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the ultimate onboarding checklist

The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Onboarding a new employee can be a tricky process. It involves establishing a new relationship, and it also sets the tone for a new hire’s life at the company. The process is also a critical one, because it can greatly impact employee retention. All HR professionals or departmental managers in a company feel the pressure of getting this process right. An onboarding checklist can help you do that. You want to ensure that there is sufficient support. You want to be clear about your internal processes. In a nutshell, you want to set up the new hire for a promising long-term career at the company. In order to make sure your new hire has a memorable first day on the job, we’ve put together the ultimate onboarding checklist.

1st Check: Prepare HR documents and forms

In every job, invariably, there is an element of sometimes-painstaking administrative work. For an HR team or a manager, the onboarding process can represent a significant amount of paperwork. Ensure that you prepare all of the new employee’s relevant HR documents and forms in advance. Anything that needs to be read, signed, and initialed should be handed over at the start of the onboarding process. Get the paperwork settled first so that you can focus on the most important piece of the process: the person being brought on board! Your new employee’s comfort should be at the top of your onboarding checklist. Ensure that you have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s before you proceed. Sloppy paperwork and too much back and forth on behalf of the HR team could make a new hire second guess your team’s professionalism.

2nd Check: Prepare and set up all software accounts

Nobody wants to be stuck waiting days or weeks for their email to be set up. This is especially hard for a new hire. For a seamless onboarding process, ensure that all new employee accounts are created beforehand. This onboarding checklist item can and should be taken care of before an employee arrives on his or her first day. Create a new email account, if required. Prepare an employee ID card or an office key. At this stage, it would also be good to add the newly created employee account to any relevant calendars or mailing lists. Next, adding the new employee to all relevant internal communication channels, such as Slack, is a must.

Furthermore, new hires will need access to all of the internal HR resources. This can include a site to consult insurance benefits, a site to view pay stubs, or a tool to manage employee leave. For larger companies or smaller businesses communicating through Slack, leave management can be tracked through the Vacation Tracker app.

The beauty of Vacation Tracker is that it syncs employee information directly from Slack. This saves you a couple of steps in your onboarding process. A new hire’s information is synched once they are added to your Slack workspace. Before long, they are ready to book their time off through Vacation Tracker without needing to leave Slack. New employees get the added benefit of knowing that your company cares about their well-being and is transparent about vacation days and time-off policies. Right now, you can try a Vacation Tracker trial risk-free for 7 days. If only the whole onboarding process was this easy!


3rd Check: Prepare a workstation and/or a welcome package

Before a new hire arrives on the job, it’s important to ensure that the office space is ready for them. A computer and desk and the basic office hardware need to be in place, that’s for sure. However, don’t omit office supplies and business cards. Many companies choose to create simple welcome packages with some basic stationery and maybe a small gift featuring a company logo. Popular welcome package gifts include: reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, laptop covers, or office supplies with the company logo or slogan.

If your new hires are going to be working remotely, they would nevertheless appreciate the gesture of a welcome gift with a company logo. These items can symbolically connect them to the rest of the team. For remote workers, proper software setup is even more crucial. They rely on their Internet connections and on online tools to stay connected to their team.

4th Check: Prepare a Welcome Committee

Finally, it’s tough being the new kid in school. Hence, every positive onboarding experience involves camaraderie and the creation of new meaningful connections. Before a new hire enters the workplace, name a couple of coworkers to act as guides and mentors for the first days or weeks. Share the onboarding checklist with them. It’s good to establish this Welcome Committee beforehand. Everyone is at risk of getting too busy to pay attention to people in need of guidance in their work environment. Select someone who has a good knowledge of company values and policies. Make sure that the doors of the HR department and of the direct manager of the new hire are always open. Finally, the proper reference documents should be made available to the new hire.


This ultimate onboarding checklist is packed with information. However, it really boils down to a couple of simple concepts: preparation and being transparent about the process. No single onboarding process is perfect. Yet, all that an HR or department manager can do is try their best to make new hires feel welcome and taken care of. Once you have covered these checklist elements, it is now time for a welcome coffee and office tour. Best of luck!

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