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Onboarding Checklist: Your Go-To For New Employee Training

January 22, 2024

onboarding checklist

A new employee has joined your company – hurrah! You spent weeks or longer looking for the perfect new team member, and you’ve finally found them.

They’ve done their part to impress you with their skills and experience, but now the tables have turned. It’s on you to make their first few days and weeks a success, and ensure they have everything they need to do their job by introducing them to their coworkers and helping them integrate into the company culture.

A comprehensive onboarding process should do just that. By putting together an onboarding checklist, you can stay organized and prevent your new employee from feeling overwhelmed as they settle in.

Because there’s so much to keep track of, especially if several people start work at the same time, many businesses use onboarding software to simplify the administrative tasks that hiring managers need completed. In some cases, you can send paperwork to the new employee via the software ahead of their first day, speeding up the training process.

Why onboarding is important for new employees

The goal of a successful onboarding process is to help a new team member integrate into the company as quickly as possible to become an effective contributor like the rest of the staff. This process can take up to a year, but over half of businesses in the US spend a single week onboarding their new hires.

Several key benefits come from a structured onboarding process, many of which result in happier employees who are more likely to stay with the business.

Supports training and development

A good onboarding checklist should have general training information that any employee can benefit from, along with specialized tasks that relate to specific departments or job roles. 

With training provided from their first day, employees often feel more engaged and able to contribute to the team more quickly than if they’d had little or no training. This kind of sentiment can lead to a 56% improvement in job performance, especially when skills-based training is combined with company culture orientation and ongoing check-ins.

Reduces employee turnover

Hiring is a costly process, so it’s vital that the new staff you bring in stay with the company for as long as possible. Not only does this save on having to start the recruitment process again, having a low employee turnover rate also maximizes the outgoings already spent on hiring that individual.

The risk of an employee leaving is at its highest during their first few months at a company. While this may seem strange given that they’ve successfully made it through the recruitment process, it’s also easy for employees to become overwhelmed and unsupported in an unfamiliar environment. Onboarding gives these team members everything they

3.6 million people

left their jobs in October 2023.

Source: Paychex

Boosts your reputation

Word travels quickly, especially in small and well-connected industry circles. When new employees have a good onboarding experience and subsequently choose to stay with a company, future applicants to your business will hear about it. The reputation of the business in the eyes of the outside world will be improved, and you’ll see more competitive candidates coming forward for your next job opening.

What to include in an onboarding checklist

If you’re creating an onboarding checklist for the first time, think about which essentials employees need to know. Break the checklist down into time blocks, from their first day to the end of their first year.

Before they arrive

Once someone accepts, let your HR team know so they can begin processing the necessary paperwork. They can complete a lot of this ahead of the first day if you keep them informed about new hires.

The IT team should also be aware that someone new is joining the company so new employees have access to the devices and accounts they’ll use.

If you have any company swag like branded mugs, t-shirts, or other fun items, now is a good time to put a few things together in a welcome package.

The first week

Most of the information you give to your new hires in their first few days is standard administrative paperwork and introductions. Make sure the first week includes:

  • Company policies and safety information. Important safety details, like how to find fire exits and how to evacuate the building in an emergency, should be covered in their first day orientation.
  • Scheduling expectations. Let your new staff know their required working hours, their paid time off allowance, and any other benefits or policies that relate to scheduling.
  • Equipment check in and training. If your new hire is remote, any computers, phones, headsets, or other gear they need should have been sent to them ahead of their first day. Use this time during orientation to walk them through the basics of their daily work equipment and confirm that they have everything they need. Details like how to login to their computer and any important contact details they should be aware of should be covered, along with who to contact if they need technical support.
  • Office logistics. For in-office employees, a quick walkthrough of the office space should highlight crucial areas like bathrooms and the kitchen or break room, along with information like where trash is emptied or extra supplies are kept. But don’t forget about your work-from-home or remote staff! While they may not be in the same physical space as the rest of the team, you should still let them know how they can reserve meeting spaces virtually or check team availability.
  • Introductions to their team and buddy. Introduce them to their manager and immediate team members. This is also a good opportunity to introduce them to a peer mentor or buddy if your company has that sort of program.
  • Treat them to lunch. If your new hire isn’t from the area, taking them to lunch at a favorite local spot for lunch on their first day is a great way to start getting to know them outside of the office and help them learn more about the town or city. A gift card to somewhere local-to-them for your remote employees or a food delivery service is a fun way to welcome your new team member.

The first month

Trying to relay everything to your new employees during the first week poses a few challenges. The hires likely feel a bit inundated with all their new information. Consider moving non-essentials to the second or third week when they’re starting to find their feet. 

You still have to cover most of this information, but it doesn’t need to be prioritized upfront.

  • Introductions to the wider company. During their first few weeks at the company, make time to introduce your new hire to their closest colleagues and those they might not see as much. This could be senior leadership, members of other teams, or remote employees.
  • Discussions about company culture and events. As the new hire starts to feel more comfortable, the first month is a chance to let them know about some of the optional activities available to them. If it’s the right time of year, invite them to your holiday parties and events. 
  • Training opportunities. Talk to your employees about what opportunities there are for training and ongoing learning, like conferences they can attend.
  • Feedback on their work. The end of the first month is a good time to do your first formal check-in with new team members. By this point, they should be feeling more comfortable with the work they’re doing and their daily expectations.
  • Future check-ins. At the end of the first check-in, put a few dates on the calendar for additional reviews with your new hires. This gives them a chance to share any feedback, ask questions, and discuss how they’re finding their new position.

The first 6 to 12 months

Formalized onboarding slows down in the second half of the first year as the new teammates become integrated members of staff. . But don’t forget about them! Make sure they’re aware of how to contact relevant departments with questions or concerns, while also giving them freedom to adapt and make the role their own as they get their bearings.

How to create an onboarding checklist

Once you’ve mapped out the key pieces of your onboarding checklist, run these steps by the stakeholders involved in employee onboarding. 

HR, IT, and managers of every department should have a chance to review the onboarding checklist to provide feedback about anything missing. They can also draw inspiration from the general onboarding checklist to create their own plans that relate to their department and incorporate training only those team members need.

When everyone is happy with the final version of the onboarding checklist, add it to the project management software you use. Remember that the checklist should be a living document, so use any feedback you receive from new hires to update the template as needed.

Top onboarding software

The goal of onboarding software is to ease new hires into their roles, simplifying paperwork and onboarding tasks for hiring managers.

To be included in the onboarding software category, platforms must:

  • Facilitate communication between employer and employee before the first day of work
  • Track all forms and paperwork needed for the onboarding process
  • Offer task tracking for new hire activities such as the trainings or new hire events

Below are the top 5 leading onboarding software platforms from G2’s Winter 2024 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity. 

1. Paylocity

Paylocity is an all-in-one platform that helps HR professionals take care of their daily tasks like payroll, talent management, and benefits. The tool makes communication between teams and individuals simpler, both during onboarding and throughout the employees’ time working in the company.

What users like best:

“Onboarding new employees is simplified and reduces the amount of work required for hiring managers or HR by allowing the candidate to input all relevant information.”

- Paylocity Review, Sharon K.

What users dislike:

“Customer service is not always the best. It helps to have a knowledgeable account manager who can guide you through changes, updates, etc. The survey section needs to be enhanced because it does not tally the survey up for you. The performance management section can also use some improvements.”

- Paylocity Review, Julie Y.

2. BambooHR

With BambooHR, teams automate essential HR functions like payroll, scheduling, and benefits management through the onboarding process and beyond.

What users like best:

“The product layout is user-friendly, and they have an excellent knowledge base with step-by-step instructions and videos. Their team provided one-on-one support for the first payroll, which made the process less daunting."

- BambooHR Review, Kim W.

What users dislike:

“The main downside at the moment is the analytics capability is weak so you need to extract data and do a lot of the analysis yourself. I also haven't been able to see any proof of AI capabilities and I haven't found an AI roadmap for the platform.”

- BambooHR Review, Björn L.

3. HiBob HRIS

HiBob HRIS is an HR software that alleviates the stress of people management for onsite, remote, and hybrid teams. You can oversee onboarding, performance management, and compensation management from HiBob’s single platform.

What users like best:

“The user-friendly interface ensures easy navigation for employees, establishing the platform as our primary source of truth. Its standout feature lies in the extensive automation options, allowing HR and managers to monitor various processes concurrently. We find it particularly convenient for daily use, and implementing new solutions is a breeze. The integrations with Slack, Jira, and Greenhouse further enhance efficiency, significantly simplifying our workflows.”

- HiBob HRIS Review, Monika L.

What users dislike:

“Some processes are quite manager-centric (for example, 1:1s - although I think that is changing soon). Sometimes we want to issue tasks prior to final approval and the flows cannot manage this, so this has to be done manually.”

- HiBob HRIS Review, Christie B.

4. Gusto

Gusto is an HR system for new or scaling businesses. They can rely on Gusto for tasks like payroll, compensation, and benefits. 

What users like best:

“The system only took a day to figure out. Customer support is very easily accessed. It was easy to implement the system compared to most others. I use it at least once a week and my team updates it several times a week. I like that there are a variety of features. It is really easy to integrate with taxes, unemployment, registering W2, and 1099 employees.”

- Gusto Review, Neil C.

What users dislike:

“Entering historical payroll information can be tricky and you can't correct it yourself if you find you've made a mistake after you've submitted the information. You have to contact support and have Gusto make the correction.”

- Gusto Review, Cindy F.

5. Run by ADP

Run by ADP is an HR software and payroll processor that automates compensation benefits, calculates tax deductions, manages employee handbooks, and posts open positions at the business online.

What users like best:

“I love that it's so easy to use – I run businesses in multiple states and ADP takes care of all the taxes, unemployment, etc., so I never miss an important date. I can also run reports at any time, update employee information, or allow them to do so, and post jobs on ZipRecruiter when in need. I have our retirement plan set up through ADP and also workers comp –so many things that need to be taken care of are all taken care of in one place!”

- Run by ADP Review, Erika H.

What users dislike:

“Time clock features can error sometimes; there are times that people have issues clocking in and out of the application.”

- Run by ADP Review, Brandy T.

Click to chat with G2's Monty-AI

All aboard!

As new team members join your business, give them your best first impression. By building and reviewing your onboarding checklist, you welcome your new employees into the fold so they feel valued from day one.

Hire the best people in your field by creating a formalized recruitment marketing strategy that works across every department.

onboarding software Cross it all off!

Don’t run the risk of forgetting something crucial when bringing in a new hire. Put together your onboarding checklist for your next incoming team member with onboarding software.

onboarding software Cross it all off!

Don’t run the risk of forgetting something crucial when bringing in a new hire. Put together your onboarding checklist for your next incoming team member with onboarding software.

Onboarding Checklist: Your Go-To For New Employee Training Onboarding checklists help you settle in your new hires and stay on track with training. Learn more about creating an onboarding checklist for your team.
Holly Landis Holly Landis is a freelance writer for G2. She also specializes in being a digital marketing consultant, focusing in on-page SEO, copy, and content writing. She works with SMEs and creative businesses that want to be more intentional with their digital strategies and grow organically on channels they own. As a Brit now living in the USA, you'll usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea in her cherished Anne Boleyn mug while watching endless reruns of Parks and Rec.

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