New hire checklist – Here’s what should be on it

A list for new employee orientation and how to onboard new hires into your organization

New employee orientation is an important addition to any manager’s schedule. Having a new hire checklist can help that person smoothly transition into their role while you maintain your responsibilities.

It’s important to keep in mind that regular duties still apply to you and everyone else throughout the onboarding process.

What is onboarding?

Getting a new hire up to speed is a complex process that can go on for weeks. However, having a structured process for onboarding a new hire can make life easier. Both you and your team, as well as the joining employee, will benefit from a smooth new hire process.

Let’s review what “onboarding” is and how working with a new hire can be built into a team’s processes and procedures. In fact, “onboarding” is also known as “organization socialization” for this very reason.

Onboarding is defined as “a process through which new employees move from being organizational outsiders to becoming organizational insiders.”  During this time, someone will go through every step necessary to become a settled-in member of the team.

Depending on your organization, this process can look different for people entering different departments. Similarly, your onboarding process may not be the same as the one your competitor has in place.

Getting a new hire to a level where they will be successful changes from person to person.

However, there are some basics that are in almost everyone’s onboarding process. Making those points a great place to start. If you want to create a new hire checklist, make sure you’re thinking critically about each phase to set everyone up for success.

A picture of a man getting onto a plane, which represents a new hire employee being onboarded into a new organization

Creating a new hire checklist that’s right for you

Whether your organization is just starting out or reviewing your current onboarding process, it’s important to keep things customized to the way your team functions. By following a rigid checklist, you may be missing important points and creating holes in a new hire’s training.

As with any new process, you’ll want to take time to carefully and critically think about what should be included during the new employee orientation period.

Don’t be afraid to brainstorm and reflect on past experiences. Ask your current employees for input based on their own experience as a new hire within your organization. In fact, it’s a great idea to ask every employee about their experience after their onboarding is complete.

The 10 things you should have on your new hire checklist

To help you create an effective new hire checklist, we’ve put together a list of the most important parts of new employee orientation. With these 10 tips, you can go on to create the perfect onboarding process for your organization.

1. Know what their role will be

One of the most disruptive things in a workplace is having employees who don’t know their role. Or managers who are assigning tasks to the wrong person. Many employees simply don’t know what managers expect of them.

So, the first part of your new hire checklist should be an internal review of the position. Conduct these reviews before the job is open, but also throughout the hiring and prior to onboarding.

Make sure you know what their responsibilities are and how you will measure their growth as an employee. Before their first day, log any details that they will need to know to be successful.

2. Ensure the new hire understands their role

In some organizations, managers prefer to have a final meeting prior to the active parts of the onboarding process beginning. During this meeting, usually held once they arrive at the office for their first day, you can discuss their role in detail.

Talk to them about how they’ll be interacting with different departments. Answer any questions they have, and even let them know what won’t be expected of them.

Setting boundaries, standards, and goals during this meeting will give you and the new hire a solid foundation to begin working together.

3. New hire paperwork

This wouldn’t be a good new hire checklist if we didn’t include a section about new hire paperwork.

As a part of the “admin” side of onboarding, new hire paperwork is when you’ll be gathering their tax information and setting up their employee accounts.

If you are a part of an organization that has a human resources department, that’s where your new employee will fill out their paperwork. This department supports employees and managers, so they’ll be able to handle the documentation process directly.

However, managers at smaller organizations have to step in on processes across the board. In these cases, you can make use of the many tools created to help get all new hire documentation in place. Some useful tools include Gusto and DocuSign for those who want to streamline taxes, payroll, and go paperless for their new hire paperwork.

One of the steps on the new hire checklist is to complete new hire paperwork

4. Meet the team

Another great point to have on your new hire checklist is to organize a “meet the team” session into your new employee orientation.

One of the best ways to make introductions is by scheduling a team lunch or outing. This step is also helpful to show the newest member of your team who their best resources are.

5. Training for a new role

Training is perhaps the most important part of the new employee orientation.

Make sure that you have a training plan laid out before someone starts on their first day. Though specific aspects of new hire training may vary from role to role, you may be able to reuse basic training across the board. “Reusable” aspects of training include information on the company and basic employee rules.

Clearly define each step and make sure training is in tiers so that new knowledge can build off of previous parts of the training. Some managers also choose to reinforce training by implementing brief testing after each section.

During the training phase, make sure that you encourage note-taking. Accept questions between each section and schedule frequent check-ins with your new hire.

6. Shadowing a teammate

Many people are visual learners, which makes job shadowing an efficient part of trainingHave the new team member spend parts of their day shadowing different teammates.

Implementing this exercise into your onboarding process can give them nice variation during their first few days. Not only is this useful to keep a new hire’s energy up but it can also be a great team-building exercise.

7. Team meeting

Now that a new hire has gone through the first part of their onboarding and even shadowed some coworkers, it’s time for a meeting.

You can build a new hire introduction into a regularly scheduled meeting or call a new one just for this purpose.

During this meeting, introduce the newest member of your team. You can outline their role, and point out who they’ll be reporting to and working with. Be clear when you’re building these connections so that the new hire and your team will understand what to expect.

8. Set up their work environment

One important aspect of any new hire onboarding is to get their work environment set up.

This is a simple process that can promote a bond between the newest team member and their managers. Make sure they feel comfortable at their desk, that they have all the tools they need, and that all of their logins are working.

Before new employee orientation, setting up their workspace is an important step on the new hire checklist

9. Their first assignment

At this point, your new hire will be well-acquainted with their team and their role. This means it’s time for their first assignment.

This can be something they can tackle on their own or with some help from the team lead.

As always, allow a new member of your team to ask questions and create their own ways to be efficient at a task. However, you should always give them the structure they need to be successful. This means using your CRM to create tasks, dependencies, and projects to guide a new hire through their responsibilities and team collaborations.

After the first few tasks are ticked off, make sure you check in with them to see how everything is going.

10. Scheduled check-in

Many employees enjoy communicating with their team leads and managers. Make sure you’re promoting this level of communication by scheduling weekly (or daily) check-ins with new hires and your team.

Onboarding a new employee is an exciting and busy time. Having a new hire checklist that’s built to best support your team is just another aspect of having a smooth-running organization.

By Nancy Roque

June 5, 2018


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