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5 Onboarding Checklist Templates for the Perfect Onboarding Experience

Nov 16, 2020
5 Onboarding Checklist Templates for the Perfect Onboarding Experience
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Most onboarding processes are either completely overlooked or tend to be thrown together at the last minute. Unfortunately, a bad onboarding experience can have an adverse effect on morale, engagement, and even morale. Our new onboarding checklist templates can help you build a perfect onboarding process.


What is the onboarding experience? While many of us know (or think we know) a little about onboarding, chances are that we don’t always consider the entire onboarding process, especially from the new employee’s perspective. 

Onboarding is actually the entire process related to bringing a newly hired employee into your organization, completing all of the required paperwork, but most importantly, creating a positive experience that will leave them highly engaged, motivated, and ready to hit the ground running on their very first day.

Onboarding is also commonly thought of as something “HR does in an hour or two” and that the entire experience starts and stops in HR’s office on the new hire’s first day. It’s important to point out that onboarding includes far more than a few forms. Ideally it should consist of full team introductions, early training on tools and systems, office tours, and handing off personal technology, badges, and anything else the employee will need.

The best onboarding experiences go well beyond such logistical issues though. The best examples make sure employees don’t have any questions, know exactly where to go if they do, and have an extremely clear understanding of exactly what they need to be successful. 

In fact, when done well, onboarding can be a competitive advantage in terms of employee engagement, productivity, retention, and even operating costs. Consider the following research points:


Onboarding checklists and onboarding templates

Okay, so we all agree that onboarding is something we need to do and do well. To help, we created these three checklists for you. Use them as a template to develop your own, but even better, these templates can help you make sure you won’t miss any important steps. Every task will be completed on time and in a way to create meaningful experiences for new hires.

Kaylee Collins
HR Analyst of Osmose Utilities Services, Inc

“Our hiring managers now have a reliable system that is easy to navigate. Our HR team can actively monitor the process, and assist if needed, but Onboard has helped them save so much valuable time and effort while increasing data accuracy. All of this has helped us improve compliance and gives us a powerful tool to achieve even more results in the future.”


1. General: New Hire Onboarding Checklist


Before they start

  • Prepare paperwork, including tax forms, compliance documentation, basic details about the employee, and roles and responsibilities

  • Approve employee paperwork

  • Discuss roles, responsibilities, and early project goals with supervisor

  • Prepare employee’s workspace

  • Provide access to any tools they may need

  • Assign required reading, training, or other steps to get them up to speed

  • Prepare benefits package

  • Provide a job description with responsibilities


On new hire’s first day

  • Welcome him/her to the team

  • Tour the office

  • Assign training material (if required)

  • Provide badge, technology, or any other physical items they need

  • Outline your expectations

  • Explain the company culture

  • Assign a mentor

  • Take them out to lunch!


First 7-30 days

  • Assign first project

  • Approve first project

  • Provide constructive feedback and other coaching

  • Outline expectations for the first 30 days

  • Review and finalize paperwork and answer any questions they may have

  • Plan follow-up check-in meetings

  • Co-develop long-term goals

1. General: New Hire Onboarding Checklist


2. Retail Onboarding Checklist


Before start date

  • Record information

  • Collect vital forms

  • Schedule employee meeting

  • Notify relevant teams and managers

  • Arrange meeting with team

  • Add employee to appropriate email distribution lists

  • Send welcome video (if one exist) or other training materials

  • Prepare for orientation session


Start date

  • Tour facilities

  • Explain technology and systems

  • Introduce team members and employees

  • Describe job expectations and performance requirements

  • Train on more advanced equipment (if appropriate)

  • Continued Q&A and ongoing communication


Longer term

  • Schedule or promote one-on-one meetings

  • Schedule a 30-day check in for early feedback and constructive coaching

  • Encourage questions, provide feedback, and create longer-term goals


    2. Retail Onboarding Checklist


3. Restaurant and Hospitality Onboarding Checklist


Before the First Day

  • Record new hire’s details

  • Prepare welcome letter

  • Highlight other staff and total work duties

  • Assign a mentor

  • Inform other staff


First week/month

  • Evaluate performance closely

  • Schedule follow-up meetings for feedback (if necessary)

  • Give opportunity for questions or to provide more information

    4. Field-based employee onboarding checklist


4. Field-based employee onboarding checklist


Before Day 1

  • Confirm start date, location, contact details, and other information

  • Send the employee a welcome email with a welcome packet or a link to an onboarding portal

  • Provide access to documentation so they can complete it ahead of time

  • Send a confirmation three to five days before the start date

  • Confirm details such as meeting field-base managers or other personnel

  • Provide field-based equipment or technology, such as laptop, mobile device, or specialized equipment


Week one and beyond

  • Give the opportunity for regular check ins to make sure employees are getting up to speed

  • Check in the the employee about technology, machinery, or use of field-based equipment

  • Answer any early questions the employee may have

  • Communicate performance goals and objectives

  • Check in with supervisors or team leads

  • Schedule relevant training sessions

  • Review certifications (if needed) and schedule learning events to keep them up to speed

2. Retail Onboarding Checklist


5. Remote employee and virtual employee onboarding checklist


Tips in the recruiting phase

  • Make sure any recruiting messages clearly communicate the role and responsibilities

  • Communicate your company’s culture, values, mission, and other details

  • Carefully create interview questions to clearly and transparently communicate what such a remote role will be like at your company


Onboarding remote or virtual employees

  • Carefully create an offer letter than includes all details

  • Include details related schedules, time-off policies, on-site requirements (if any), equipment you may/may not provide, and more

  • Communicate important details related to reporting, working with managers, and collaborating with team members


Day one:

  • Prepare paperwork, such as tax forms, legal forms, the job offer, job description, and more

  • Have employees complete paperwork, ideally ahead of time

  • Walk employees through company-specific elements such as the company org chart, company directory, handbooks, videos, policy documentation, and more

  • Have employees sign documents using E-Signature-enabled HR software or onboarding technology


  • Engage employees!

  • Make them feel part of the team

  • Keep them excited, motivated, and informed

  • Encourage team members to welcome new hires

  • Make them part of the team with informal recognition, kudos, or other forms of encouragement

  • Recognize and reward early efforts and successes

  • Answer any questions they may have

  • Train employees on existing systems, such as intranet software, CMS tools, or other ways to find information they need to do their jobs

  • Schedule regular meetings to answer questions and provide feedback

Related resource: If you’re looking for additional information related to communicating, collaborating, and engaging remote teams and virtual employees, download our eBook, “A Better Way to Communicate and Engage Remote Workers,” today.

5. Remote employee and virtual employee onboarding checklist

Onboarding that works for everyone

We hope these checklists help give you a starting point to create the ideal onboarding experience for your company. Even better, our Onboarding solution lets you create custom onboarding tasks, workflows, or processes, so no matter what experience you’re trying to create, we’re ready to help.

About Author: This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software  increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.

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