Onboarding Checklist

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One thing that will help onboarding go smoothly is to create a checklist for each step of the process. Keep in mind that the lists in this module provide a place to start. You will have to tailor each checklist to meet the needs of your own organization. The checklists will ensure that no part of the onboarding process ignored.


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Onboarding should begin before the new hire ever arrives at the organization. Preparing for a new employee requires a simple checklist.


  • Send welcome letter/packet: This should be done two weeks before the start date if possible. 
  • Prepare work area: Have the work area ready as well as any necessary items nametags, parking permits etc.
  • Provide a contact: Employees should be able to contact someone with questions before they begin work.
  • Schedule onboarding: Schedule a start date, welcome, and orientation.
  • Inform others: Let other employees know when the new hire is starting.
  • First week’s checklist: Work on the checklist for the first week.


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When new hires arrive, make them welcome and explain everything they need to know. Employees should not feel that their first day is a waste of time.


  • Welcome: Greet the new hire; do not make him or her ask for you.
  • HR tasks: Have the new hire meet with HR to complete any necessary paperwork.
  • Explain policies and procedures: Provide a handbook and begin explaining basic policies and procedures.
  • Schedule: Provide an orientation and training schedule.
  • Introduce: Introduce peers and mentors as you tour the building.
  • Show workspace: Show the new hire the prepared workspace, and make sure he or she has everything necessary to do the job.

First Week

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The first week is when any housekeeping items are taken care of that is not attended to on the first day. It is also an important time to review the goals and activities of the new hire.


  • Review: Go over the expectations and responsibilities of associated with the position.
  • Feedback: Review and provide additional feedback. Ask for feedback about the onboarding.
  • Training: Schedule necessary training and classes.
  • Inclusion: Include the new hires in meetings.
  • Introductions: Make any necessary introductions that did not occur on the first day.
  • Housekeeping: Follow-up on any incomplete paperwork.

First Month

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The first month should help the employee settle in easily. It is important not to become complacent when a new employee settles in quickly. Keep up with the first month’s checklist to ensure that the onboarding is a success.


  • Clarify: Continue to clarify roles and expectations.
  • Meet: Meet weekly to give and receive feedback. 
  • Enroll: If necessary, enroll the new hire for any benefits.
  • Check training: Make sure that the training is completed.
  • Evaluate: Schedule a 30-day evaluation.

Case Study

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An expanding company needed to improve productivity by 20 percent in two quarters. Unfortunately, the growing number of new hires seems to be counterproductive to this goal. An onboarding process existed, but managers had control of the process. Checklists were created for each step of the process, and productivity improved 25 percent after two quarters.