Onboarding Checklist

Onboarding checklist template to help you nail your employee onboarding

Having an onboarding checklist is important because whether you want to admit it or not, onboarding a new hire is not an easy task and having a well-documented process can help prevent you from missing any essential step. It also makes it easier for you to review the process along the way to look for improvement.

Research shows that almost 30% of job seekers have left a job within the first 90 days of starting and that it generally takes 8 months on average to get a new hire fully up-to-speed. So nailing your onboarding process is important to keep your new hires and to shorten the time needed for them to start contributing to your company.

The onboarding checklist template above lists out the common steps of onboarding a new hire and let us walk through the steps in details below.

Onboarding Checklist – Before the first day

1. Prepare paperwork

Prepare all the necessary legal and internal documents required for new hires. These might include:

  • Employment agreement
  • Insurance forms
  • Pension forms
  • Direct deposit forms for payroll
  • Non-disclosure agreements

2. Discuss roles, projects and expectations with the manager

Although you should already have developed a good understanding about the role and job responsibilities for the new hire during the hiring process, it’s still important to go through and reconfirm and roles and expectations for the new hire with their direct manager prior to the first day.

Design projects that can help train the new hires while letting them start contributing early on.

3. Prepare employee’s workstation and company swags

  • Desk and chair
  • Computer (already set up with the right softwares)
  • Office supplies (business card, notebook, pens, etc.)

To help them feel welcomed and develop a sense of belonging to the company, consider preparing company swags like T-shirt, hoodie, mug and laptop stickers and place them on the new hire’s desk on their first day.

4. Grant them access to the onboarding parts in your knowledge base

Most internal knowledge base softwares allow you to set user permissions so you can grant access to certain areas of your knowledge base to the new hires prior to their start day to help them get prepared beforehand. For example, share the section with information about your business culture and vision, common FAQs such as who to contact, company policy / benefits, etc.

5. Share required readings

Consider creating different reading lists for different roles in your company. For example, for junior new marketing hires, you can create a list of required readings in areas like inbound marketing, SEO best practices, etc. to help them get more familiar with the processes and strategies that your team adopts prior to their start day.

6. Draft onboarding plan to be shared with the new hire on the first day

While you might be familiar with the onboarding process for your company, how to communicate the plan well with the new hire is also very important. Creating an onboarding checklist personalized for the new hire is a great way for that.

For example, at Kipwise, we will create a separate trello board for each new hire to track the status of their different onboarding tasks.

Onboarding Checklist - On the first day

1. Kick-off meeting with the manager and/or HR manager

Arrange a kick-off meeting between the new hire and their direct manager and/or HR manager to go through the essentials things they need to know and what to expect for the first month. Things to go through include:

- Introduce company culture
- Share team structure & team lookbook
- Go through important policies and essential things to know
- Discuss roles and expectation
- Share onboarding plan

2. Tour of the office

Show your new hire around the office and let them know where all the important areas are. For examples:

- Kitchen
- Bathroom
- HR area
- Office supplies room
- Printers
- IT support area
- HR area

3. Introduce the new hire to the team

If you are in a small company, try to notify your teammates in advance so everyone can clear their schedule to welcome the new hire on their first day. If you are in a big company and it’s hard to get everyone together at the same time, try to send out an email to all employees, telling about the new hire.

Instead of just talking about the new hire’s role in the company, also share why you picked them and encourage the new hire to add more fun elements in their self introduction (e.g. hobbies) so it would be easier to spark conversations between teammates.

4. Assign a mentor / buddy

Assigning a mentor or buddy is a great way to help the new hires adapt to the new working environment and also establish bonding with other teammates.

5. Grant them access to tools and internal knowledge base

Ensure your new hire has access to the necessary tools that they need. This include more generic items such as:

- Company email
- Team internal knowledge base
- Vacation management system

Then you may need to grant access to additional tools depending on the new hire’s role. For example, for new support team hires, they would need access to your customer support system, tools to help them troubleshoot and systems that they should use to report bugs and feature requests to the product team.

Onboarding Checklist - During the first week

1. More in-depths meeting with the manager

- Go through commonly used tools for the team
- Go through frequently used processes  
- Deeper dive into the specific functional team that the new hire belongs to

2. Arrange meetings with key department representatives

Other than simply arranging kick-off sessions with teammates in the same functional team, also arrange meetings with the key persons from different departments in your company to help the new hire understand how the different departments work together to achieve your company goals.

Onboarding Checklist - During the first month

1. Weekly check-in meeting with manager  

Onboarding should be an interactive process. Instead of just feeding information to the new hires, you should constantly ask for their feedback to improve the process.

Set up a weekly check-in meeting to discuss their progress, challenges that they face and what help your team can offer to help them adapt to their role faster.

2. Setup long term goals

Share with the employee the long term goals that company is trying to achieve and how they can contribute to that in their roles.  

3. Evaluate the onboarding process

At the end of your planned onboarding period, set up a review meeting with the employee to discuss what is working well and what is not.

Final words

According to research, new hires normally know whether they will stay with the company just within the first few weeks, so it’s key to nail your onboarding process to engage the new hire and we hope this onboarding checklist template can give you a good start.

But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all onboarding process that works for all companies, so always try to get more feedback from your new hires so you can keep fine-tuning the process to fit your company needs.

Start with this template

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