide their employer with a minimum amount of notice.  
c) Position Description & Daily Operations

It takes time to settle into a new role, but to set the new employee up for success, you must be clear about what is expected from them from day one. We recommend going through the employee’s position description and discussing the responsibilities and requirements of the role, along with any current projects and deadlines that they need to be aware of.

You should also take the time to discuss expectations around the employee accessing systems, confidentiality, housekeeping, mobile phone/IT use, dress standards and expectations around providing customer service, where applicable.

Involvement in daily operations will vary between employees, so ensure that you discuss what will be relevant to your new employee and include any additional daily operations that need to be discussed.

EXAMPLE: For a new Truck Driver, some of the additional daily operations you might discuss include chain of responsibility, fueling requirements, legislated rest break requirements, resting in the vehicle, no smoking in the cab and cab cleanliness.

It may help to write a list of all the daily duties the new employee will be required to complete before they commence, that way you will be confident you have covered everything applicable to that employee in their first day/week.

d) Employee Handbook, Policies and Procedures

If your business has an Employee Handbook and/or written Policies and Procedures in place, be sure the employee is:

  • Made aware of these;
  • Informed of where/how they can be accessed; and
  • Given the time to read through them.

We recommend that employees sign off on each Handbook and Policy to confirm that they have read, understood and agreed to comply with them.  

These documents should be easily accessible for all employees, for example, kept in a folder the lunchroom or on a shared drive for those with computer access.  

e) Workplace Health and Safety

New employees will need to complete any workplace health and safety processes and procedures during the onboarding process if not already covered in a company induction. This might include:

  • Workplace Health and Safety Policy: Along with your company policies as mentioned above, ensure new employees acknowledge and comply with your WH&S policy.
  • Emergency evacuation procedure exits and assembly points: If an emergency was to occur in the workplace, new employees need to be informed of the evacuation procedures including where the emergency exits are and where they are expected to assemble.
  • First Aid and other emergency contacts: If your workplace has designated first aid officers and other emergency contacts, your employees should be made aware of who they are and where they find their contact details.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): If the new employee is required to wear PPE, this should be given to them within their first week and they should be informed when, where, how and why of the PPE.
  • SWMS (if relevant to the employee): If the employee is required to complete or follow SWMS documents then this should be explained to them, and they should be informed of where they are kept.
  • Reporting injuries, accidents and incidents: Make sure that new employees are aware of how to report injuries, accidents or incidents.


Once the induction process has been completed, we recommend the document is signed off by the new employee and their manager, then kept on the employee’s personnel file. The This then becomes a training record that shows that the employee has been provided all the required training to be safe and productive in their role.

If ever needed in future, this training record can also be used as evidence to manage issues or prove that an employee has been appropriately trained.  


Regardless of how you structure your onboarding and induction process, always check in with the new employee after a few weeks from their commencement date.

Generally, we recommend checking in with new employees by setting up a meeting for 1,3 and 5 months from their commencement date. You use these check-ins to talk about their progress and also as an opportunity to allow for questions, feedback about how they found the recruitment, onboarding and induction process, and whether there is any room for improvement.

If you choose to make this a formal process, be sure to inform the employee ahead of time so they are aware of what to expect, and can prepare if necessary.

In summary, a good onboarding process should give new employees the right knowledge and resources to help them hit the ground running. The first few weeks are the most influential to new employees, so ensure you take the time to give them a positive introduction to your business.


The team at Edwards HR can help prepare the documents we have mentioned throughout this Quick Guide – your employment contracts, position descriptions, onboarding plans and checklists, policies, check-in forms etc – let us help you get the right the first time so you can get back to what you do best.

The team at Edwards HR regularly runs workshops on Onboarding & Induction, Employment Contracts, Employment Relations Foundations, IR Reforms and many other HR topics – you can check out our training calendar here.

As always, we are also here to answer your questions and provide support across all areas of HR, please contact our team on 07 3568 0866.

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For more guidance about this update, or to find out how Edwards HR can support your business, contact our team today on 07 3568 0866.

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