Free New Hire Onboarding Checklist for Successful Onboarding

There’s much more to the onboarding experience than filling out new hire paperwork and background checks. By guiding new recruits […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop


There’s much more to the onboarding experience than filling out new hire paperwork and background checks.

By guiding new recruits through the early phases of their employment, you’ll help them adapt to their new roles more quickly and seamlessly

Keep in mind that new hires require a particular welcome to the company throughout their first days and weeks on the job.

In this post, we’ll take you through all the related details to a successful onboarding checklist and how to reach the stage of a settled new employee.

We’re going to discuss the following:

  • What’s a new hire onboarding checklist?
  • Why is having a new hire checklist important?
  • Five things to include in your new hire checklist

Plus, we’ve included a free new hire onboarding checklist template to help you through the recruiting process. 

Let’s jump right in. 

Table of Contents

What’s a New Hire Onboarding Checklist?

Why is Having a New Hire Checklist Important?

5 Things to Include in Your New Hire Checklist

Download Our Free New Hire Onboarding Checklist Template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s a New Hire Onboarding Checklist?

A new hire onboarding checklist is a list that covers supplying new recruits with the resources they need to join a company properly, know its culture, and understand their job description thoroughly. 

In addition, the list aims to set goals and training objectives.

The onboarding checklist also includes orientation for new employees and introducing them to their coworkers. 

To retain and attract top talent, organizations must do a great job welcoming new employees and preparing them for success.

Why is this checklist important, though? 

The answer to that is up next.

Why is Having a New Hire Checklist Important?

More than half of new employees leave within 18 months after starting a company, according to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). 

New employees will feel more appreciated, better understand their position within the first month, and be more productive and engaged if you have an efficient onboarding procedure in place. 

Once an employee accepts an offer, the onboarding process typically lasts for at least the first year of work. 

Therefore, you should start by sketching out the most critical touchpoints for new employees.

Organizations must recognize the need to go beyond the usual new employee orientation and develop a successful onboarding checklist. 

We’ll get into those reasons below.

Reason #1: Increased employee retention

In addition to the onboarding process itself, the amount of time it takes to onboard new employees can significantly influence the newcomers’ experience and employee retention rates

New hires typically need at least eight months to become fully proficient in their new positions. 

Interestingly, most new employee onboarding procedures for new employees don’t go beyond the first 90 days. 

Even more intriguing is the fact that 23% of new employees quit their jobs during the first year of employment. 

Research reveals that high turnover rates are caused, in part, by a lack of assistance for new recruits during their first year of employment.

It’s also been revealed that longer onboarding processes speed up the time it takes for workers to become fully effective members of the team. 

In addition, it’s indicated that employees in firms with lengthier onboarding programs were 34 percent more likely than those in organizations with shorter programs to achieve competence levels. 

Adopting a long-term onboarding strategy will help you increase both staff retention and new recruit productivity.

Reason #2: Complete essential onboarding processes and steps

Employers should address the following essential questions before launching an employee onboarding process to get the team and top management buy-in:

  • When will the onboarding process begin?
  • How long is it going to last?
  • What impression do you want new employees to have at the end of their first day and first week?
  • What should new workers know about the company’s culture and working environment?
  • What role will human resources play in the process? What about direct supervisors? Co-workers?
  • What type of objectives do you want to create for new hires?
  • How will you collect program feedback and assess its success?

Once these questions are addressed, the HR team, hiring managers, and top management will be able to design an effective onboarding strategy to assist new workers to quickly and easily grasp company policies and processes while becoming completely familiar with the organization’s culture.

Let’s see our next reason.

Reason #3: Establish and maintain a strong company culture

In-office and remote employees must be given the attention they need to fully immerse themselves in your company culture.

A lack of cultural immersion means that their onboarding will never be finished in a real sense and they’ll be looking for a new job soon.

Keep in mind that 86% of new employees make a decision about whether or not to stay at their new companies within the first six months.

Here are a few important points to keep in mind.

Introduce culture prior to the start date 

  • Your company culture should have been a major consideration during the interview and candidate evaluation process.  
  • Do your best to personalize each candidate’s application with a tailored job offer letter.
  • Work with new recruits between their acceptance and their start date to create rapport and resolve any issues or inquiries that can arise.
  • Use new hire packages that enable staff to complete paperwork prior to their employee start date, freeing their first day for other vital tasks such as culture training.
  • Introduce new employees to your company’s purpose, vision, and values by presenting them with relevant information.

Enforce a sense of culture by offering specific information

  • A new employee’s first few days at work should be devoted to learning about the firm and their position, as well as being comfortable in both environments. 
  • Training new workers extensively on your company’s culture and creating clear expectations is an important element of both.
  • Introduce new employees to the purpose and rationale of your organization’s mission.
  • Introduce your company’s main goals to new employees and make sure they understand their reasoning.
  • Teach your company’s values to new recruits and show them in action and how they are put into practice on a daily basis.
  • Encourage and discourage the actions and attitudes that are acceptable and unacceptable in your business to new employees.
  • Describe your company’s history, including its high points and low points, as well as the lessons learned from each.

Moving on. 

Reason #4: Employees are happier and more productive 

Employees that receive good onboarding plans are 60 percent more productive than those who don’t. 

One of the primary goals of onboarding is to start a chain reaction of good outcomes.

Also, reducing time-to-productivity is great news for the company’s bottom line. 

Faster and better work performance will be the ultimate result if employees are helped enough to become more productive. 

The advantages to the worker are considerably more substantial. 

When a new employee achieves their performance goals and makes a significant contribution, they begin to feel like an integral part of the team rather than simply “the new employee”.

It’s at this point that their work begins to seem fulfilling and they’re compelled to improve.

Moving on to the five things you must include in your new hire checklist. 

5 Things to Include in Your New Hire Checklist

Companies with more involved employees outperform those with less engaged employees in terms of profitability. 

The following are some of the advantages of having more motivated workers:

  • Increased income
  • Decreased turn-over rate
  • Better safety records
  • Improved product quality
  • Increased positive feedback from clients
  • Employees are out of the office for fewer days

We want to help you achieve all of these, so we’ve made you a full checklist with five main tasks and their related sub-tasks. 

Author’s Note: We’ve included employee names in the lower tabs so you can keep everything organized and polished.

Check out how our checklist looks:

1. First-day actions

The new employee’s first day needs to make a great first impression. 

By following our employee onboarding checklist, your new hire’s first day will be a breeze. 

You have the status tab where you can choose: ‘’In progress’’, ‘’Completed’’ or ‘’Not started’’. 

We’ve also included the comment section so you can note down any remarks. 

Set expectations

Employees are more likely to accomplish their goals if their expectations are clearly defined, which can help remove or minimize any uncertainty. 

Most professionals like knowing they’re on the correct path, despite their dislike of being micromanaged. 

It’s important to set expectations and communicate employee responsibilities to new hires. 

Introduce objectives

Collaboration is essential in this stage because it helps workers to personalize their goals while also ensuring that their aims are matched with the company’s vision to encourage employees.

Both long-term employees and new hires should be able to relate to the company’s mission and vision statements.

Employees will be more motivated and the firm will be more cohesive if the aims and values of the organization are apparent. 

They’ll consider their achievement as a reflection of the company’s success. 

Increasing employee commitment and output is easier when new hires are allowed to see their place in the larger scheme of things.

To impact your employee’s professional development, your goals must be attainable.

 With the SMART framework, you should set goals that are:

  • Specific: answer who, what when, where, and why
  • Measurable: quantitative in nature
  • Attainable: within reach
  • Relevant: tied to the company mission
  • Timely: with time frames to maintain urgency

Make job duties and responsibilities clear 

New employees must be both mentally and emotionally prepared for their new positions. 

If you give them too much at once, they may become discouraged and believe they have little chance of success. 

This frequently depletes the employee’s reserves of motivation. 

In order to deal with this, it’s important to define milestones and provide training materials in small batches. 

A new batch should be given to the employee after they’ve finished the previous one. 

Each success will serve as a source of inspiration for the new employee, giving them a sense of purpose and reassurance that they’re on the right track. 

Make your new hire feel part of the team

Formalities on the first day of work can be unpleasant, especially if you’re dealing with a massive amount of new hire paperwork. 

Have your employees electronically sign their papers and direct deposit forms instead of manually filling them out to save time. 

Additionally, you’ll have everything you need in one convenient location, making it easier to find when you need it. 

If possible, have new hires fill out these forms in advance rather than waiting until their first day on the job.

The most stressful part of starting a new job is likely to be taking on new duties. 

You can soothe your new team member’s first-day jitters by providing them with a clear, complete new hire training program.

It’s a terrific technique to make a new employee feel at home on the first day of work by organizing a team activity for employee engagement. 

Among the possibilities are:

  • Hosting a catered lunch or a potluck where everyone brings a dish
  • Organizing a company outing to a nearby bistro
  • Planning an after-work happy hour

It’s important to hold these kinds of gatherings so that new and current workers can mingle in a less formal setting and form lasting bonds and channels of communication.

Gifts are a great way to greet a new employee, so don’t forget to include:

Let’s check the first three months’ actions.

2. First three months actions

The 90-day mark is a good time to check in with the employee and discuss their performance and opinions about their work environment. 

Continue to introduce the employee to many elements of the business, even those unrelated to their work role, and include them in corporate social activities, both official and informal, to introduce them to more facets of the corporate culture.

Make sure the new hire is aware of essential organizational processes

Onboarding begins with providing new workers with the knowledge they need to function each day.

For example, they’ll need to know:

  • Where to park their car and obtain an ID card
  • How to access the building
  • How to enroll in health insurance

Additionally, it’s critical to educate them about your working “language”. 

There’s almost always a plethora of mysterious acronyms used by businesses to describe critical processes or jobs – decoding them may be one of the most challenging obstacles for new workers.

Make sure the new hire has access to resources, tools, and supplies

For example, request all gadgets and equipment many days in advance to guarantee that everything is in place on the first day of the new hire’s employment.

From the minute an employee arrives, everything from their computer and phone to their keyboard and mouse should be connected and ready to use.

Contact your information technology team, facility management, and accounting department to ensure that the employee is configured in all relevant systems and is equipped with the necessary assets to access the premises. 

Be sure that your company email account is configured correctly and collect their login credentials for various tools and platforms to ensure they have no difficulty accessing applications and software necessary to perform their work.

Cultivate and promote company culture

One critical aspect of establishing culture is to start from the beginning. 

Working with new recruits in understanding business culture can help them fit in and workers who feel included are more likely to stick around. 

Businesses that prioritize the development and maintenance of a healthy culture have been proven to have a 40% increase in staff retention

Employees who identify with and believe in their organization’s vision and values will be not only happier, but also more productive.

Additionally, a strong culture plays a critical role in recruiting top personnel. Job searchers believe that culture is a critical factor to consider when evaluating career possibilities.

Once a new recruit is onboarded, the job is far from complete. 

Maintaining engaged, invested, high-performing people has a direct influence on performance, and the key to engagement is culture.

Review and give thoughtful feedback

In the workspace, feedback encourages good conduct and directly influences behavioral adjustments. 

While it’s useful to provide and accept constructive criticism regarding areas for growth, it’s as important to use positive language.

Positive feedback is communication that acknowledges another person’s abilities, accomplishments, or success. 

Giving and receiving good and constructive comments benefits everyone. 

Delivering feedback is a management job and individual contributors should also prioritize recognizing their colleagues’ talents.

Positive – or negative – feedback should be well-considered before being delivered to the person. 

If you’re in a position to provide positive comments, consider how you may provide precise information that’ll help your audience realize why what they did was excellent.

Allow your new hire to pick a mentor or buddy

Anyone can experience stress when entering a new environment. 

Make it simpler for the new recruit by pairing them with another employee in your corporation. 

A buddy system promotes cooperation and support for your new recruit and is ideal for addressing concerns about the workplace that the new hire might be hesitant to approach their line manager about.

Moving on to the next phase of onboarding.

3. Onboarding actions after the first three months

After the first three months have passed, things will start to be easier to figure out for your new hire. 

Organize regular catch up sessions

You can implement the following steps in your catch up sessions for great results:

  • Allocate time to go through agenda items and critical priorities
  • Provide and receive feedback, including a performance review
  • Use coaching to increase employee growth and performance
  • Discuss career advancement
  • Continue to develop a personal relationship with your new staff
  • Find out how satisfied new employees are with their jobs
  • Determine action items
  • Receive real-time information on critical projects

Continue providing on-the-job training

New employee training is a critical component of the recruiting process since it educates new recruits about the company’s values, vision, and objectives, as well as how to succeed in their specific job. 

Hence, on-the-job training should still be part of the learning curve even after the first three months. 

Here are the steps you should follow to figure out the most effective training for new staff:

  • Determine new hire training methods before you begin
  • Offer assistance
  • Maintain constant contact with your new employees
  • Regularly provide feedback

Identify and solve issues your new hire might be facing and encourage your new hire to keep sharing questions and concerns

You have a great deal of information to share with your new staff. 

Make sure you do more than only speaking to your new staff and failing to include their questions and input into the dialogue. 

People want to feel heard throughout their productive relationship with you, so get off to a good start.

Inquire about any worries your new employee may have, what they want to learn to further their career, what inspires them, and how they like to get feedback. 

This dialogue will reveal a great deal about your new hire.

4. Onboarding actions after the first six months

Managers and mentors should engage with the new recruit through a six-month employee performance metrics evaluation to assess not just the employee’s work duties, but also the onboarding process’s effectiveness. 

The individual should now be wholly incorporated into the team’s workflow and corporate culture. 

You should concentrate on:

  • Focusing from ongoing training to continuous development
  • Reviewing onboarding effectiveness and success
  • Reviewing new hire productivity and engagement
  • Reviewing employee satisfaction

By six months, your new hires should feel at ease in their job and on their team. 

As you collect and assess comments, keep in mind that employees should:

  • Feel liked by their colleagues and that they can depend on them
  • Recognize that their teammates are dedicated to the organization’s objectives
  • Understand the team’s objectives and responsibilities
  • Possess the knowledge necessary to do their duties effectively

At this level, your feedback approach should be to prioritize peer-to-peer input, hold robust one-on-one dialogues, and run an annual staff engagement and onboarding survey.

Peer feedback should be extended to new recruits; new hires have the same feelings and behaviors as established workers, so feedback shouldn’t deteriorate. 

This is an excellent opportunity, though, to improve new workers’ participation in peer feedback.

Employees who are six months into their employment should begin participating in 360-degree feedback.

This enables them to provide and receive feedback, so maintaining your feedback culture and providing you with useful insights into the viewpoints and experiences of both new and established team members can be a great turning point. 

5. Ongoing employee orientation and engagement actions

The process of helping new workers adapt to your business is called new hire orientation

You can organize team-building sessions and mental health sessions.

Your new hiring orientation should include the following:

  • The business, its culture, and its philosophy
  • Their division
  • Their coworkers
  • Their obligations

New hire orientation can last from a few days to a few months depending on the function of the new recruit and the nature of the organization.

Considering mental health at work can be challenging. 

You can organize a session using a very basic model:

  • Recognize the impact of mental health on employees
  • Utilize personal accounts from those who battle with their own mental health to assist everyone to understand what it’s like
  • Consider conducting an anonymous staff poll to explore the degree to which your own employees’ mental health is impacted
  • Incorporate quotations and thoughts from this into the session
  • As a group, discuss the major insights – think about the impact of a person’s mental health on their job based on what the group presently knows

Let’s check our downloadable onboarding checklist next.

Download Our Free New Hire Onboarding Checklist Template

Onboarding is much too critical to the overall employee engagement and the health of your business to take an inefficient and chaotic approach.

Take these best practices to heart, use the stated actions appropriately, and depend on our insightful ideas to tap into the potential of timely, honest, and illuminating feedback throughout a new hire’s first few months on the job.

We’ve made the process a bit easier for you with a checklist template that can help you save both time and resources when it comes to onboarding. 

You can access our template here:

New Hire Onboarding Checklist

Our onboarding template is easy to navigate and use. 

You’ll find all of our above-mentioned steps and you can save our document for future reference, too. 

Our steps have come to an end!

Now Over to You

A successful onboarding process will help you build a stronger employer brand both internally and publicly.

When new employees join an organization, they’re very likely drawn to it by the employer brand. 

Utilize this chance to establish your organization as a hip place to work and to show that you care about your workers in all areas. 

This involves an onboarding procedure that reinforces a sense of welcome in new staff.

When workers get a warm welcome to the business, take advantage of this opportunity to promote their personal brand. 

Encourage staff to share their new experiences and perspectives on your organization. 

Remember, your workers are the face of your company; they connect with consumers and share information about their professions with their social circles. 

How your workers see your company reflects how the general public perceives it.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What’s the difference between a new hire onboarding checklist and an employee orientation checklist?

An employee orientation checklist includes all tasks connected with onboarding a new employee.

On the other hand, an employee onboarding checklist may take many months, depending on the length of the training and the regularity of check-in meetings, as it teaches new employees everything from doing their job to corporate culture.

Q2. What are the 5 C’s of onboarding?

The “5 C’s” of onboarding refer to: 

  • Compliance
  • Clarification
  • Culture
  • Connection
  • Check back

Q3. What should be included in a new hire onboarding?

To create an effective onboarding strategy, you must first know what your new recruits need from you.

A new hire onboarding process should include the following:

  • Set job duties and responsibilities clearly
  • Cultivate and promote company culture
  • Allow your new hire to pick a mentor or buddy
  • Shift focus from ongoing training to continuous development
  • Organize team-building sessions

Q4. What’s the best way to measure the success of onboarding?

Here are some metrics you could consider when measuring the success of your onboarding:

  • Consider the turnover of new hires
  • Contrast new recruits’ performance with that of existing staff
  • Utilize the knowledge gained by new recruits to evaluate your onboarding process
  • Determine the effect of your hiring process on new recruits

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