Human Resources

Employee Onboarding Checklist: A Guide to Welcoming New Hires

7 min read
Oct 5, 2021

You only get one chance to make a first impression on your new employee's first day. Make sure you nail it with this employee onboarding checklist.

Andrew ConradSr Content Writer

Your first day at a new job and in a new role is always a memorable experience, but depending on how your hiring manager handles onboarding, those memories could be positive, or an experience you’d like to forget.

Did you feel welcomed? Did you feel prepared to get started? Did your schedule feel organized?

Or did your onboarding experience make you question your decision to accept this job in the first place?

Now that you’re on the other side of the new employee onboarding equation, you’re hopefully thinking of ways that you can ensure that your new hire’s onboarding experience is as positive as possible, whether in-person or virtually through collaboration software. An employee onboarding checklist can help you achieve this.

What is an employee onboarding checklist?

An employee onboarding checklist is a reference document that helps human resources departments, hiring managers, and other staff welcome new employees to their organization while making sure that all onboarding tasks have been covered.

An employee onboarding checklist should cover everything from welcome activities, like company swag package delivery and new team coffee meetings, to required tasks, like completion of onboarding documents and benefits enrollment.

The employee onboarding checklist should be a living document so that it can evolve as your business evolves. It should also be flexible so that it can fit the needs of a variety of new roles, from on-site employees to remote workers.

Strategizing your new employee onboarding plan 

In this article, we’ll provide you with an employee onboarding checklist to help you make sure that your new employees feel excited, welcomed, prepared, and ready to contribute to your team in a positive environment. 

Employee onboarding is an ongoing process, so we’ve divided these onboarding tasks into a four-part timeline: 

  • Pre-boarding: Begin the introduction

  • Day 1: Streamline the paperwork process

  • Week 1: Get everyone up to speed

  • Month 1: Allow new hires to fly

Every business and every new employee is unique, so think of this employee onboarding checklist as a set of guidelines rather than step-by-step instructions.

Employee onboarding checklist

Pre-boarding: Begin the introduction

The first step toward a successful onboarding is to start the employee onboarding process before your new employee has set foot in the building (or joined your virtual workspace, if the new employee is a remote employee). 

The purpose of this stage is to connect your new employee with their team, check that their paperwork is in order, and make arrangements so that they have their equipment by the first day.

  1. Welcome email from key teammates

  2. New employee announcement email

  3. All necessary new hire paperwork delivered

  4. Devices selected and prepared for delivery

  5. Introduction to mentor 

Day 1: Streamline the paperwork process

While the first day might seem like the highest impact day of the onboarding process, it’s only the first step of a long employee orientation process that can take several months. You can think of day one as the “fun” part of the onboarding process, with company swag, team coffee, and friendly introductions.

  1. Welcome session with new team

  2. Device setup, and IT support

  3. Paperwork completed

  4. New employee added to necessary collaboration channels and distribution lists

  5. New employee swag package (T-shirt, coffee mug, etc.)

For on-premise employees:

  1. Security badge and parking pass provided, if necessary

  2. Facilities tour (office space, meeting rooms, cafeteria, gym, etc.)

Week 1: Get everyone up to speed

Once your new employee has been welcomed to the team and given all the tools they need to perform their duties, it’s time to give them some autonomy and establish a schedule. This is also a good time to help them get acclimated to your company culture. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with a mentor or mentors are a good way to boost employee engagement and create a routine while also making sure any questions or concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

  1. Onboarding feedback survey

  2. First weekly meeting with mentor(s)

  3. Benefits package walkthrough

  4. Employee handbook delivered

Month 1: Allow new hires to fly

Hopefully by the end of the first month, your new employee is comfortable in their role and starts to take initiative on some of their own networking opportunities and projects. This is a good time to schedule cross-team introductions and maybe a happy hour or team lunch. This is also the time to gauge interest on side projects that the new hire might be able to take on.

  1. Introduction to team leads

  2. Introductory side project assignment

  3. One-month check in with managers

  4. Team happy hour or lunch

Knock the onboarding experience out of the park with employee onboarding software

Hopefully this new employee onboarding checklist will provide you with a useful resource for onboarding your next new employee. But if you’re looking to really streamline the onboarding process for the long term, onboarding software is the solution. Onboarding software handles every piece of your onboarding program, from automating document collection to managing orientation scheduling and everything in between. The best part is that onboarding software can handle the onboarding program whether your new employee will be remote or on-premise through features like electronic signatures and document processing, online self service portal, virtual collaboration tools, and more.

Check out our onboarding software buyer’s guide for everything from common features and benefits to average costs.

Once you’re ready to browse some top onboarding software options, we have you covered with our Category Leaders, which highlights top options based on verified user reviews.

GetApp’s Category Leaders in onboarding software

GetApp’s Category Leaders in onboarding software (Source)

About the author

Andrew Conrad

Sr Content Writer

Hey there, I’m Andrew. I’m a Senior Content Writer at GetApp. I bring you insights about retail, eCommerce, and marketing. I studied at Loyola University Maryland and have more than a decade of professional writing experience. Home base: Austin. 2 things about me: I am a lifetime Baltimore Orioles fan, and I love walks in the woods. The tech trend I think you should keep an eye on: Mixed reality in retail. Trying on clothes will never be the same.

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