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Employee Onboarding Checklist: The Perfect Template for Success

by Siv Rauv

16 Mar 2023

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Organisations today face the sobering reality that employee turnover is increasing.

Moreover, the cost of employee turnover is increasing alongside this - costing upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.

Not surprisingly, organisations are turning to the employee onboarding process to transform new hires into happy and productive employees.

Onboarding ensures employees not only acclimate quickly into his or her role, but to the culture and organisation - leading to higher levels of satisfaction and lower turnover.

To start, you need to map out all the onboarding process steps required. This will be used to form the employee onboarding checklist template. This should then be customised to your organisation's environment, and finally to the needs of each new hire and their unique onboarding plan.

Employee Onboarding Checklist Template

Here is an outline of key initiatives to include in your own checklist.

Before the New Hire Starts

  • Call to clarify expectations on the first day, office hours, dress code etc. Also remind the recruit to bring any information required to complete forms on the first day.
  • Prepare onboarding/orientation pack with employee handbook, company info, organisational charts, job description, maps, information on each department, links to resources etc. Tip: You can start optimising the onboarding processes with your intranet.
  • Determine what small projects or tasks should the new hire begin working on. What are the required readings to catch him or her up to speed with current projects in the company.
  • Create a learning and development plan to be discussed and refined with the employee during the first week. Use this to arrange required any training.
  • Prepare office supplies, and business cards (if applicable).
  • Work with IT to prepare technology equipment and have relevant logins for work systems and business applications created. This includes standard sets for all employees including email setup and access to common drives, as well as for department/role specific platforms such as Google Analytics, Salesforce and Hubspot for marketing hires.
  • Notify department, team members and possibly the entire organisation of the new hire with start date, position etc.
  • Pre-organise meetings for the new hire with relevant team members and/or departments, and add to their calendars (who do they need to speak to on day one vs later in the week). Also, add in recurring staff meetings to their calendars.
  • Set up a welcome lunch.
  • If applicable, set up an onboarding ‘buddy’, and arrange time in their calendars to assist the recruit.

First Day

  • Tour of the organisation, welcoming the new employee and introducing them to team members, various departments, and the layout of the facility.
  • Initial meeting to manage their expectations.
  • Run them through their schedule for the week.
  • Explain the role in more detail, including how it fits in with the department and contributes to the organisation.
  • Goals and projects within the team and the wider organisation, relationships with other teams/departments and those within the team.
  • Review organisational charts.
  • Run through day-to-day work-related policies. Travel reimbursement, security, overtime compensation, lunch breaks, leave request etc.
  • Fully functioning computer, systems access and other applications critical to their roles.
  • Run through IT procedures. Network access, intranet, IT support, telephone and relevant policies. Make sure they have their login details.
  • Take employee to one-on-one or lunch with a small group.

First Week

  • Training for business applications and work systems.
  • Meeting key personnel from various departments employees will work with, plus senior management if possible.
  • Arrange a team lunch. Enable employees to meet fellow team members in an informal social setting to speed up the relationship building process, and help them better understand the dynamics of the team.
  • Create employee goals, KPIs and milestones, as well as annual performance review process. Ensure the employee has a clear expectation of job expectations for the first month and 6 months.
  • Review calendar of events.
  • Run through the tasks to be performed. Identify work related tasks to be done immediately, and make sure to provide access to resources and let them know who to ask for help.
  • Debrief after initial meetings, training and after they start their initial tasks.
  • Ensure line managers touch base at the end of each day.

During the First Few Weeks or Months

  •  Further clarify the employee’s role in the company.
  • Schedule regular one-on-one meetings, specifically to elicit feedback about how well the new employee is performing and acclimated to their organisational culture, and if there is any additional support and/or training they feel is required. They should feel well introduced to the system and is made to feel that he or she is part of the team.
  • Ensure employee is booked in for and attends additional training required.
  • Express confidence in the employee's capability and offer meaningful feedback to guide employees in the right direction. Let them know what they are doing a good job in, and constructive feedback on what could be improved.
  • Make sure it is easily for them to contact you for feedback.
  • Give the employee an important assignment to ‘own’, and explain how it contributes to the business.
  • Continue introducing them to employees in the company, and encourage them to attend social events.

During the First Three Months, then Six Months

  • Initial review of progress towards KPIs and milestones. This is important in identifying training required to cover any gaps in skill, knowledge or competence that may be affecting the worker’s productivity.
  • Request feedback from employees to understand their perceptions of the job and if it aligns with their expectations.
  • Request feedback from team in regards to new employee performance, and how well they ‘fit’ within the team culture.
  • Offer continued support to help guide the worker’s attitude and productivity.

Use the information above as the employee onboarding checklist template to ensure you do not miss any critical steps.

Then book in time with key members of each department, and have them simulate the new employee onboarding process to get a better understanding of what is required for each department, and specific roles.

Onboarding is a long-term process. It starts before the employee begins and continues at least until the first six months, and ideally, up to a year. It also often means the difference between an organisation with high turnover, and one filled with engaged and productive employees who choose to stay for several years.

Next Steps

For more information on employee onboarding best practices including insights on planning, setting up and measuring success, check out the Employee Onboarding Best Practices Guide and Checklist.

Employee Onboarding Best Practice Guide - Blog Banner

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