By Liz Stevens, contributing writer
The American Mold Builder

AMBA recently published its New Employee Onboarding Checklists Report for 2019, based on a survey of 39 mold manufacturers in 13 states across the nation. The report includes a summary of the respondents’ geographical locations, annual sales levels and number of employees. The report also presents statistics on the percentages of companies that have formal onboarding processes and dedicated human resources (HR) personnel.

AMBA gathered onboarding checklists from the survey participants, scrubbed them of identifying information and compiled them into the report. In a review of this wide variety of checklists, some common content was evident. A group of best practice approaches also stood out, and a handful of smart, unusual ideas emerged.

Common practices

Many mold manufacturers use bulleted check-off lists that present the general tasks to be done by human resource personnel, such as adding employees to the payroll system or assigning them lockers. The check-off lists also generally itemize the paperwork to be delivered to new employees – such as employee handbooks – or forms to be collected from them, such as tax withholding documents and insurance applications.

Some manufacturers use “to do” lists that also cover orientation activities (“give an explanation of ISO certifications,” for example), include prompts for HR personnel to provide safety overviews and set up training schedules, or remind human resources staff to discuss the company’s attendance rules or the standard supplies/equipment provided to employees.

Among these common task/form lists, some AMBA members opt for documenting a more wide-ranging onboarding process by giving HR personnel a detailed roadmap of paper and/or computer records to create. The roadmap of what to create can range from personnel files to immigration records to reminders on the HR calendar for insurance and retirement plan eligibility dates.

Giving new employees comprehensive info about payroll, benefits, probationary periods, work hours, overtime, time clock instructions and company rules is typical, and these items frequently appear on the onboarding checklists.

Manufacturers also include reminders that can include the following instructions: deliver overviews of health/safety policies, provide a cheat sheet on the software used by employees for HR/payroll tasks, make an outline available to help employees complete required paperwork, furnish details on important contacts at the plant and conduct a welcome/orientation facility tour.

Best practices

The mold manufacturers that AMBA surveyed shared several outstanding examples of best practices in their onboarding checklists. In some cases, the practices provide added value for new employees, while in other cases, the best practices are especially helpful for HR personnel.

Onboarding practices that outline safety and training information ensure that new employees are ready for a successful start on the job. One mold manufacturing company gives employees a succinct dress code that covers the usual appearance-oriented rules but also stresses the no-no’s that are in place for everyone’s safety, such as no loose-fitting clothing, no open-toe or open-heel shoes and no free-flowing long hair. Another valuable point included on the best onboarding checklists covers safety glasses and ear plugs, with an overview of the disciplinary consequences for employees who fail to wear them.

A mold manufacturing company that is especially attuned to the value of employee training includes a detailed training plan to be described and scheduled during the onboarding process. This company’s training checklist lays out the hands-on training and videos to be presented to the employee during Day One orientation and throughout the first two weeks of basic training. The list prompts HR personnel to schedule quarterly training/videos for the employee’s first year on the job. And, the checklist reminds HR to do team introductions; connect the employee with an assigned mentor; and set up 30-day, 60-day and 90-day reviews.

Three of the mold manufacturers that participated in the AMBA report use checklists that are laid out chronologically, to give HR personnel a detailed roadmap of pre-hire, orientation, post-probationary period and even termination tasks and forms. One of these three manufacturers categorizes the checklist tasks as “prior to hire,” “prior to start date” and “after 90-day probation.” Another divides the tasks into phases that correspond to the interview/job offer phase, the pre-employment phase, the first-week orientation phase and a Week Two onboarding wrap-up phase.

The third manufacturer that uses a chronological layout breaks the tasks into “first week of hire,” “first of month following 30 days of employment,” “first of month after 6 months of service,” “miscellaneous/ongoing” and “after resignation/termination.” Each of these companies has demonstrated onboarding practices worth adopting.

Thinking outside of the box

Mold manufacturers sometimes go out of their way to make sure new employees can hit the ground running. One company provides a handout of its product quality policy so that new employees know, from the first day, that the bar is set high for excellence. The policy notes that parts of inferior quality, whether discovered before shipment or found by a customer, accrue as negative points for an employee and that this can lead to termination.

Several companies include quizzes as part of their onboarding processes. One quiz sprinkles a few easy questions into the mix with more serious questions on issues such as personal protective equipment, accident prevention and the use of fire extinguishers. Another quiz focuses on the hazardous chemicals in use at the plant, along with emergency first aid and cleanup procedures.

One company uses a production-oriented quiz that asks new employees to describe things like a press’s number of cavities, the number of parts to pack per box, the packaging process, job and part numbering, and proper labeling. The production quiz also includes some multiple-choice questions, testing the new employee’s knowledge, for example, on the wide-ranging impact of poor-quality production or proper shift change procedures.

A particularly enterprising manufacturer uses an onboarding test to make sure new employees can match the identifying numbers stamped onto parts to the corresponding details found on packing/shipping labels. And, one well-organized manufacturer documents the station start-up checklist, as well as the workstation specs and instructions. The workstation checklist includes specifications for mold, material and process setup, plus an instruction sheet of process instructions and packing/packaging details. This gives new employees valuable information in printed form.

With suggestions and examples from 39 AMBA members, the New Employee Onboarding Checklist Report can be an invaluable resource for companies seeking to implement or improve guidelines for new employees.

To purchase the AMBA’s New Employee Onboarding Checklists Report for 2019, visit