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Onboarding Checklist: Best Practices for Welcoming New Employees


Onboarding new employees is a significant and sometimes intricate process, making it easy to overlook essential steps. This onboarding checklist for new hires will help you keep your onboarding process organized and on schedule. Use it to stay focused and ensure no tasks are missed.

A checklist not only ensures a smooth onboarding process for the new hire but also helps create a positive first impression of the organization.

Streamline your onboarding process by including the following steps in your checklist:

Preboarding Checklist

Preboarding is an onboarding step that takes place before the new employee’s first day at work.

It’s crucial to use this time to keep the individual engaged and prepare your existing colleagues and the office for the new hire’s arrival.

Step 1: Send a Welcome Email to Your New Employee

Preboarding Checklist–Welcome Email

Download the complete checklist

Sending an email to the new hire before their start date serves two main purposes:

  1. Keep them engaged and excited about starting their new job
  2. Provide essential information about what to expect on their first day

A new hire welcome email should include:

  • A warm welcome
  • Information about the start day (date, time, and location)
  • First-day schedule
  • Instructions for parking, office directions, etc.
  • Contact person (in case they have questions before the start date)

You can also attach documents or links to:

  • Employee handbook
  • A brief company information sheet about its products, services, employees, and company culture.

Bonus Idea:

  • A fun welcome video or GIF.

Step 2: Email Existing Employees

Preboarding Checklist–Internal Email

Don’t forget to send an email to your current employees to inform them of the new colleague joining the team.

Keep this email concise with basic information such as:

  • Position and department/team
  • New hire’s start date and location
  • A brief background of the new hire (work experience, education, interests, etc.)
  • Time and date for a welcome coffee or lunch (where existing employees can meet and greet the new colleague)

Step 3: Prepare the Employee’s Workspace with Materials and Equipment

Preboarding Checklist–Preparation

Before the new hire’s first day, there are several things to prepare:

  • Ensure office furniture (e.g., desk, chair, cabinet, etc.) is in place
  • Order IT equipment (e.g., computer, monitor, mouse, keyboard, phone, headset, etc.)
  • Install necessary software on the employee’s computer
  • Set up a new email account and all other required accounts
  • Add the employee to relevant calendars, email lists, chat groups, forums, etc.
  • Order business cards
  • Prepare relevant HR documents
  • Ensure office keys and/or ID cards are ready
  • Prepare a welcome package
  • Organize a welcome activity (food and drinks, team activity, games, quiz, etc.)
  • Book a restaurant for lunch (if needed)
  • Arrange parking for the employee (if necessary)

Onboarding Checklist – First Day

Onboarding Checklist–First Day Welcome

The big day is finally here!

Follow this detailed step-by-step guide to organize your employee’s first day at work!

Step 1: Welcome Coffee

  • Organize a morning coffee gathering to welcome the employee
  • Introduce the employee to the entire team
  • Hand over the welcome package

Step 2: Office Tour

  • Show the employee around the office
  • Conduct an office tour, ensuring to show the kitchen, restrooms, emergency exits, safety equipment, etc.
  • Introduce the employee to various individuals

Step 3: Set Up Desk, Supplies, and Equipment

Onboarding Checklist–First Day Set up

Take your employee to their workspace and help them settle in:

  • Provide the employee with office supplies
  • Distribute key cards, parking passes, etc.
  • Assist the employee in setting up their IT equipment
  • Provide instructions for using IT and other office equipment (e.g., printers, internet, etc.)

Step 4: HR Documents (Paperwork)

Have the employee meet with your HR team to review:

  • Salary payments, discounts, and benefits
  • Work policies and procedures (e.g., vacation days, sick days, overtime, etc.)
  • Safety and emergency exits
  • Assist the employee in:
    • Completing all necessary forms, contracts, etc.

Step 5: Lunch

Take the employee out for lunch with the team. An external lunch provides an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other in a more relaxed and informal setting.

Step 6: Meeting with CEO

Onboarding Checklist–First Day CEO

Have your CEO personally welcome the employee and present:

  • Company’s history
  • Company’s mission, vision, and values
  • Company goals and future plans
  • Discuss how the new employee can contribute and influence company objectives

Step 7: Meeting with Direct Supervisor

Onboarding Checklist–First Day Supervisor

Have the employee meet their direct supervisor to:

  • Review job description and responsibilities
  • Jointly set clear and measurable goals
  • Explain expectations for the first month
  • Don’t forget to inquire about the employee’s expectations and aspirations
  • Discuss the employee’s future plans and career development

Step 8: Team Activity

Ensure you organize a fun activity with the team! If not possible, gather your team before the day ends for a coffee break. This is a pleasant way to conclude the employee’s first day.

Onboarding Checklist – First Week

Onboarding Checklist–First Week

During the first week, the employee needs your full support to grasp the basics of their new role and immerse in the company culture.

  • Check in daily with the employee (preferably over a cup of coffee)
  • Schedule regular meetings (group meetings, one-to-one, etc.)
  • Schedule introductory meetings with various teams/departments
  • Take a photo of the employee and post it on the website, intranet, etc.
  • Organize and schedule software and system training
  • Organize and schedule any other necessary training
  • Recommend useful reading materials (e-books, articles, blogs to follow, etc.)
  • Organize social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee breaks, group activities, etc.)

Onboarding Checklist – First, Third, and Sixth Month

Onboarding Checklist–First 6 Months

During the first month, you can assist the employee in their growth, learning about the company, and building relationships.

After three months, in most cases, the employee can start working independently.

By six months, the employee should have settled into their role and become comfortable.

It’s essential during this period to continuously:

  • Seek feedback on the onboarding process (employee survey and/or interview)
  • Provide feedback (follow up on goals and results)
  • Organize and schedule relevant training
  • Direct social activities and gatherings (team lunches, coffee breaks, team exercises/activities, etc.)

Onboarding Checklist Summary

Onboarding is a pivotal process that sets the tone for a new hire’s experience in a company. This checklist ensures a smooth transition for the new employee, fostering a positive first impression and setting the foundation for their future success in the company. Use it as a guide to ensure no step is overlooked, and welcome your new team members effectively.

The checklist is now ready to be downloaded in your inbox.

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