Why You Need An Onboarding Checklist + Free Template

Why You Need An Onboarding Checklist + Free Template

Bringing new people into your business is always exciting. It’s a sign of a growing business and an opportunity to showcase your company culture. Bringing people on board in the right way can see them quickly adapting to their new environment, becoming productive, and contributing towards your teams. However, you can’t hire new people and expect them to immediately fit into your organisation. Effective employee onboarding takes careful planning.

This is why many companies look for an onboarding checklist template they can use. The right checklist can ensure new employees get the resources, tools and training they need to succeed in their roles.

What is an Onboarding Checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a tool used by organisations to ensure that all necessary steps are followed to onboard new employees effectively. This checklist guides the onboarding process from pre-arrival preparations through various stages of employment, such as the first day, first week, and subsequent months. It ensures consistency, covers essential tasks like setting up workstations, and provides a structured approach to introduce company culture, compliance requirements, and training initiatives. This tool aids in making the transition smoother for new hires, aiming to enhance their productivity and engagement from the outset.

Free Onboarding Checklist Template

Putting together an effective onboarding checklist can be a time-consuming process. This is especially the case if formalising your employee onboarding process is a new initiative for your company. We’ve got the perfect onboarding tool to get you started.

Our free new employee onboarding template provides a foundation for developing an effective and consistent onboarding program. The checklist template is easily customisable, giving you the flexibility to incorporate your own culture, company policies and requirements to ensure you’re making the most of onboarding benefits.

Download our handy onboarding template today.

Perfect Your Onboarding Process!

Bring new hires onboard in a consistent way with our customisable onboarding checklist.

What Should An Effective Onboarding Checklist Include?

Onboarding shouldn’t be a short-term investment. You’re setting your new hires up for long-term success with your company. With this in mind, when putting together your onboarding checklist, you’ll want to include onboarding tasks that need to be completed in the days leading up to a new employee joining your company, as well as their first weeks and months working with you.


There are plenty of steps that you can take in preparation for new hires joining your business. These pre-onboarding checklist actions will go a long way towards making new employees feel comfortable and welcome, and setting expectations for their new job:

  • Prepare a workstation or ensure new hires have the tools they need to work remotely.
  • Set up email and software credentials.
  • Send new employees their first-day schedule.

First Week Orientation

The first week at a new job can be a stressful time for all involved. It’s easy for new hires to become overwhelmed, especially if they feel the need to prove themselves straight away. When putting together a first-week checklist, consider items like:

  • Begin your orientation program with an introduction to your company culture.
  • Train new hires on systems, processes and protocols.
  • Setup introductions with team members

Orientation is a great example of on-the-job training.

Want to see more examples?

First Month Integration

For a new hire’s first month with your company, they should gain a thorough understanding of what is expected of them, and what their KPIs will involve. You’ll also want to conduct in-depth assessments to identify workplace skill gaps and address them. This will ensure that your new hires become productive and efficient in their roles as quickly as possible.

First Quarter

Over the first three months of employment, you should schedule regular check-ins. This will help you track progress in their training and activities. It will also ensure that your training initiatives are effective, that KPIs and targets are realistic and achievable, and that your new hire is the right fit for their role.

First Year

Many companies consider onboarding to be complete by the end of the first quarter. However, you may want to consider the aims and benchmarks you want employees to achieve within the first year of joining the organisation. While appropriate measurements would be dependent on their role within your business, you may want to include checklist items for:

  • Number of courses you’d like them to complete
  • Percentage you’d like to see their KPIs and targets exceeded by
  • Overall contributions towards your company culture.

man uses onboarding checklist to ensure new hires work meets standards

Tips And Best Practices For Customising Your Onboarding Checklist

Onboarding checklist templates can be great tools, but they do require some adjustment to make them a perfect fit for your business. Some companies even maintain multiple onboarding checklists, adjusting them to job- and role-specific. To simplify this process, here are some tips and best practices for tailoring your employee onboarding checklist template for your specific needs.

Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail

When it comes to hiring new employees, preparation is key. From putting together documentation to updating permissions across your tech stack, ensure that your onboarding checklists include tasks for setting your new team member up for success.

Incorporate Your Company’s Culture

Make sure that your onboarding process highlights what sets you apart as a company. This will help your new hires quickly adapt to your business and your processes. Effectively adjusting to a new workplace culture also has the potential to increase employee engagement and improve satisfaction, which can help your retention efforts. People who feel connected to their company’s culture are less likely to look for alternative positions.

Schedule Introductions With Key Team Members

Feeling like an integral part of a team can have a huge impact on motivation and productivity. Arranging introductions to key employees inside and outside of your new employee’s direct team can help them feel immediately welcome. It also gives new hires an opportunity to ask questions, and for existing team members to share their advice, knowledge, tips and tricks for effective working. These company-wide relationships can have a lasting positive impact that enhances overall employee satisfaction. It can also help both new hires and existing employees improve their soft skills.

Don’t Be Too Rigid

It’s critical to bear in mind that every employee’s experience of your onboarding process is different. Each individual will bring their expectations and experiences to your business. Trying to make everyone go through an identical process is futile. Your onboarding process needs to be consistent, but it’s also important to recognise that some aspects will differ from person to person. Be prepared to accommodate changes, and consider the onboarding checklist as a guideline for what you want to achieve, rather than a set of rules.

Incorporate Feedback From New Hires

Gathering feedback from new hires is another important part of the onboarding process. The feedback you get will be invaluable in pinpointing areas for improvement in your training and general processes and in your onboarding program. A new employee will often have a good deal of experience behind them and may be used to different ways of working and thinking. Incorporating these ideas into your own systems can increase productivity and actively contribute towards a company culture of growing and learning.

Consider Remote And Hybrid Employees

Most new hire checklists are created around onsite employees. As more businesses adopt remote and hybrid work models, it’s also important to consider remote and hybrid workers in your onboarding process. This is especially important for global companies that want to standardise onboarding programs. By adding items to your onboarding checklist that ensure new hires can work from wherever they are in the world, you can make your new hire checklist template more effective, improve its longevity, and ensure its scalability.

Make It Scalable

Incorporating remote and hybrid onboarding tasks plays an important role in making your checklist and your entire onboarding process scalable. However, there are other factors that you should consider as well. The more streamlined your onboarding checklist is, the easier it will be to implement it at scale as your company grows. Ensure you have clear objectives for each stage of your onboarding process and a great understanding of workplace skills requirements for different roles. This will allow you to make small but effective adjustments to your template to enhance the process of bringing new team members on board.

Find the Right Technology

The easier it is for your new hire onboarding checklist to integrate with your existing technologies, the more effective it will be. There are plenty of onboarding software solutions to consider. Choose one that meets your integration needs and includes features that will be valuable to your onboarding and your general operations.

The Importance Of Effective Onboarding

The first days, weeks and months with a new company have the potential to impact an employee’s career in either a positive or a negative way. Getting onboarding right can be the difference between your teams excelling or falling short of expectations.

Yet, according to a 2023 global culture report, less than half of those surveyed had employee onboarding experiences that lasted more than one day. That’s a single day of training, acclimatising to a new environment, and preparing for the position they will fill for what you’d hope would be years to come.

The Impact Of A Negative Employee Onboarding Experience

According to research from Harvard Business Review, up to 20% of staff turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment. It’s easy to understand why.

Without an effective onboarding process, new hires often feel confused about their role, and disconnected from companies and their overall cultures. In an age of scams, a lack of effective communication during onboarding can also leave new hires feeling that they have fallen victim to an attack. This can happen even in scenarios where they have taken on a legitimate role with a company that has organised their onboarding poorly.

A lack of new hire integration, poor preparation, and ultimately decreased retention can significantly impact a company’s reputation, affecting future hiring prospects.

The Impact Of A Successful Onboarding Process

Looking beyond the negative impact that a poor new hire onboarding process can have on organisations, it’s also critical to consider the benefits that great employee onboarding can hold.

Forming an early connection with a company can help new employees to feel appreciated right away. This can serve as a great motivation, encouraging them to get up to speed and actively contribute towards the team more quickly.

Incorporating compliance in onboarding can also see your teams gain a better understanding of processes, procedures and requirements. Onboarding is also a perfect opportunity to introduce training initiatives and set up a culture of learning and development within your business.

woman uses an onboarding checklist to check new employees work

Why An Onboarding Checklist Is Essential

No two new-hire experiences are going to be the same. The process will differ depending on your new employee’s role, responsibilities and prior experiences. Certain steps will apply to every person you bring on board, however. And this is where a new employee onboarding checklist can be an invaluable asset.

Streamlining The Process

Your onboarding process must be thorough. However, it’s just as important to prioritise onboarding efficiency. Having an onboarding checklist that you can rely on to ensure that all the right steps are followed every time will help you streamline the process. You’ll be able to identify areas of commonality that should be covered with each new hire and create a structured training process that will see the basics being covered both quickly and thoroughly.

Ensuring Compliance

There are plenty of regulations that businesses need to follow when hiring new employees. If you’re taking on apprentices in the UK, for example, you’ll want to ensure you’re following the apprenticeship funding rules. Having an employee onboarding checklist that details the documents required can simplify the process of complying with relevant legislation. This can also simplify your HR compliance protocols, ensuring that they process relevant data about new hires as quickly, effectively and securely as possible.


You want to ensure that you provide a consistent onboarding experience to all new employees. This will help to streamline your processes and see new hires understand your company culture and take it on board. If one person’s employee onboarding experience differs greatly from the next, they may feel excluded, confused, or unwelcome.

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