New Employee Onboarding Checklist [with FREE 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.

KPIs for Growth: Measuring Hiring and Onboarding

Employees are the engine that power your business success. But business owners often underestimate the cost of a new team member

So what are those costs? Roughly 30% of that person’s first-year salary. 

Make a bad hire, and those costs will skyrocket. 

74% of surveyed businesses have made the mistake of hiring the wrong person for the job. So if this is a misstep you’ve made, you’re not alone.

So don’t feel too down about it. Tomorrow’s another day and this is something we can fix so you never make the same mistake again.  

An airtight hiring and onboarding process is critical for your agency’s bottom line and will keep the wrong candidates out of your system. 

With the right hiring and onboarding KPIs, you’ll improve the quality of the hire while streamlining the hiring process. 

These KPIs will work for both in-person and remote hiring. Let’s break them down. 

How Putting Aces in Their Places Benefits Your Agency

Introverts make great front desk receptionists! No, no, they don’t. 

Bad hires can sap your team’s productivity and performance. They also risk legal fees for unlawful termination. 

You want to make sure you have the right person for a position. Otherwise, the costs of a bad hire will eat into your revenue stream. 

Here are just a few of the benefits hiring the right person for the job for your agency:

  • Decrease the time and expense of training
  • Improve employee morale
  • Increase retention rates
  • Make customers happy with better customer service

Using KPIs for onboarding and hiring will also reduce the costs of reviewing resumes, recruitment fees, and time spent interviewing. 

Time to Hire KPI

Recruiters and hiring managers, listen up: 

If you’re going to master any of these KPIs, make this one a top priority. 

How come? Because the time to hire KPI helps you:

  • Optimize your application process
  • Protect your company’s productivity, revenue, and brand image
  • Ensure that you’re interviewing only the top candidates

On average, and depending on the industry, time to hire can take anywhere from 14 to 63 days. 

Let’s think about this for a hot minute. You’ve got an exciting, well-paid position available that you want to fill asap. 

Your job ad is drool-worthy and laser-targeted to your ideal candidate. It’s being advertised freaking everywhere. 

So, who do you think is going to jump at the chance to apply and try to snag this top-notch position first?

Hint: it won’t be the forks when all you need is a knife. 

Your best candidates are going to apply early in the process. Take too long to hire and have a lengthy hiring process, and your best and brightest will drop out. 

What’s left? A pool of mediocre candidates that, if you hire, can hurt your brand image and productivity. Ugh. That’s some rain on your wedding day. 

If you notice a lot of candidates starting an application but not finishing, then you might need to tweak your application and hiring process. 

Time to Hire = Date of Hire – Date Candidate Enters the Pipeline

Quality of Hire KPI

Ensure that your new employees have A’s across their employee scorecard with the quality of hire KPI. 

To measure this KPI, you’ll need to go through your retention and performance data. 

You’ll also want to measure how your new hires fit in with the company. 

Are you experiencing new hires leaving within the first six months? Then you’re probably screening for the wrong traits. 

Also, this KPI can help you determine where you’ve found your best hires, like social media, job boards, or references.

(Performance + Productivity + Retention) / N = Quality of Hire

Measuring Time to Productivity

Time to productivity measures how long it takes for a new hire to meet performance level expectations. Setting a KPI here will help you uncover any cracks in your onboarding process. 

The exact KPI you set to measure time to productivity will vary across teams. But suffice it to say, it shouldn’t differ too much from one person to the next within a particular group. 

Keep These Marketing Agency Hiring and Onboarding Best Practices in Mind

Before you start measuring your KPIs for growth, take the following action steps:

  • Be consistent — Use the same onboarding process for each new hire. Consistency will make it easier to extract meaningful data from the hiring process. 
  • Be warm — During the hiring process, candidates are looking at your agency with a sharp eye, wondering if they’re making the right choice. Make candidates feel welcome during the onboarding process so they won’t feel unappreciated and bail. 
  • Think of it as a relationship — Think it’s done and over after hiring? Not so. Guide your new hires and develop them after the onboarding process is done. This will help them stay engaged and feel appreciated enough to stay with you for the long haul. 

Is the hiring process an exercise in frustration for you? 

Get some of your time back with our free Hiring Hacks Guide. And keep these hiring and onboarding KPIs in mind when you’re ready to add a new member to your team. 


How to make sales hiring less confusing

“Any tips for making sure we don’t derail during this time? I 
already feel like we’re changing strategies by the second (internally and client-facing) and I want to make sure

1) messaging is consistent

2) the team doesn’t feel overwhelmed with this very quick change and need for action.

Does that make sense??” [sic] 
asks Kate, a project manager of my beloved client.

It does if:

Your facebook feed is filled with Corona memes to distract you from

Your news feed that is FUD-filled (fear, uncertainty, doubt – so you don’t have to urban dictionary) with echoes of the last recession

Your WhatsApp is blown up by frantic friends and family away

You’re not sure which clients are sticking around, even if you feel like you have them under legal lock and key 

And worse… you are in a confined space with those closest to you while trying not to kill each other. 🤬You wish you could SOS yourself out of a Vampirina tranz because kids are home all day

Oh and did I mention it’s happening to your employees and clients, too?

Now that I have made you feel super warm and fuzzy 😉 I promise there is hope! 

In times of crisis, people look for leadership. 

> If you are reading this, you are a leader. 

> Step into it. 

> Own it. 

 The best crisis management we can model is the Situation Room of the United States (setting aside your feelings about the current administration)

It’s an effective way of managing crisis because it swiftly and effectively deals with the volatility by managing:

·         Information: parsing and prioritizing data that’s incoming from various sources

·         Dissemination: to whom and how to share relevant and urgent communication

·         Action: deploying and implementing tactics despite a barrage of new information coming at you (i.e revenue and resource changes)

·         Support: making sure the nation (in your case – clients and team) feel supported throughout

Five simple things to implement your own “Situation Room”:

1.        The Situation Room – needs to take place in real life (preferably with social distancing in this case). Whether that is a Slack channel, Zoom huddle or your team sneaks into a football field and then stands 6 feet apart (jk), you need a time and place to gather the info with the Gladiators you appoint.

2.      Opening and closing debriefs – there is a phenomenal amount of info to digest between closing shop and opening … then it cycles throughout the day. This is crucial to pivot and/or course-correct quickly.

3.      Create a change board in your project manager – this is a project or board where new ideas that flood from you and the team get placed to be approved, denied or delayed based on resources and urgency. This will help keep track of all competing projects and ideas.

4.     Measure the capacity of both hours and emotional stress –  this is a prime time for people to be on edge and overwhelmed. Track hours for the good of everyone’s sanity. Support your people by checking in. Are their families healthy? Will they have wifi outages (SE ASIA)? Do they need to make appointments to go to supermarkets(certain South American countries)? Stay informed… Any new data will: Affect workflow. Affect productivity. Affect your business.

5.      Lastly, Lead.


          In your industry. 
          In your business. 
          In your home. 

As a kid, my stepdad would constantly ask me “Are you a leader or a follower?” That is ingrained in my head. Be the reliable, constant, future thinker your team and clients need you to be. 

If you need to silently scream into a pillow, reach out and I’ve got your back. 

Leadership is the manifestation of Expansion, Empathy, and Empowerment. 

Kick some ass and let me know if you have any questions. 

Legit, send me an email – I read them all (I’m unfortunately addicted and stuck at home), I promise to respond. 

Let’s grow together. 

This hiring hack can save you 20+ hours

Putting a job posting up on a job site like Indeed is like throwing a grenade on top of a mountain and waiting for it to explode.

If you’ve created the right posting, you’re about to get an avalanche of resumes (one posting on Indeed can easily generate over 100 applications). Few business owners have any reliable way for sorting through them. Maybe you’re one of those people who spends 15 minutes on every single one, throwing away days in the process. Or maybe you only review a certain number of resumes, and ignore the rest, potentially passing over the best candidate. Either ways, after just a few reviews all resumes start to look the same. Then you start second-guessing yourself. And then the overwhelm takes over. There’s a much, much better way. After hiring hundreds employees of my own, and helping hundreds of clients do the same, I’ve developed a streamlined process that helps you quickly review the resumes you receive, while maintaining high standards to make sure you get the right candidate. The process involves sorting employees into different buckets as quickly as possible. The Yes’s, maybes, hell nos, and people that might be good for something else. Each resume should take 30 seconds to review. There are 4 key points you want to look for when you’re sorting through resumes.

        1.  Basic standards

There are a few questions we want to ask before we move on to the content of the resume:
  1. Is the person real? Yes, you might get spam resumes
  2. Is this resume formatted with any degree of professionalism?
  3. Are they based in a suitable location for the job?

       2.  Dependability

Here we’re looking to see if they’ve kept down a job for a year or longer, or if they have any big gaps in their resume. Although this doesn’t tell the full story, if a resume is filled with 3 and 6 month jobs, that’s a big red flag. Another red flag is if there are gaps in employment of more than a few months. Sure they could explain these issues, but we don’t have time to get everyone’s story here.

        3.  Experience

Looking at their job titles, do they have experience doing what you’ll need them to do? When we do this scan, we aren’t looking for someone with a perfect experience match (although that would be nice). What we’re looking for are job positions that are related to what we’re asking them to do, or ones that require similar skill sets.

        4.  Specific requirements

Are there any deal breakers or standards they must meet? Now is when you look for them. Certificates, degrees, or anything else that they must have. At first this may take a minute or two, but believe me, after looking through a few resumes, you’ll be a pro. Having too many resumes to review is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Following this process is an easy way to save time and money, while increasing your chances of finding the perfect hire for your company.

The Real Cost Of A New Team Member

Hiring an employee is one hell of an experience for entrepreneurs.

So many emotions bundled up into one decision.

One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how much an employee is going to cost.

I’m sure the first time you hired, you significantly underestimated how much it was going to cost.

Everyone does.

In fact, I find that most business owners often underestimate costs by 25%.

I’m gonna be real – that’s unacceptable, but it’s not too late.

Today I’ve got a few tips on how to budget for hiring, plus a handy hiring cost calculator that will help you get an accurate idea of how much it will actually cost.

To get started, there are few questions you need to ask yourself.

Once those are answered, head on over to the ScaleTime Hiring Calculator to get a clear budget prepared.

Pitfall#1 – Hiring a full time employee when all you need is a VA or freelancer

A lot of business owners who feel overwhelmed look to hire someone full time, so that they can “really focus on what’s important.” The challenge is sometimes the amount of overwhelm you feel is not directly correlated to how much work you have. Offloading a few tasks to a VA or freelancer will often clear enough off your plate, or the plate of your employees, to put you back in the driver’s seat.

Pitfall#2 Hiring (an expensive) senior team member because you don’t want to handhold

I see this all the time. In some cases, a business owner wants to find a team member who has experience doing exactly what you need them to do. In other cases, an employee is begging you to hire someone more experienced to handle tasks they aren’t equipped for.

Either way, your goal is to get someone who can hit the ground running. You don’t want to have to spend time training someone, hand-holding them through every aspect of their job.

It makes complete sense, but for most biz owners, it doesn’t work out. And the reason is because they don’t have the proper systems, documents, or training in place to help a new hire get up to speed. Without them, you could hire a college intern for 1/10th the price, and they’d only be slightly less effective. Even the most qualified employees still need to learn the ins and outs of your business before they’re ready to hit the ground running. Implementing proper hiring systems, and then hiring junior employees is often much easier and effective (you can mold them to your business because they haven’t had time to develop too many bad habits yet).

Pitfall#3 Underestimating costs

A lot of my clients say they want to hire someone worth 30K or 50K a year, and then go out looking for that person. The thing they don’t think about is that salary is just one part of the equation. Many other costs go into hiring, including:

    • Your time spent searching for candidates
    • Onboarding costs
  • Tax and benefits

The good news is – if you can avoid the first two pitfalls on your own, I can help you avoid the third. My Hiring Calculator helps you quickly estimate the true cost of that new hire. While most biz owners stick their finger in the air and hope things work out, you’ll begin the process bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Access the calculator here

Try it out and let me know what you think. If you were planning on hiring, how good were your estimates on how much it would cost vs. what you found using this calculator?

Lasting Teams That Are In It To Win It

“Juliana, how do I hire the right team members, the ones that are going to stick around and do a great job?”

Almost 35% of people quit a job within the first six months of being hired.

That’s a pretty big turnover rate when you stop to consider the time and resources devoted to recruiting, especially when you take lost revenue for business both large and small into consideration. No matter the size of your business, your goal is to keep profits — and your employee retention rates high – but, you may need to change your tactics in order to succeed.

With just a few simple changes to your hiring process, you will find yourself ahead of the game with a dedicated team behind you.

But first, let’s examine the numbers: Did you know that US companies spent a staggering $124 billion on recruiting efforts in 2012 alone? When it comes to hiring the right people, large firms lose when their dedicated HR departments waste resources hiring the wrong people. Small business owners lose even bigger with the time and effort the recruiting process takes from day to day operations. Sure, you played the game, asked the right questions, and are confident you hired the right people. And maybe you did hire the right people for the positions advertised. The question to ask yourself, however, is if you hired the right people for your team.

Did you know that most people leave because there are different expectations in the recruiting cycle, from the job posting to the interviewing process, which did not match the reality of the actual gig?

Perhaps they were holding out for another position with a different company and your offer was simply a waiting post. The “Maybes” behind why employee retention is such a gamble are numerous and can range from your business’ relaxed work environment and dog-friendly office not being the right fit to them taking a look at your five-year vision and deciding they might fit better elsewhere.

These are the very uncertainties you, or your HR team, should be addressing while actively recruiting new team members. It is during this crucial time for discovery that you should be making sure you are seeking out the people that are not only going to stick, but also help your business grow in the process. Your goal is to ultimately extend offers of employment to individuals with whom you will enjoy working and with whom you’ll probably be spending more time than you are willing to admit. So how do you do that?

For starters, realize that a perfectly written resume is only a part of employee retention and the big picture.

By paying attention life patterns or circumstances, you can predict a lot about your new team member’s longevity with your business. For example: A person who moves every two years, will probably move again. It’s possible their spouse is in the military. But if you do not do your due diligence, you shouldn’t be surprised when they do move again. What about the college student working for you part-time? They have graduation date that you must prepare for. Be ready to absorb them or replace them.

Now that you are thinking not only outside of the box, but beyond the resume, as well, it’s time to consider your options as a business owner. Start by putting yourself in a new employee’s shoes:

In order to make the transition from the newbie to a seasoned and valued member of your team, they need:

  • Solid infrastructure already in place; one which will allow access to systems, technology, and communication
  • Time to read your business literature
  • Business cards
  • Time to learn — and become acquainted to — their contacts

Without at least these building blocks already firmly established for your new team member to gather their bearings during the critical first five months, which, coincidentally, is the average time it takes for a new hire to fully acclimate to their work environment, the transition period will only be made all the rougher for them. Whether you are operating out of a corner office or half of a full tech garage, those operating manuals and trainings will increase the chance of getting your new hire up to speed and optimized.

Okay, so you’ve done your due diligence and are comfortable that your new hire isn’t moving overseas in seven months, checked their college diploma yourself to make sure the ink is dry, and their skill-set matches your needs for the open position perfectly. Even the office dog loves them because they’ve been bringing in dog biscuits and know how to give a good belly rub.

What if they still aren’t a good fit? What did you miss?

Through no fault of their own, your new hire may just not gel with the culture you have or are trying to create. Your best-case scenario is they are great, but the rest of your team doesn’t enjoy working with him or her. This is where you have to step back, reassess, and put the needs of the many before the needs of the one. In other words: don’t let the entire ship sink because one crew member isn’t working out or you end up with communication lapses and inefficiencies in cooperation. How do you do that?

TIP – By creating a personalized work culture test that applies specifically to your business’ personality and applying it during each and every recruiting and discovery period.

A friend asks people when referring potential hires to his team if they would introduce this person to their own mom. His clients are family units, thereby making it essential that each team member present themselves in a certain manner. I ask my own team to imagine a flight delay en route to a business trip mean three hours in the airport bar — which happens quite often. If they give the green light for inviting the potential newbie along for a cocktail, it’s a pretty clear and cut decision from there.

We can’t cage the superstars to stay forever, but we can try to figure out how who’s in for the long haul as we build our teams and continue moving forward.

The key factor, of course, is foreseeing who’s going to stick around.