Onboarding checklists are all the buzz right now, and for good reason. Employee onboarding is an essential step in an organization’s recruitment trajectory. Without a successful onboarding period, new recruits fail to reach their full potential as employees and have a higher turnover rate. Despite this, only 12% of employees believe their organization’s onboarding process is good enough (Source: Gallup). Thus, there is a massive gap in the kind of onboarding employees need and receive. The aforementioned onboarding checklists are one very efficient tool to work around this problem. This article will offer you an in-depth look into the key items on an onboarding checklist and why they should be included. Continue reading to find out!

Employee onboarding refers to the process of integrating new employees into the organization. It familiarizes them with their job role, the company’s culture, and organizational policies. The end goal of onboarding is to ensure all new hires become productive members of the organization. 

Onboarding happens in multiple stages. A good onboarding program begins before the employee’s first day at work and requires administrative, managerial, and logistical collaboration. Thus, onboarding checklists should cover various phases and departments. Additionally, an onboarding checklist will look very different for an employee and the organization. So it is a good idea to have at least two checklists for each onboarding phase – one for internal use and one for the employee’s reference. 

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Pre-onboarding checklist

As previously mentioned, onboarding begins before the employee’s first day at work. This can be thought of as the pre-onboarding phase.

During the pre-onboarding phase, companies should make preparations to ensure new employees have a smooth and welcoming first day. They can also tackle some paperwork at this stage so new recruits can focus on getting to know the organization and its people the day they arrive.

For the administrative and logistical side, items to include in this checklist are:

  • Workspace set-up
  • System set-up. In the case of remote employees, this could be delivering systems to them on time
  • Generating login IDs and passwords
  • Generating I-cards and/or keycards
  • Updating and compiling common passwords
  • Generating passes such as health benefits cards, cafeteria cards, parking access cards, etc.

On the HR and employee end, the checklist will include:

  • Sending an offer letter and contract
  • Obtaining signed offer letter and contract from the employee
  • Obtaining government forms such as tax forms
  • Acquiring payment details
  • Sending out an employee handbook
  • Providing a visitor’s pass for the first day, if necessary
  • Sending a welcome email with details about time of arrival, dress code, place of reporting, etc.

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Onboarding Checklist for the Employee’s First Day at Work

The first day is crucial for employees and the organization. Starting off on the wrong foot, so to speak, can negatively affect the entire onboarding period. On the first day, it is important to help employees settle in properly and help them develop some sense of familiarity. If they can identify with the organization from the start, they will stay for a longer time. The first day is usually reserved for orientation, so the checklist should include some or all of the following activities:

  • Introducing the company’s mission, values, and goals to the employee
  • Compliance training
  • Setting up meetings with mentors, managers, team leaders, and coworkers
  • Giving a tour of the workplace and providing a map for early days navigation. Especially point out areas that need to be visited frequently or during emergencies such as washrooms, exits, smoking areas, the cafeteria, etc.
  • Basic training on how to handle common equipment such as the copy machine
  • Assisting with technical set-up and installation if necessary
  • Offering a schedule for on the job training, if that’s a part of the onboarding process
  • Include some job-related tasks from day 1

Provide a copy of the onboarding checklist to the employees, as well, so they know what to expect and can cross-check if anything was missed.

Onboarding Checklist for the First Week

During the first week, the new employee gets used to the work they’ll be doing, establish some workflow, and learn more about the company’s culture and what’s expected of them. The checklist for this phase of the onboarding process can look a little like this:

  • Check in with the new recruit regularly (once or twice a day)
  • Lay out a to-do list for them for the week
  • Discuss the new recruit’s personal thoughts about their progress and experience so far
  • Set performance objectives and expectations and lay them out for the new hire
  • Routinely ask if they have any questions and clarify them
  • Discuss the employee’s progress with team leaders and managers

Onboarding Checklist for the first 60-90 days

The standard onboarding period is between 60-90 days, after which an employee is well-settled into their role and the company or they realize they’re not the right fit. In some cases, onboarding can span an employee’s entire first year at the company.

While the first day and week are very crucial periods, employees need support and supervision throughout the onboarding phase. As they start taking on more responsibilities, they’ll need feedback and performance appraisals to assimilate into their role, build on strengths, and identify and work on their weaknesses.

The checklist for the first few months usually includes items such as:

  • Meetings with managers to discuss personal career goals and goals within the company
  • More performance reviews and feedback sessions
  • Opportunities to meet more people within the office and collaborate with them
  • Sessions with mentors
  • Skills training through workshops, instructor-led training, and e-learning modules
  • Regular feedback from the employee regarding the onboarding process

The Role of E-learning in the Onboarding Process

E-learning can make the onboarding process fun and easy for employees and cost-effective for companies. E-learning also makes remote hiring possible. With dedicated e-learning resources, companies can confidently recruit and train a more diverse pool of talent from a larger geographical area. Tracking progress and collecting feedback during onboarding also becomes easier with tools like LMS. Some ways to integrate e-learning into the onboarding process are:

  • Pre-recorded video messages from key company figures
  • Virtual instructor-led training for core job skills
  • Gamified evaluation activities such as quizzes, leaderboards, token collection challenges for acquired skills, etc.
  • Microlearning and nano learning modules for just-in-time learning and revisions. This approach is especially useful for employees who begin field-work very early into their onboarding period


The onboarding period is a delicate time for both, the employee and the company. Making the employee feel comfortable, well-equipped, and well-acclimated into their position determines for how long they will stay and how productive they will be. Thus, investing in onboarding means investing in talent retention and development. Even so, onboarding programs are still lacking, with only 12% of employees feeling satisfied with their organizations’ onboarding process. Coming up with a checklist can help companies be more thorough with their onboarding and reveal any blind spots in their existing process. Onboarding checklists are also a great way to compartmentalize phases and develop a standardized process for integrating new recruits.


Elevate Your Onboarding Programs with this Comprehensive Onboarding Checklist

Elevate Your Onboarding Programs with this Comprehensive Onboarding Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a list of actions that need to be taken in order to successfully integrate new employees into an organization.

What is included in an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist covers various phases in the onboarding process. it includes:

  • Sending out and collecting important documents before the day of joining
  • A comprehensive orientation session
  • Meetings with team leaders, managers, and coworkers
  • Performance expectations and to-do lists for day-to-day duties
  • Training sessions
  • Performance reviews and check-ins with supervisors as well as the employees
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