Did you know that, according to a study by Glassdoor, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and employee productivity by over 70%? If you want your process to be as successful, you’ll need to create an employee onboarding checklist to help your new hire. Take a look at why you should invest some time into this process as well as which major categories you’ll need to cover. Then, learn more about a helpful onboarding process checklist you can use to get started.  

Why is employee onboarding important?

Employee onboarding, including onboarding remote employees, is important because it has a number of extremely practical benefits including better employee retention, increased productivity, and additional data that can be used for future hiring processes. And those are just the measurable advantages. There are also the emotional benefits of making employees feel welcome and confident about their new position. 

Pro tip: It’s important to think of the onboarding process checklist as an experience you are building for the new hire. Keep that in mind as you try our tips and build out your own.

What to put in your new hire onboarding checklist

Your onboarding process checklist should evenly cover three major categories: requirements, company, and role. Here’s the breakdown of each area and what you absolutely must include if you want to cover all the bases.  

New hire onboarding checklist: Required documents and training

The requirements section includes all the nitty-gritty practical new hire details such as adding them to payroll, giving them access to your project management platform and fulfilling any legal paperwork or compliance training. Here are some universal requirements items to add to your own checklist for both in-person and virtual onboarding

1. Contracts

Include all hiring paperwork, privacy agreements, and HR-related forms in one bulleted list. Add contact points for both your legal and HR departments to the task so they’ll be notified as soon as the forms are signed and get the ball rolling even faster. Have your new hire write questions within the individual paperwork task item so that these same points of contact won’t have to dig through messy email chains to get a refresher on their details.  

2. Accounting 

Confirm information about compensation, benefits, and payment processes. Get them set up with payroll and make any necessary profiles related to their benefits. 

3. Training

Now is the time to get them up to date on any training related to specific software tools, compliance, and state-mandated certificates

New hire onboarding checklist: Company culture

The company culture section covers anything and everything your new hire needs to know about the company itself. While the requirements section gets all the professional issues out of the way, there’s more room for fun in the company section. In fact, the emphasis should be on how you want to make your new hire feel. The goal is to leave them feeling more comfortable with the transition and connected to the core mission of your company. 

1. Background

Go over the brand’s history, mission, and major milestones to give new hires a sense of the bigger picture and how they fit into the narrative. Directly connect their work to the company objectives so that they know how and why their job matters if you want to greatly boost morale right from the start. 

2. Company culture

Introduce them to the social aspects of the company. Let them know about fun employee perks such as virtual hangouts with paid delivery food or office theme days. Take the time to highlight how the company’s background and mission are reflected in the way you take care of your employees. For example, if philanthropy is a cornerstone of the brand, make note of any charity work employees formally or informally take part in. 

3. Introductions

Highlight your company culture by coming up with creative ways for new hires to meet and get to know their new colleagues. Welcome lunches, virtual meet and greets, and informal introductions on team calls can help a new employee feel at home at a new company. 

To help new hires become familiar with their teammates, consider creating a short directory of key people in their department. This can help put faces to names and job titles. Encouraging their colleagues to send a Slack message, welcome email, or personalized video introduction of themselves can also help new hires bond with their new work mates. 

New hire onboarding checklist: Work expectations

The work expectations section deals with the practicality of fulfilling their new duties and responsibilities. Introduce them to who they’ll be directly working with and set high-level expectations for your work together. You can also use this part of the checklist to get them acquainted with additional tools and physical equipment required for the job. And don’t forget to go over skill-building or advanced learning opportunities as well.

1. Expectations

Answer questions about what their day-to-day work should entail as well as what you expect from them long term for both their work and interpersonal relationships with the team at large. Go over how your regular review process works and the details of any trial period parameters you may have in place. 

2. Schedule

Provide a schedule for their first week or weeks on the job. Include what time they should be in the office or at their computer, if working remotely. Let them know if you’d like them to check in about progress updates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Limit their first-week tasks to setting up and troubleshooting as there can often be a delay or learning curve during the onboarding process.

3. Equipment

Outline all equipment they will need. Note what will be provided and what they are expected to have ready. Because money talk can be an extremely uncomfortable conversation for a new hire, let them know how and when they’ll be compensated for any work-related purchases if they have expenses required for the job.

For equipment you plan to provide, include links or instructions on how to use each piece of technology as well as when they can expect to receive everything if it hasn’t been put together yet. 

Also, introduce them to a direct contact who can help with any technical or setup issues they may have in the first week. 

Introducing Wrike's new employee onboarding checklist

Wrike’s new employee onboarding checklist is a free template you can use to get your new hire set up and off to a strong start even before their first day. 

In addition to showing how professional your organization is, a templated new employee onboarding checklist will also increase your team’s efficiency because they won’t have to reinvent the wheel by creating a brand new list or document every time a new hire joins the company. Consistent formatting and high-level organization will make a great impression too. And unlike a regular word document, Wrike’s new employee onboarding checklist can automate key aspects of the process including step approvals, task timelines, and collaborator notifications. 

Use templates to create an effective employee onboarding checklist

Now that you know about how an employee onboarding checklist helps improve employee performance and wellbeing, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Use Wrike’s new employee onboarding template through our free trial. Add in the suggested items the prerequisites, company, and role categories, and you’ll be well on your way to set everyone up for success during this transition.