A new hire checklist for successful onboarding (+ free template)

Setting up new employees for success from day one is crucial. A solid onboarding plan can help ensure your new employees get a great first impression of your company, while also providing the rest of your team with the resources they need to support the new hire.

One of the best ways to manage all the moving pieces of onboarding is by using a new hire checklist. With a documented and formalized approach to onboarding, you'll show new employees that you're ready to help them succeed starting on their very first day.

Why do HR teams need a new hire checklist?

Onboarding is a new hire's first experience with your company's culture. How you structure the experience — from the meetings to the paperwork — is their introduction to being a part of your team. It conveys what your company expects of them and how much support you offer. If this first experience is positive, it will reinforce your new hire's decision to join your organization.

Using a new hire checklist as part of your onboarding process helps you, as the employer, set the tone immediately. With one checklist, you introduce new hires to your company culture and show them what success at the organization looks like. It can also be a way for you to address initial questions they may have about their role or the company.

Additionally, a new hire checklist standardizes onboarding for everyone, no matter what their role or which member of human resources they're working with. A documented set of steps and processes gives everyone the same experience, making it easy for you to identify future opportunities for improvement.

The complete new hire checklist

Preparing for a new employee can be overwhelming, so we’ve broken down your team's new hire tasks into four smaller, easily digestible checklists:

  • New hire paperwork
  • Company policies, benefits, and general information
  • Employee orientation
  • Equipment and supplies

You can download a printable copy of these checklists below and customize them to meet your needs, or use the items we've listed here to help you create your own checklists.

New hire paperwork

These are critical documents you and/or the new employee will need to complete. They should typically be completed by the end of the employee's first day, if not before:

  • Employee information — including name, address, contact information, and emergency contact information
  • Employment contract — this should ideally be completed prior to the first day and should be signed and kept in the employee's file
  • Background check
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Form
  • W-4 Form
  • State tax withholding form
  • Local tax withholding form
  • Direct Deposit authorization — if the employee wants their pay to be directly deposited into their bank account

Some of these documents, such as the I-9 and W-4, are specifically for human resources teams based in the United States. For human resources teams in other locations, you'll want to consult your country's government website for official documents to use and procedures to follow, like registering new employees and withholding taxes.

Company policies, benefits, and information

Within the first week of employment, you'll want to inform your new hire about company benefits, like health and life insurance. You should also discuss anything critical they should know about your company: formal policies, dress codes, recurring meetings, and so on.

  • Health insurance benefits — including what benefits are offered, when they become available, and what forms must be completed to apply and receive coverage
  • Additional benefits — including life insurance, long- and short-term disability, and parental leave
  • Reimbursement policies and processes
  • Time off policies — holidays, vacation, sick, unpaid, etc.
  • Dress code
  • Working hours
  • Lunch and other break times/policies
  • Technology policy — e.g., can employees take laptops home or is personal internet usage allowed during break times?
  • Any other policies — e.g., smoking on company property or pets in the office
  • Information on (and calendar invitations to) recurring meetings, presentations, or events
  • General company information — company history that is not made publicly available (to help new hires better understand the role they're playing in your organization's story)

Employee orientation

An in-person orientation ensures that your new hire feels welcome, understands their role, and is prepared to get started. This orientation process may last a few days or several weeks depending on their role and your organization.

  • Guided tour of the office — note location of kitchen, bathrooms, employee's team members, other important departments, and emergency exits/route
  • Onboarding meeting with employee's manager scheduled
  • Onboarding meetings with team members scheduled
  • Introductory meeting with company leadership scheduled
  • Training schedule created — this will likely be a collaborative effort between human resources and the employee's manager
  • Initial employee review(s) (30/60/90 days) scheduled
  • Employee feedback on onboarding requested

At the end of the orientation period, ask for the new employee's feedback. What did they enjoy about the onboarding experience, and what could have been done better? This will help you improve your new hire checklist for future additions to the team.

Required equipment and supplies

Finally, depending on your industry and the new hire's role, human resources may need to provide anything from a computer to an 18-wheeler. Below are equipment and supply suggestions to add to your new hire checklist. You should adjust this list as needed based on the requirements of the role.

  • Desk and chair
  • Computer and/or laptop
  • Desk phone and/or cell phone
  • Basic office supplies — pens, paper, sticky notes, etc.
  • Business cards
  • Computer and shared software login and password information
  • Office keys, badge, and/or access codes

Download a free copy of the new hire checklist

To help you better formalize your new hire experience, we've created a downloadable version of these new hire checklists. This document is fully customizable, so you can add, remove, or change items depending on your company size, employee roles, location, and other factors.

With this new hire checklist, you can start successfully onboarding your new hires no matter what their role. You'll also be able to create a consistent, enjoyable experience for everyone participating in onboarding, from your human resources team to your new employees.

About Hire by Google

Hire is a recruiting app by Google that uses AI to make the hiring process faster and simpler. Because it is designed specifically for G Suite users, with Gmail, Google Calendar and other G Suite integrations, Hire streamlines administrative tasks so that your team can hire the best people, faster.