Onboarding is a crucial part of any new hire’s journey through a company and as the person responsible for HR, it’s your role to make it go as smoothly as possible.

However, the process is made of many steps that can be easily forgotten if you’ve already got a lot on your mind.

That’s where an employee onboarding checklist template becomes essential to make sure you don’t leave anything out and set up your new hires for success, right from day one.

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Why should you follow an onboarding checklist template? 

There are several reasons why you should have a new hire onboarding checklist and why you shouldn’t dive right into it without an idea of what the process looks like:

  • Getting all the steps right and not missing any – even if it’s a small one or if you think you already know all about the employee onboarding process
  • Ensuring your new hires know they’re in good hands with a well-rounded process 
  • Streamlining your processes to set up every new employee for success

What should an employee onboarding checklist include?

Of course, there’s no “right way“ of doing an employee onboarding checklist. After all, all companies are different and will use a multitude of methods to onboard team members.

However, when it comes to onboarding processes for small businesses in the UK, there are a lot of similar aspects to consider, whether it‘s on a practical or compliance level.

But first, let’s have a look at what the 4 phases of onboarding look like:

  • Pre-onboarding – preparation before the new hire’s first day
  • First day – when the new hire starts their job
  • First month – an important part of the employee’s journey to set them on the course to success
  • End of probation – crucial to ensure that everything has been successfully achieved and the new hire is on their way to become a high-performing team member

The best way to approach onboarding is by having a separate checklist for each of these phases — so you won't forget anything.

The 5 essential employee onboarding checklist templates for your business

Onboarding checklist 1 – Before the new hire’s first day

The onboarding plan starts way before your new hire’s start date and directly after they’ve accepted the job offer.

The quicker you are to process all their information and get all the onboarding tasks ready, the more confident they’ll feel about joining your business and starting their new job.

Here’s roughly what your new hire checklist should include – you can of course cut or add to it depending on your situation:

Send contract and have it signed 
Set up email address
Invite them on Slack
Order laptop 
Set up desk 
Order office access and fob 
Inform payroll of new hire
Email first-day agenda
Invite to company meetings 
Assign an onboarding buddy 
Book introduction meetings with key people in the business
Send welcome email/letter a few days before they start 
Book probation meeting in advance 

You can also choose to download a Google Doc version of this checklist to make it your own, convert it into PDF or download it under whatever format you feel is the right one. Simply click the link below. 

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Of course, getting a new employee onboarding checklist template is important, but you won’t be the only person involved in the process.

Bear in mind that you’ll have to account for the new hire’s manager, their coworkers, the IT team and anyone who needs to help you set up an effective onboarding experience.

As the person responsible for HR, all of this will be on your mind as part of your day-to-day, but it’s not the case for the rest of your coworkers if they’re already busy with something else.

Perhaps that’s where automation can come in to help. With software like CharlieHR, for example, you can create checklists from scratch, assign them to coworkers and set a due date – they get automatic reminders so you never have to chase.

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Maybe have a look for yourself and start a free 14-day trial today. 

Onboarding Checklist 2 – New hire’s first day

First days can be nerve wracking – both for you and your new hire. That’s why getting that day right is important to make a good first impression.

To ensure your new team member feels confident in their new role, you‘ll be responsible to give them an onboarding experience that’s as smooth as possible.

So get your employee onboarding right to strike the right balance between an informative and welcoming first day.

Here’s the list of things you should aim for: 

Complete new starter document or get their P45
Check their passport 
Complete any other hiring paperwork you might have on top
Book a coffee with them to make the process more welcoming 
Organise a welcome lunch with their team 
Give them an office tour
Get the hiring manager to book a welcome meeting
Show them how to book time off 
Give them access to your employee handbook so they can familiarise themselves with your company policies 
Ask the manager to give an overview of the regular meetings the new hire will be attending
Get manager to set a one-to-one for the end of the week 
Ask managers to share goals for the rest of the week 
Give them a run-through of your HR software
First day checklist image

As mentioned, first days can be overwhelming and an employee onboarding checklist template will help you not forget about anything, but it won’t remove the mental load of having to make the new hire feel welcome and storing and sorting all the documents.

With CharlieHR, you can make that process effortless by creating a custom onboarding flow that guarantees hiring compliance, reflects your company culture and lets you oversee the process without ever needing to chase.

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Maybe have a look for yourself and start a free 14-day trial today. 

Onboarding Checklist 3 – New hire’s first month

Just because you’ve got your new hire on board, that’s not why you should get them out of your sight. You’ll still need to overlook their onboarding process and make sure everything is going smoothly.

Here’s what your checklist should include:

First week

Hiring manager to provide concrete information about the role, including job description
Manager to set goals for next week and start involving new hire in team work
Check in with manager on how the new hire is doing

Second week

Manager to discuss performance and goals for the next three months until end of probation 
Manager to set clear expectations about what is expected at the end of probation

Third week

Give feedback on how their work is going and what they could improve
Provide support on areas where it’s needed

Collect feedback from other team members on quality of work 

Gauge whether passing probation is likely to happen or not 

Organise a team event to make new hire feel welcome

Check in with manager on how new hire is doing

Fourth week

Check all documentation is in check before payday
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Onboarding Checklist 4 - End of probation checklist

The end of onboarding means checking whether the performance of your new hire is up to scratch. Clearly, that’s the whole mission your employee onboarding checklist has been fulfilling ever since, and it’s time to reap the rewards of your onboarding process.

Here are a few things you can’t miss for your end of probation checklist:

Put together notes about the way they work and make sure you hired the right person 
Invite new hire to share feedback during their meeting  

Make final decision before probation meeting

If extending or terminating probation, prepare notes and explanations – have a process at the ready

Announce decision to new hire 

If new hire passed probation

Collect feedback about onboarding
Start creating a plan for their progression 
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You’re now excited about your new hire passing probation, but what happens next? To build high-performing and engaged team members, you need to make sure you encourage their progress and give them the right direction to follow.

That’s where performance reviews come into place, but they can be a  time-consuming process: creating a process, reminding everyone to have their meetings, reviewing everyone’s notes, etc.

With CharlieHR, it can be completely effortless – it all happens in the software where manager and team member can share their feedback and schedule a meeting – you simply have to watch it happening and gather the results. 

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Maybe have a look for yourself and start a free 14-day trial today. 

Onboarding Checklist 5 - Employee onboarding checklist Excel template

Perhaps you’re fond of keeping it all in print and the employee onboarding checklists you downloaded before are enough.

However, if you’d like to have everything in one place, we’ve created this Excel checklist template so you can keep track of all your team members, assign tasks to coworkers and mark them as not done, completed or in-progress.

Want a smoother process?

Download your all-in-one onboarding checklist now

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How do I make my own onboarding checklist?

Perhaps you need to tailor the content of your employee onboarding template, and you’re not sure whether the options we got above are suitable to your business. 

To make your own onboarding checklist, you’ve got tons of solutions available: 

  • Free checklist app – a simple tool that will allow you to create or copy processes, including onboarding checklists, share it with other team members and track the progress they’re making towards it.
  • Excel/Word documents – if you’re into more traditional methods, maybe you can try a hand at making your own checklist on Excel or Word.
  • HR software – an all-in-one solution where you can create checklists, assign task to people, upload documents, create deadlines, get automatic reminders and have the rest of your HR on the same platform 
Try CharlieHR for free

Onboarding Checklist FAQs

What is an employee onboarding checklist?

An employee onboarding checklist is a list of things to do in order to set up a new hire for success when they join your company. A good onboarding checklist ensures the way you welcome new starters is efficient and consistent, which in turn helps you increase retention and employee engagement.  

How to create an onboarding checklist?

One way to build your employee onboarding checklist is to split it into several parts (like we did in this guide), to ensure you cover all the different phases of onboarding, from the new hire’s first day to the end of probation.

Alternatively, you could also split it by owner, in which case you’d have different checklists for:

  • The HR team – to tick off all the operational side of things
  • The Finance team – to ensure new starters are added to your company’s payroll system and are granted their share options (if applicable)
  • Their line manager – to get them up to speed with their role’s responsibilities

Did you know that you can use HR software like Charlie to create your onboarding checklists and delegate tasks to the right people? 

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