How to Create an Onboarding Checklist (With Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An onboarding checklist serves as a way for hiring managers to organise the steps to take when guiding new employees in their first days, weeks and month in the workplace. An onboarding checklist ensures that new employees have the necessary resources and tools to perform their job effectively. Learning how to create an onboarding checklist can help you and the company facilitate a healthy work relationship with new hires. In this article, we discuss the definition of onboarding and provide the steps to create an onboarding checklist.

Related: What Is Employee Experience? (With Benefits and Tips)

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of introducing and orienting new employees to a company. They acquire the relevant skills and knowledge to become productive professionals through onboarding. They also gain a deeper insight into their job function, such as what superiors expect of them, when and whom to submit their work and how to complete specific tasks. It also helps new employees know more about the unique company culture and adapt to it accordingly.

It can help employees be well-adjusted and subsequently improve retention rates when done successfully. An onboarding checklist may help you keep track of the completion of each stage of the onboarding process.

Read more: What Is an Onboarding Process for New Employees?

How to create an onboarding checklist

Follow these steps to learn how to create an onboarding checklist:

1. Evaluate the needs of the role

Before creating the checklist, it may be beneficial to check if the company already has established requirements for the role. You may speak to existing staff members in that role and pose some basic questions regarding their onboarding process, such as the type of information they obtained during their first month. If it's a new role, you may research similar job postings to see the skills, qualifications and responsibilities other companies have listed for that position.

2. Divide the checklist into sections

There are several stages to the onboarding process, as it may span for up to a month. To keep the process organised and increase efficiency, you can divide the checklist into various sections for each stage of the process. The details in the sections may vary according to the role, but making preparations for goals for the first day, week and month may significantly assist you in getting started.

Related: How To Design an Effective New Employee Orientation Programme

3. Prepare a checklist of pre-hire items

It may be helpful for the first section to contain details of all the necessities for the pre-hire stage. This stage entails integrating new employees into the company before their first day at work. Here's what you can include in this checklist:

  • Send a welcome email: You can send a welcome email to help the new recruit feel welcome and prepare them for their first day. In this email, you may want to include information such as the start date and time, the person to report to and documents to bring along.

  • Create forms: This may include preparing documents to collect basic information from the new employee, such as their full name, personal and emergency contact information and other relevant information the company requires. Additional documents may include a non-disclosure agreement.

  • Gather information from the supervisor: Meet with the new employee's supervisor to discuss the role and any projects and goals planned for them. You can make notes of the meeting, organise them into different categories and convey the discussion points with the new employee in person or through additional paperwork.

  • Prepare the workstation: Think about the available office cubicles or decide on the area the team member may work at and assign a locker for storage. It's essential to consider all they may need for their jobs such as a phone, computer and stationery items.

  • Provide technical information: Remember to give them access to any company-wide tools they may need, including login information for company software or app, Wi-Fi passwords, an email list of staff members and relevant office phone numbers. You may include creating login information for the company email, employee username, company phone line and any other account required for the job function.

  • Communicate the benefits package: Explain the available benefit options such as health insurance coverage, annual leave, medical and hospitalisation leave, transport allowance and childcare benefits. You may also offer details about the promotion opportunities and the organisational hierarchy.

Related: What Are Employee Benefits and 17 Types of Employee Benefits

4. Decide on the tasks for their first day at work

The first day of work for a new employee is often an exciting time as they get to know their colleagues and job function. Here's what you can consider including in this section:

  • Give an office tour: You can give them a full tour of the workplace, showing areas such as the pantry, washrooms, human resources office, their manager's office and the locations of different departments. If the company has recreational areas, such as a gym or game room, be sure to include them in the tour to get them excited about coming to work.

  • Provide training materials: You can share these documents online and even give them a brief test to ascertain that they've read and understood the training materials. If there are any online tutorials to complete, provide them with the necessary login information.

  • Appoint a mentor: Choose a dedicated and high-performing employee as a mentor to help them adapt to the culture and day-to-day operations of the new job. The new employee can ask them questions about the company, job function and administrative details and build further connections with the rest of the team through the mentor.

  • Take them out for lunch: You may want to have lunch with them and their supervisor or even go for lunch with the entire team to build work relationships. Keep the conversation casual and get to know them more personally.

Related: The Importance of Training Employees (With 11 Benefits)

5. Designate responsibilities for their first week

Here are the items you can include in this section:

  • Assign them a specific project: This lends them hands-on experience within the workplace and improves their understanding of their role in the company. You may want to inform them of a clear deadline, follow up to ensure that they've submitted it, assess the results of their work and give them some constructive feedback.

  • Set goals for the month: By fixing some goals, the employee can be clear about what you expect from them regarding performance and the number of completed tasks. If it's a new job role or if you're not very familiar with it, review their job description and make a plan accordingly.

  • Check their paperwork: You may set up a meeting with the new employee and their manager or a human resources executive to check if they've completed all the paperwork correctly. You may also ask them to submit additional forms if required and provide guidance through any leftover paperwork.

  • Demonstrate how to use software: Depending on the job function and company, you may provide training on how to use the company software or apps. Answer questions they may have on accessing specific resources, and brief them on the protocol regarding confidential or classified documents.

  • Organise social activities: You may plan some fun social activities for new hires to help them bond with their colleagues. This would promote teamwork and may make the workplace environment more enjoyable for the team.

  • Gather feedback: To improve the onboarding process, you may consider gathering feedback from them. They may provide useful insight into the effectiveness of the training or highlight if there's anything you can add to the checklist.

Related: What Is Employee Retention and How to Improve It (With Steps)

6. Schedule a meeting with them in a month

For the last section of the onboarding checklist, you can include a meeting with them at the end of the first month to address any issues the employee may have. In this meeting, you may want to do the following:

  • Explain long-term goals: You can set expectations for their role in the company and what you want them to achieve. This may help them feel more secure in their new role and increase their commitment to the company.

  • Perform a progress review: This would be an excellent time to review their performance and give some feedback on enhancing their work performance.

  • Schedule relevant training: Based on the results of the review, you may want to schedule more training sessions in areas where they require improvement.

  • Conduct an onboarding survey: You may ask them to complete a survey to determine how well they've integrated into the company.

Related: How to Write a Meeting Rescheduling Email (With Tips)


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