Employee onboarding at Checkr

I recently joined Checkr as a security engineer and had the opportunity to complete its week-long onboarding program.

In my opinion new employee on boarding is vital to any organization for few simple reasons:

  1. It educational for the new joiners – while they have already decided to jump onboard by accepting the offer, a good onboarding experience helps reinforce the decision.

  2. It helps showcase the value add that the new members will bring to the table and its alignment to the overall mission of the organization.

  3. Life is quite a bit (if not all!) about first impressions and a good onboarding program is just that. For a new employee, it’s the first true insight to how a company really functions.

While it sounds simple enough its tough to get this right I guess. Before joining Checkr, I have worked for various organizations (large, medium, small)  and had my share of new joiner trainings/sessions/seminars/onboarding programs, etc. A common thread between these programs is that, almost always, these are impersonal. Usually these cover things like setting up the benefits, payroll, computer and other administrative chores like providing a rundown of Dos and Don’ts at the company. Very little emphasis goes into explaining what it means to come onboard and what is needed to be successful in that company. To me onboarding programs are perhaps the most boring, monotonous and impersonal activity one does when starting at a company.

So, I was surprised (pleasantly!) at Checkr!

The onboarding program here is different.  Not only is it laid out in a very thoughtful way  (so much so that curiosity piqued by one session was addressed by the immediate next session – such was cohesion in the flow) but was also very conversational.  It reflects  the core principle of transparency that Checkr works on and for a new joiner provides a great platform to get started here.

This sounds surprising when one considers that Checkr started in 2014 and is currently just around 135 employees. Typically in fast growing startups, the focus is on making the new joiners productive from day one. The idea of making them spend a week learning about the company, its mission, its people and plans sounds strange. But at Checkr, the emphasis on this week-long program comes right from the top of the management chain as evidenced by sessions from the CEO, the CTO and various VPs.

The program is 1 week (5 days) long and covers sessions on each aspect of the company, from how it started to where it wants to go and how.

Usually, most of the new hires here, like myself, have no experience in the background check industry. The onboarding sessions were  perfect introduction to the complex world of background records, the court data management/retrieval systems and the painful inconsistencies in timelines as one moves through state/county lines.

This program helps visualize the direct impact of the technology developed at Checkr on the lives of job seekers across the country.

Few of the interesting aspects of the program for me included:

  1. Sessions with early employees of Checkr and getting to know the first hand perspective of  how the company has grown fast while holding tight to its mission helped set my own perspective about how Checkr works

  2. Two sessions with the Checkr CEO talking about the company roadmap and history. The level of transparency he provides in terms of roadmap, challenges and priorities is amazing.

  3. Everyone of the new joiners (yes – everyone!!) have to complete the NAPBS FCRA Basic Certification. I learned amazingly lot of stuff about the whole BGC industry during the training for this certification.

  4. Best part – I got to go to the courthouse to see first hand how the record retrieval process works in the US court systems. This happens during the last day of the onboarding program and is the rightful amalgamation of all the learnings from the previous 4 days.

In summary, Checkr is on a mission to modernize the background screening industry. To be successful here, each employee has to connect to that mission and understand how the role they  play count towards fulfilling it. Checkr’s onboarding program facilitates this understanding by showcasing how the company functions.

The program made a great impression that will stay with me for a long time.

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