New Employee Onboarding Checklist [with FREE Sample!]

Key Takeaways
An onboarding checklist template saves you time when you have a new hire. Ensure a smooth start with this new employee onboarding checklist sample.

Would you rather eat a pair of dirty gym socks than hire new employees?

But dude, your team is at capacity and you’ve got to expand.

It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem if your employee onboarding is a jumbled mess of nope.

Your company is only as strong as its people — your greatest asset. You’ve got to hire and retain the best and brightest.

But, womp womp womp. Managers have a nasty habit of overlooking past employee experience, and this can bump up your turnover rates. Some research has suggested that 20% of new hires leave within 45 days of employment.

Another huge culprit behind high turnover? Sucky employee onboarding processes. Or no onboarding process.


You need a smooth, comprehensive onboarding journey that can ensure employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction.

So let’s take your onboarding process from lackluster to hero with this new employee onboarding checklist example.

The onboarding process is optimal for employers to give a good first impression, emotionally connect with new hires and set the foundation right for a healthy professional relationship and positive results. It is crucial that this opportunity doesn’t go to waste.

On the flip side, if your company is a mess right off the bat, it could leave a negative, and usually lasting, impression and lessen the incentive to perform well.

This happens more than you think. Onboarding is a complicated process, and tasks get forgotten or left out. Or, sometimes, employers overwhelm their new hires with an overload of information on the first day. Or simply put, death by orientation. Sloppy, or no onboarding process can cause initially energetic and eager employees to get confused or disconnection to their work.

So what exactly does it take to ace new employee onboarding and make it a smooth journey?

Having an employee onboarding checklist can help drive more efficient onboarding and avoid missing the mark during sessions.

Each employee learns differently. Ensure that the onboarding experience is tailored to suit the needs of every individual.

New Employee Onboarding Checklist Sample to Help Organizations Onboard New Hires

As with any internal project management, it is important to have a procedure in place to ensure that employees and operations are in sync.

Our New Employee Onboarding Checklist Sample takes all the guesswork out of orientation. Find out how to get your organization ready to welcome new hires and to set a good first impression.

Include Pre-welcome Tasks in Your Employee Onboarding Checklist

Before the first day, it is important to be prepared to welcome the new hire with the right resources and attitude. When there is a lack of communication right after the interview to the first day of work, new hires may get a negative impression. You don’t want your new hire to show up not knowing anything about the company beforehand.

Having a pre-welcome task checklist can help you set everything straight before the actual onboarding. It also sets a precedent for the way the company manages and organizes.

  1. Contact the new hire to confirm attendance, convey important information (e.g dress code, office address, start time)
  2. Send a welcome email
  3. Set up goals and paperwork
  4. Prepare digital and physical workspace for new hire
  5. Ensure that training materials are prepared

Before D-Day

Before your new hire storms the beaches of Normandy and helps your team conquer their deliverables, your current employees need to be briefed.

Other than preparing the human resources department and new hires, loop in all members of the company on the new addition. This is an important step in fostering engagement and promoting communication.

New employees will also be able to prepare themselves to welcome their new colleagues. It can be great to hold a proper meet-or-greet session or conference call so that new and existing employees can create an emotional bond.

However, if the workforce is dispersed, there are some general steps to take before Day 1 that are included in the new member onboarding checklist:

  1. Inform your other employees of new hires by sending out a company-wide announcement. This should include important details like their name, introduction, bio, job description, and team members, etc.
  2. Designate a coworker to be the go-to person for the new hire and brief this person on what they can help with.
  3. Plan a workplace tour of the office grounds with your new hire.
  4. Arrange meetings and training sessions as part of your onboarding program.

Btw, make sure you download the free Team Onboarding Toolkit. It’ll give your people the tools they need to kick ass, take names, and chew more bubblegum.

Your new hire’s first day: Onboarding checklist tasks

Now, the time has come for your workforce to meet with the new arrival. Ensuring a smooth start on Day 1 will lead to a smooth journey for new employees. Do not overlook this! No matter how well your pre-onboarding tasks are carried out, this is the first time the new hire will get to experience the workplace first-hand and build lasting connections.

You want to make things as easy as possible without overwhelming them. At the same time, give them enough information and time to adapt to their new environment.

In the new onboarding checklist template, you will find:

  1. Welcome new hires upon arrival and introduce them to teams and management personnel
  2. Hand them any welcome package or necessary materials (e.g. uniforms, handbooks)
  3. Discuss company policies and Standard Operating Procedures, break times, and more.
  4. Introduce new employees to digital systems and physical workspace
  5. Discuss company values and company mission
  6. Review and confirm that the employee is familiar with the new environment and has received all the relevant materials
  7. If needed, extend the time or schedule more sessions to help them familiarize themselves.

Week 1

A crucial part of any project management is what comes after the execution. There are a few questions you can ask.

Is this current strategy sufficient and effective? Are there any touchpoints that you may have overlooked? Will this be the best solution going forward and for future hires? What are some ways it can be improved?

Especially if your organization has just started implementing a new onboarding process, there will definitely be some refinements along the way. Review the onboarding process and get feedback to ensure that it has gone smoothly. Plug any missing gaps or information in the new hire onboarding that may have been missed.

  1. Ask how the first week went and whether they have any questions
  2. Review training schedules and technology functions
  3. Discuss the working structure and company culture
  4. Discuss policies and cyclical programs
  5. Review goals pertaining to their job description, expectations, and deadlines

Next steps: Get your employee onboarding checklist and start using it!

You can download the new employee onboarding checklist sample on Smartsheet or Excel here.

Constantly checking in on the onboarding process will help you identify any potential challenges or areas for improvement. At times, you may even get insight into other operations out of the HR function, such as new ideas from a fresh perspective.

Remember, your new hire could potentially bring great value to the organization. Having a rocky start could damage your company’s reputation. Or lead to long-term confusion or conflict, which impedes business growth.

With your organizational projects, things can get messy if it’s not done right. Having a proper system to manage workflows and a centralized knowledge base can guide teams to collaborate on projects and ensure success.

When it comes to new employee onboarding, it may seem like a one-man task. In reality, it takes the whole organization to make sure that the new hire feels welcomed, enjoys the culture, and understands the tools used in the workplace.

Find out how to better manage projects with this FREE Project Management Checklist. Download it here.

Having an entire onboarding process checklist template doesn’t mean that you have to stick to a rigid list. New hires work differently and have different job scopes. With an HR onboarding checklist template, managers can refine it to suit the needs of new members.

Hold on. Our cape needs adjusting.

As workplaces become increasingly diverse, managing projects, such as onboarding, can get overwhelming.

With ScaleTime’s Clone Yourself Project Management system, organizations can now collaborate on shared tasks on one platform and meet objectives more quickly than before.
So, how much more revenue could you bring in and retain with an automated project management system? Find out more about better project management today.

Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana Marulanda - ScaleTime Founder
Juliana Marulanda is a business operations expert, speaker, and the founder of ScaleTime. With over 20 years of experience across Wall Street, the non-profit sector, technology startups, and family-owned businesses, she now helps service-based businesses.
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