Employee Onboarding Checklist for HR (Free Template Included)

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A well-thought-out onboarding process can help new employees to get up to speed more quickly, settle into their roles and get invested in the company culture. It can also make them more likely to stay with your organisation for longer: according to one study, a strong onboarding experience can improve new hire retention by up to 83%.

But despite this, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer does a great job of onboarding new hires. In this article, we’ll discuss the value of using an employee onboarding checklist to help you keep your onboarding process organised — and we’ll provide a free template you can use to get started.

Key facts: 

  • A strong onboarding process can help new employees to quickly understand what they need to know about their new roles, and even increase their likelihood of staying with your company for longer. 

  • The onboarding process goes much further than just the first few days: it can take as much as six months (or longer) for a new hire to be fully onboarded. 

  • Using a checklist can help you to stay organised throughout the onboarding process, and help the new employee to understand what they’re working towards.

Kick things off by downloading our complimentary onboarding checklist right now.

Why Are Employee Onboarding Checklists Important? 

Employee onboarding typically involves a lot of different tasks, people and processes — which can be hard to keep track of. Using an employee onboarding checklist can help you to keep things organised and ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. 

Using a checklist helps everyone involved in the onboarding process to understand which tasks they’re responsible for and when they need to be completed. It can also motivate the new employee throughout the process by showing them how much they have already achieved. 

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Employee Onboarding Checklists: What to Include

The onboarding process is not just about the new hire’s first few days. In fact, we’d suggest putting together an employee onboarding checklist that covers at least the first six months of their employment (although most of the tasks will be concentrated in the first few weeks). Below, we’ve divided the onboarding process into six key stages and listed some of the tasks that you might want to add to your checklist for each stage. 

Before the First Day

We often think of employee onboarding as beginning on the new hire’s first day of work — but a strong process should actually start before this. This is because giving the new employee as much information as possible ahead of time can help them to feel less stressed about their first day. It also allows them to start feeling excited about their new role, and reassures them that you’re prepared for their arrival. 

Here are some of the tasks you might want to include in this part of your employee onboarding checklist: 

  • Send a welcome email or welcome pack

  • Send over important company info, like your employee handbook

  • Have the employee sign their employment contract

  • Request badges, access codes, and other practical things the employee will need

  • Ensure the new employee’s workspace is ready to be set up

  • Prepare a welcome gift for the new employee

  • Assign the new employee a mentor 

The First Day of Work

An employee’s first day is the time to provide them with as much information as possible about their role, and to introduce them to the company’s culture and values. Remember that the first days in a new job can be stressful and overwhelming — so it’s important to reassure new employees that it’s OK if they don’t remember everything straight away. 

Here are some tasks to include on your checklist for the first day: 

  • Introduce the employee to their immediate colleagues

  • Send an email to the rest of the department (or organisation) to introduce the new employee

  • Organise an official welcome from management 

  • Complete HR formalities like filling in forms

  • Give employees key cards or codes and set up IT access

  • Organise an informal office tour to show the employee around 

  • Set up a social lunch for the whole team to get to know the new employee

  • Give the employee access to any training materials they need

  • Introduce the new employee to any important departmental processes 

The First Week 

During the employee’s first week of work, you’ll begin assigning them their first projects. They’ll also continue making connections with their new colleagues and getting to know the organisation.

Here are some tasks to include on this part of your checklist: 

  • Organise individual intro meetings with team members

  • Deliver training around your products or services

  • Introduce and explain all of the software and tools the company uses

  • Schedule any training sessions the employee needs to complete

  • Set up shared lunches, coffee breaks and other opportunities to get to know the team

  • Assign the employee’s first tasks or projects

After the First Week 

The end of the employee’s first week is a good time to sit down with them and answer any questions they still have about their role or the organisation as a whole. You can also take the opportunity to ask for their feedback on their experience of the onboarding process so far. 

Here are a few of the specific tasks you might want to plan as you reach this first milestone: 

  • Set up a meeting to review the employee’s first impressions

  • Provide the employee with feedback on their work so far

  • Agree on the employee’s initial goals (e.g. for the first month) 

  • Inform the employee about company leave arrangements and other policies 

  • Talk to the employee about your company’s hybrid work arrangements

  • Ask the employee to complete an onboarding survey about their experience 

The First 4–8 Weeks

The first month or two in a job are critical for a new employee. During this time, they should be able to gain a good understanding of the company, although some aspects of their role may still be new to them. 

Here’s what to include on your checklist for this period:

  • Continue to schedule regular feedback sessions 

  • Organise team events to help the new employee get to know their team

  • Begin discussing development opportunities with the employee

After the First 6 Months

If you’ve done everything right, your new employee should be fully assimilated into the organisation by around the 6-month mark. At this stage, your employee onboarding process is almost over. However, it’s a good time for both sides to give their feedback on how the process has gone.  

To do this, consider adding the following tasks to your checklist: 

  • Organise a performance review to let the employee know how they’re doing

  • Ask for detailed feedback about the entire onboarding process to help you improve

Onboarding Checklist Templates for New Employees

You can use our employee onboarding checklist template to create your own checklist and make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. 

The template contains space for you to add the employer’s name, the name of their manager and their start date. Then, you can list the other people involved in the process. After listing the tasks that need to be completed in each phase, you can assign each one to the right employee, and they can check it off once they’ve completed it.  

If you still need help deciding which tasks you should assign for each phase of the onboarding process, you can also download our full guide to creating an employee onboarding checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Onboarding Checklists

Here are the answers to some FAQs about employee onboarding checklists. 

How Do I Write an Employee Onboarding Checklist? 

You can write an employee onboarding checklist using our free template. Once you’ve downloaded the template, all you need to do is populate it with the tasks that need to be completed and the name of the person responsible for each task. You can then check off the tasks as you complete them. 

Where Can I Find Employee Onboarding Checklist Templates?

You can find our employee onboarding checklist template here.

Simplify Onboarding With Personio

HR teams use Personio to streamline employee onboarding by automating administrative processes, assigning tasks to the relevant people and keeping an eye on the entire process in one centralised location. When someone needs to complete a task, they’ll get regular reminders until they do. You’ll be able to access all of the relevant information in one place — and new joiners will feel looked after from day one. 

Want to see what else Personio can do? Book a free demo to find out more. 

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