Skip to main content

In this post, you’ll find a downloadable, free new hire checklist template to help you start employee onboarding, along with some tips for making the most of it.

Before You Start: Check out my article, The Ultimate New Hire Checklist: 10 Steps to Start Onboarding, for a deep-dive into everything you should do and have prepared for your new team member.

According to the Association for Talent Development, onboarding is the process of “organizational socialization... through which new hires acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will ensure their success in an organization.

An onboarding program includes a variety of human resources activities that start well before day one of the person’s employment, such as:

  • Present your new hire with an employment contract;
  • Send an employee welcome letter / email and personalized welcome kit;
  • Send an employee handbook or summary of company policies;
  • Complete new hire paperwork;
  • Provide opportunities to meet team members; and
  • Create a training and development plan.

Why Is Employee Orientation And Onboarding Important?

Onboarding is an important part of helping new hires learn everything from their job description to the company culture

Research shows that implementing an effective new hire onboarding process and structured orientation program can have a huge positive impact on long-term success, and helps to:

  • Maximize retention and loyalty;
  • Maximize feelings of belonging and inclusion;
  • Maximize productivity; and 
  • Minimize business risk.

Onboarding remote workers for the first time? Our guide can teach you How To Onboard Remote Workers So They Feel 100% Connected.

When Does New Hire Orientation And Onboarding Start?

Try to start on step one of the checklist as soon as possible, and ideally well in advance of the new hire’s first day and first week of work. 

Many organizations will mistakenly wait until the new team member’s start date to continue orientation and onboarding. In many cases, however, there will be a delay of days, weeks, or even months before your new team member begins their new job. 

What Are The Key Success Factors For This Checklist?

This new hire checklist will only be successful if you also keep in mind a number of factors:

  1. Transparency: minimize surprises for the new hire.
  2. Preparation: get meetings, training, and people scheduled in advance to help.
  3. Patience: be patient with your new team member as they make mistakes.
  4. Paced: don’t overwhelm the new team member, which can lead to things being missed.
  5. Resources: let them know who key individuals are, how to contact them, and where resources like employee handbooks, benefits package information, emergency contact information, health insurance information, and policy manuals can be found.

If you make it a priority to demonstrate transparency, be prepared, practice patience, and equip the new employee with the resources they need, the following 10-step new hire checklist will ensure a positive and productive start to employee onboarding.

What's The New Hire Checklist Template For?

The new hire checklist template helps walks you through the process of what to do after sending an offer letter and hearing back that the candidate wants to accept the position.

You can use the checklist throughout their first month to make sure you're covering the entire hiring process, from giving a warm employee welcome on your new hire's first day to logistics like getting them set up with a contract, direct deposit form, and other important documents.

Most of the steps in this employee onboarding checklist would be considered part of the employee orientation program. It is designed to help you get your new team members started quickly and efficiently, and will take you all the way from making an official job offer to the start of your new employee’s first day and first week of work.


Get our new hire checklist template!

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive the New Hire Checklist, our newsletter, and occasional emails related to People Managing People. For details, review our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. We're protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You can stay up to date with the latest how-to guides, podcast episodes and thought leadership from the folks shaping the future of people and culture, sign up for the People Managing People newsletter.

Looking into getting the technology to modernize your onboarding process? Here's our list of the 10 Best HR Software For Onboarding New Hires [2023]

By Mike Gibbons

Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and product strategy; organizational and team development; and business growth and operations. He's held various senior leadership positions in the technology industry, and in 2016 participated as a lead member of the deal team responsible for the sale of Point Grey Research to FLIR Systems for USD$256M. Mike is guided by his deeply-held beliefs in connection, curiosity, humour, empathy, and honesty. Since leaving the corporate world in 2018, he's provide fractional executive and growth and strategic planning advisory services that have helped several early stage companies mature, grow responsibly, and live true to their values.