Onboarding Checklist: How To Set Up a New Employee for Success (2023)

Onboarding marks a new hire’s first experience at a company — and it makes a lasting impression. One study found that effective onboarding increased employee retention by 82%, but almost 9 in 10 employees report less-than-great onboarding experiences.

Onboarding Checklist: How To Set Up a New Employee for Success (1)

Welcoming new workers the right way requires significant preparation, and a formal onboarding checklist can help your employees hit the ground running. Creating a strong, engaging onboarding process can help your business attract and retain top talent.

Table of contents:

  • New hire onboarding checklist
  • How to create an onboarding checklist
    • Preboarding

New Hire Onboarding Checklist

An onboarding checklist is a list of steps to get a new hire through their first days and weeks with a company. It helps managers ensure new hires learn important information about their team and company, such as culture, organizational structure, computer systems, and more.

Using a checklist can help supervisors improve different parts of onboarding, including:

  • Maintaining transparency
  • Setting expectations
  • Minimizing stress
  • Sending resources
  • Educating new employees

How To Create an Onboarding Checklist

Depending on the structure of your company, the one responsible for onboarding could fall to the founder, human resources, or the new hire’s manager. Remember to delegate the following tasks to the person responsible for onboarding.

(Video) How To Onboard Employees Orientation Checklist

First, gather all pertinent resources and information into a single document. When collecting resources, remember to include anything you feel the new hire needs to succeed in their role. This could include:

  • Organizational charts
  • Role description
  • Applications and tools (e.g., email marketing software)
  • Learning resources (e.g., diversity and inclusion training)
  • Mandatory documents (e.g., benefits, tax information)
  • Team structure (e.g., their manager and co-workers)
  • Tech devices
  • Company swag


The real onboarding begins weeks before the new hire starts their job via preboarding, or the time between when they receive their job offer and their first day.

Preboarding can decrease your new worker’s anxiety about changing jobs and up your company’s reputation. One study by Digitate found that preboarding increases an employee’s chance of making referrals by 83%.

Preboarding centers on making the new hire feel excited and prepared to join your company.

Inform the team about the new hire

After finding a new hire, let the current team know about them. Discuss how they will fit into the organization, what their role entails, and where they previously worked. Encourage them to ask any questions about how the change will affect their team.

Send a welcome email

Get your new hire excited by sending a welcome email. Whoever sends the email should introduce themselves, express their excitement, and introduce the person to the rest of the team or organization.

Onboarding Checklist: How To Set Up a New Employee for Success (2)

To introduce the new employee, scan their resume. Include their previous work experience or any fun facts mentioned. You could also ask the employee to share fun facts about themselves.

(Video) Employee Onboarding Checklist for New Employees

Offer them the chance to meet their manager

The new hire will likely interact with their manager more than anyone. So, the manager should meet with them prior to their start date. They can reiterate their excitement, provide more specifics on what the role entails, and let them know about upcoming projects.

Prepare any devices or software

To start, your new employee will likely need a laptop or computer. Next, jot down anything else they might need. For example, a designer might need a drawing tablet, graphic software, and more.

First-Day Onboarding

Welcome them to the company

If the new hire works in an office, have someone welcome them with a bang. Ensure they greet them enthusiastically when they walk in. The tour guide should provide them with a rundown of their day — meetings they can expect to have, mandatory documents they need to fill out, and other first-day activities.

Give the new hire a physical schedule so they feel comfortable and in control. If you plan on giving them any welcome kits or merch, place it at their assigned seat.

You can still maintain this excitement for a remote employee. Send all the information mentioned above and a schedule electronically. Their manager should also send them a welcome message.

Give them a tour of the office

Next, give the new hire a tour of the office. Inform them where they can work and socialize. Take them to their desk or cubicle, introducing them to their work neighbors. Let them know about any fun spots, such as places to relax or play pingpong. The person who delivers the tour can come from their team or HR.

Introduce them to their colleagues

Your colleagues got a sneak peak of the new hire during their preboarding experience. Now, formally introduce the employee to their colleagues. Ask current employees to set up coffee chats with the new hire during their first few weeks.

Set up first-day meetings

If the new hire does not immediately meet with HR, ensure they meet with them at some point during their first day. They can then ask HR any questions about benefits, insurance, or payroll. HR can also get mandatory documents from the new hire, such as copies of signed forms.

(Video) New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Also connect the new hire with IT workers to ensure they can access their equipment and software, and resolve any technical questions.

Importantly, your new hire should also meet with their supervisor or manager on their first day.

Onboarding Checklist: How To Set Up a New Employee for Success (3)

Check in with them at the end of the day

The first day will overwhelm the new hire, no matter how smooth or seamless you make it. So, at the end of the workday, have someone ask them how it went. They should check to ensure they understand any company policies, how to use their equipment, and if they need anything else. In general, use this moment to offer someone on their team or on HR as a resource for them.

First-Week Onboarding

Set up any mandatory trainings

If your company has mandatory onboarding courses, ensure the new hire has access and knows what they need to complete.

This might include, as an example, a one-on-one meeting with an HR representative who walks them through any diversity and inclusion policies. Alternatively, this could involve self-paced learning where the new hire views videos or reads resources.

Introduce them to a buddy or mentor

According to MentorcliQ, over 9 in 10 mentees view their mentorship as beneficial. It gives new hires someone they can reach out to or ask questions in a less judgmental environment.

If your company can afford it, consider introducing the new hire to a mentor or buddy during their first week.

(Video) Employee Onboarding Practices

Consider hosting a welcome event

After the new hire’s first day, consider hosting a social event to welcome them to the company. For example, you could host a party in a break room with free food and drinks. If remote, you could set up 30 minutes to play an online game or icebreaker.

First 90 Days Onboarding

Establish a weekly cadence with their manager

Weekly one-on-one meetings can help set expectations, build a connection, and transition the new hire into their role. Ensure their supervisor regularly meets with them during their first 90 days and gather feedback on their experience.

Chat about key performance indicators (KPIs) and career goals

During their first 30 days, the new hire’s managers should set clear expectations. They should let them know about any KPIs attached to their role, such as revenue generated or number of articles written. Additionally, their manager should meet with them to discuss career goals.

Introduce them to projects

A new hire’s first few days shouldn’t involve actual work. However, their manager can let them know about projects they can expect to work on. By the second week, they can be introduced to a few projects and start to get their feet wet.

Provide feedback

At the end of their first 90 days, ensure they receive feedback on their progress from their manager. Avoid making it sound like a performance review. Instead, encourage their manager to chat candidly with them about what went well, where they can improve, and any feedback they have about the process or role.

Onboarding Checklist Template

To save time, consider making use of an onboarding checklist template. The following template includes everything listed above, alongside examples, recommendations, and more.

Onboarding Checklist: How To Set Up a New Employee for Success (4)

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(Video) How to Design The Perfect Onboarding Process


What are the 4 C's of employee onboarding? ›

The four Cs are Compliance, Clarification, Connection, and Culture.

How would you ensure a successful employee onboarding process? ›

Successfully Onboarding Your New Hires
  1. Create a Process. ...
  2. Take a Multimodal Approach. ...
  3. Seek and Incorporate Feedback. ...
  4. Give a Realistic Idea of the Job. ...
  5. Set a Comfortable Pace. ...
  6. Explain the Jargon and Culture. ...
  7. Get Involved.

What are the 5 C's of effective onboarding? ›

These have since evolved into the 5 “C's” of Onboarding: Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Connection, and Culture.

What are the 6 C's of employee onboarding? ›

Officially, the 6 C's of employee onboarding are Compliance, Clarification, Connection, Culture, Confidence and Checkback.

What are the 3 P's of onboarding? ›

The 3 P's are People, Performance, & Paperwork. The below graphic illustrates what you should be focusing on in your own onboarding plan.

What are the 3 most important elements of successful onboarding? ›

There are three keys to a successful strategic onboarding program: people, culture, and milestones and tasks. A consistent, and repeatable onboarding process requires few adjustments and benefits all stakeholders involved.

What is an example of a good onboarding process? ›

Throughout their first few weeks of work, have the new employee meet with everyone for 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, they can chat about their roles and get advice. This is an especially effective onboarding strategy for smaller companies since everyone can meet with the new employee individually.

What is onboarding success factors? ›

What is SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding? SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding brings your supporting systems, processes, and people into an intuitive digital experience, accessible from anywhere, on any device. Enlarge. Manage employee onboarding, cross-boarding, offboarding, and rehire programs through a single solution.

What is your perfect onboarding flow? ›

Onboarding flows are a way to introduce new users or current customers to a user interface or new feature. The best onboarding flows typically combine a series of steps to convey the right message at the right time. An onboarding flow doesn't begin the moment someone logs on to your platform.

What are the four categories of onboarding? ›

4 Phases of Employee Onboarding
  • Phase 1: Preboarding. Once you've accepted your offer letter and you're starting off day one at a new job, there's a lot to learn. ...
  • Phase 2: Onboarding and welcoming new employees. ...
  • Phase 3: Training. ...
  • Phase 4: Transition to the new role.

What are the five key steps in order of the onboarding process? ›

1. Before the first day
  • Send new hire documents online. Send all the necessary documents prior to the first day. ...
  • Map out the first week. ...
  • Set up the desk, tech and software. ...
  • Get the team onboard and ready for the new hire. ...
  • Schedule ahead. ...
  • Take an office tour. ...
  • Discuss the first week's schedule. ...
  • Assign a mentor.
Jun 28, 2019

What are the 2 things that you like most about the onboarding experience? ›

I have all the resources I need to do my job successfully . My goals are clearly defined . I have a clear understanding of my career path and promotion plan . I am happy with my career path and promotion plan .

How do you make an ultimate onboarding checklist? ›

How to create an onboarding checklist
  1. Assess the needs of the role. ...
  2. Separate the checklist into sections. ...
  3. Create a checklist of pre-hire items. ...
  4. Determine the tasks for their first day. ...
  5. Designate responsibilities for their first week. ...
  6. Check in with them after their first month.
Feb 3, 2023

What is the checklist for new employee? ›

The onboarding checklist should include the recruitment process, new employee orientation, introduction of all aspects of the role to the employee, job training, goal-setting, introduction to company culture, meeting other employees and a serve as a guide to help the new hire get adjusted quickly and become a ...

How do you automate an onboarding checklist? ›

The top 5 ways to automate your onboarding checklist
  1. Automatically send welcome emails one week before the start date. ...
  2. Automatically send a notification when a new hire's device has not yet shipped. ...
  3. Create a reminder event to communicate benefits enrollment deadlines.
Mar 18, 2022

How to do onboarding documentation? ›

Sample Onboarding Documents Template
  1. New employee orientation.
  2. Introduction to company culture, mission and values.
  3. Role of the employee.
  4. Goal setting.
  5. Job training.
  6. Dates for check-ins.
  7. Meetings with other employees or superiors.
Mar 8, 2023

What should be included in an employee onboarding packet? ›

Top 10 must-have things to include in your welcome packet
  • Personalized welcome letter. ...
  • New hire announcement email (or social post) ...
  • Paperwork and forms. ...
  • Employee handbook. ...
  • Onboarding plan overview. ...
  • New hire questionnaire. ...
  • Branded welcome kit. ...
  • Team structure and directory.
Apr 29, 2022

What is a new employee Starter Pack? ›

A welcome pack can be a great tool to share with your new starter all the essential information about your company so they don't need to ask. You could include: Company mission and vision/employee handbook. HR forms e.g. employee contract, benefits, company policies. Agenda for their first day and month – what to ...

What are the 3 things that every employee needs to be doing? ›

Patrick Lencioni discussed the three things all employees, in every company, need in order to have a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the work they're doing: They need to be known by their manager. They need to know their job matters. They need to know if they're doing their job well.

What is the day 1 onboarding plan? ›

Day One. The goal is to make your new hire not only feel welcome, but engage them with the entire group – not just the person who is training them. Basics like greeting her upon arrival, accompanying her to her workspace, providing a departmental tour and introductions, setting her up with ID cards, keys, etc.

What is the 4 step onboarding process? ›

Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding. Phase 2: Welcoming New Hires. Phase 3: Job-Specific Training. Phase 4: Ease of Transition to the New Hire's New Role.

What is basic onboarding flow? ›

The onboarding flow is a multi-step process that helps users get started with a new SaaS product. In most cases, the flow appears right after signup and bridges the user into the app. And for more complex SaaS, onboarding flows can appear as tooltips and guided tours inside the product.

What is an onboarding template? ›

General onboarding templates to get started

Introduce new hires to key coworkers and stakeholders. Familiarize new hires with your company's culture, tools, and processes. Provide necessary training for the new hire to do their job. Include regular feedback and check-ins between the new hire and onboarder.


1. How To Create A Successful Onboarding Process
(MarketPro, Inc.)
2. How to Onboard a New Employee
3. Employee onboarding ideas your new hires will love!
(Spitfire Advertising)
4. Our New Employee Onboarding Process Guarantees Success
(Business Made Simple in Utah)
5. ✓ New employee onboarding checklist 2019 | Checklist for onboarding a new employees
(The Human Resources Tips)
6. How to create a remote employee onboarding checklist
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