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Onboarding Employee Experience

What to Include in Your Onboarding Checklist Template

September 27, 2022
6 min read
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The Essential Guide to Onboarding in Today’s Modern Workplace


Employee onboarding is more than signing a few documents and watching a few training videos. There are a lot of steps your HR team has to take when a new employee is hired and during their first few months. Some of these steps are a requirement, like completing background checks and verifying employment eligibility. Other onboarding steps may not be required in the same sense, but they’re necessary if you want to create an experience that boosts retention, productivity, and engagement. 

According to Gallup, employees who say onboarding was exceptional are more than three times as likely to say their job is as good or better than expected. But with so many onboarding tasks to complete, how can you ensure new hires go through the same great onboarding process? 

Create an onboarding checklist template to make it easier for human resources teams and hiring managers to onboard new hires. This way you can be sure every new employee has a consistent, holistic onboarding experience tailored to their role. 

Start with these foundational pieces to build your own onboarding checklist template. We’ve broken it down into five checklists for the different stages of onboarding. Complete these important steps for a successful onboarding experience every time.

Create an #onboarding checklist template for your #HR team to use at each stage of the #employeeonboarding process:

Checklist #1: The Welcome Message

After the offer letter has been signed and the start date is set, don’t leave new hires wondering what comes next. Their HR contact should send a welcome email promptly with everything the new hire needs to know. If they haven’t yet met the new hire, the HR contact should start by introducing themselves, and if they have, by congratulating the employee on their new role. 

Your HR team can use this checklist for a message that is detailed and sets new employees at ease:

  • A personal “welcome to the team” message
  • Confirmation of their start date, time, and location (if applicable)
  • Contact information for the HR contact and the hiring manager
  • A list of documents needed for background checks, employment eligibility verification, payroll enrollment, etc. 
  • Company policies, procedures, and benefits packets
  • Internal company culture resources
  • A schedule and need-to-know information for their first day at work, like dress code or a Zoom link if they’re starting remotely

Checklist #2: Pre-onboarding

The time between offer letter acceptance and start date can be a few days or a few months, and in that time, there are some tasks HR can do to prepare to onboard new employees. Use this pre-onboarding checklist template so everyone is ready for the new hire:

  • Set up accounts for the new hire’s email, software programs, intranet, and other HR systems
  • List any paperwork the employee needs to complete
  • Order equipment (laptops, cell phones, monitors, etc.) and mail it if employees are remote
  • Put together a welcome package and mail if employees are remote
  • Designate a workspace for in-office employees
  • Ensure the hiring manager shares the news with their team members

For many roles, you can prompt employees to start onboarding prior to their start date — especially if you’re using onboarding software. With software, new employees can log into a new hire portal, where your HR team has compiled role-specific information, documents, and resources, and start the digital employee onboarding process. There, they can fill out digital forms and your team can check these items off the list effortlessly prior to day one: 

  • Background checks
  • I-9s and tax documentation
  • Payroll and benefits enrollment

Download ClearCompany’s Onboarding Bundle and get resources for creating an outstanding onboarding experience!

Checklist #3: Day One

Employees’ first day is a formative one. They’re getting the lay of the land; meeting colleagues, learning their onboarding plan, and absorbing tons of information about their role and the company. Since that can be an overwhelming experience, creating an employee onboarding checklist for day one helps new hires feel like they’re supported rather than drowning.

Here are some checklist items for day one of onboarding:

  • Schedule a meeting with the new employee, HR, and hiring manager first thing
  • Send out a company-wide announcement welcoming the new employee
  • Complete new hire paperwork, if not done during pre-onboarding
  • Make sure new hires’ equipment is working properly and they can access necessary software programs and accounts
  • Set up a meeting, lunch, activity, or virtual meeting with the new hire’s whole team
Dedicate time to relationship-building during the #employeeonboarding process to engage and retain your new hires:

Checklist #4: Week One

Much like the first day, new hires will spend most of the first week on introductions, both to existing employees and to their job duties. They should begin training programs, get a feel for company culture, and get access to any additional equipment or resources they need. 

Complete these items during week one to cultivate engagement and new hire retention:

  • Start required training programs or orientation classes
  • Pair new employees with an onboarding buddy if possible
  • Schedule cross-departmental meetings so new hires can start building connections outside of their team
  • Make sure employees understand the company policies and procedures, including PTO, sick leave, transportation benefits, wellness programs, etc.
  • Provide extra resources, training, and equipment, if needed

Checklist #5: 90-Day

Though much longer new hire onboarding programs are recommended for many roles, onboarding that lasts at least 90 days shows employees you’re invested in their success. An extended onboarding program allows employees to take on their new job duties at a measured pace and leads to increased productivity. This is when most employees decide if the role is what they expected and if they feel they belong at your company. 

Use this time to build trust with new employees by asking for their feedback and scheduling frequent check-ins with their managers. HR teams can learn which onboarding strategies are most effective and hiring managers can set clear expectations and learn how to motivate and communicate with new hires. 

  • Send new hires a survey asking them to rate their onboarding experience
  • Send surveys to hiring managers to rate new hires so far, and meet with them to discuss the results
  • Conduct a new hire performance review to gauge performance and prepare them for future review cycles
  • Meet with new hires to make sure they feel prepared and have everything they need to be full-fledged employees

Ready to build your own onboarding checklist? Download our onboarding checklist template and start streamlining your processes today.

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