New Hire Onboarding Is Simplified with This New Hire Checklist

By Sivan Kaspi, Updated on November 27, 2023, 7 min read
New Hire Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of integrating employees into your company, both practically – through legal and tax obligations – as well as socially – through introductions into the company culture. In this blog, we’ll look at why a new hire checklist is absolutely critical for your team. As part of our leadership series that previously looked at team motivation, getting your employees up and running fast is critical.


Onboarding a new hire can be challenging, with lots to do and some potentially serious repercussions if something falls through the cracks, which is why an onboarding checklist is so vital. You might be wondering, what is an onboarding checklist? An onboarding checklist lays out the key actions you need to take when hiring somebody into your company. It allows you to go through the process one step at a time and ensure that you don’t miss any of the crucial elements.


When we talk about crucial elements of a new hire checklist, it isn’t just about making sure the paperwork is in order (although that is very important!). There are plenty of “softer” aspects of the onboarding process that are vital to ensuring a new hire is a long-term hire. When onboarding is handled well, it can increase employee engagement and reduce your turnover rate – done poorly, however, it can lead to new hires feeling isolated or lost, which can quickly turn into a resignation letter.


Onboarding differs from company to company, specifically the softer aspects, but a few constants are a must for any new hire. We’ve put together the bread-and-butter of onboarding into a free, easy-to-use, new hire checklist to simplify the process at your company.

We’re going to be looking at how and why you need to include:

  • The welcome pack

  • Employee handbook and policy review

  • Benefits information

  • Equipment needs

  • Computer and software needs

  • Creating a training plan

  • Meeting the manager and team

  • Tax forms

  • Payroll forms


Give Them a Welcome Packet



The welcome packet is your way to effectively communicate important information as well as set the tone of your working relationship. It communicates practical information, like company structure, as well as company culture like your mission statement.


A good welcome packet helps to establish expectations through company goals, as well as provide answers to common new-hire questions. What’s more, it shows good organization and speeds up the onboarding process as a whole.


As with much of the new hire checklist, the welcome packet needs to be tailored to your individual company needs, but a few components you should make sure to include are:

  • CEO welcome letter

  • Company paperwork

  • Company and team structure

  • Employee handbook

  • Personal information survey

  • Technology information


However, you can’t just hand over the welcome packet and expect it to be done! Many of the components need further explanation and discussion – starting with the employee handbook, which is next on our onboarding checklist.



Include an Employee Handbook and Policy Review

Your employee handbook should be a comprehensive, well-written, and concise document covering all the core information about your company. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your company policies, your legal obligations as an employer, the employee’s rights, expectations (on both sides), as well as anything specific to your industry.


Everything from the dress code to the equal opportunity policies must be included in this document. It’s a good idea to go through some of the most important or specific policies with the new hire so they understand what might be different than previous places of employment. Have a sit-down meeting to review your company policies as part of your onboarding checklist.



Benefits Information

One of the key areas of your employee handbook to go through with a new hire as part of your onboarding checklist is the benefits your company offers. This includes any practical steps, such as insurance registration, but can also provide an overview of benefits to help validate your employee’s decision to work with you.


Remember, they’re taking just as big a risk as you are, and being greeted with a rundown of the benefits your company offers will go a long way to settling their nerves and any second thoughts they might be having about whether they made the right choice.



Assign All Necessary Equipment

Equipment needs will differ depending on your industry and can range from hand tools to vehicles to paper and a pen. Whatever the equipment is that your new hire needs to get their job done, make sure they have it. Not only does this allow them to do their job (that’s why you hired them, no?), but not having equipment ready for onboarding can make a new employee feel like an afterthought.


Worse still, if it takes time to get a new hire the equipment they need, it can quickly lead to feelings of superfluousness, and according to the most recent research, new hires won’t hang about if they aren’t happy in a role.



Assign a Computer and Any Software Needed



Practically any role in a modern company will require the use of a computer and specific software. Just as with equipment, getting a new hire access to the software they need (accounts and passwords) should be a top priority.


This can become tricky when you’ve got an unmanageable tech stack — one app for chat, one for tasks, one for online notes, etc — which is why you should consolidate your productivity, communication, and collaboration tools into a single app.


Prepare your new hire hire checklist with online notes

Spike offers comprehensive communication in a simple package, along with some of the most cutting-edge task management tools & software you could ask for. This helps existing employees get their job done, and since it is an all-in-one solution, also cuts down on your software onboarding significantly.




Create a Training Plan

If there are specific areas that a new hire needs to be trained in to do their job, these should be scheduled as soon as possible. What’s more, as part of the new hire checklist, sit down and discuss with the new hire whether there are any areas in which they feel extra training would be a benefit.


If your company offers internal training in that area, great! If not, perhaps it’s worth exploring further to see if it could benefit your team as a whole.



Meet With the Manager and/or Team Members

Your new hire needs to know who they are working for and with. It may sound silly, but it can be easy to forget to introduce a new team member to everyone, especially when it comes to remote teams. The meeting with the manager is an opportunity to concretize the responsibilities and goals of the new hire, as well as build the contact channels for any support the new hire might need.


Meeting team members also help build out the communication channels necessary for a productive work environment but can be a lot less formal than meeting with direct managers.



Complete Tax Forms (W4, I9, and State Tax Forms)

Is it boring? Yes. Is it necessary? Also, yes. It probably shouldn’t be the first part of a new hire checklist process, but having all of the relevant legal forms completed and filed is vital to ensure that both you and the new employee stay compliant.


Failure to fill in the relevant paperwork can lead to significant fines – make it part of any onboarding checklist!



Complete Payroll Forms

This overlaps with the previous item on our checklist as far as tax-related forms go, but also remember to ensure your new hire’s payroll information is present and correct. You may run the most desirable company in the world (we’re sure you do), but at the end of the day, employees are there to get paid.


An oversight in payroll can very quickly start off your new employer/employee relationship on the wrong foot.



A Quick Rundown of Your New Hire Checklist

To recap, make sure that you’ve covered:

  • The welcome packet

  • Employee handbook and policy review

  • Benefits information

  • Equipment needs

  • Computer and software needs

  • Creating a training plan

  • Meeting the manager and team

  • Tax forms

  • Payroll forms


Now you’ve got a new hire checklist of the basics of onboarding a new hire at your company, it’s time to add your own special sauce. Think about what makes your company a great place to work; your company culture; and the aspects of work that you wish you’d known when you started. Take all these pieces and bake them into a comprehensive, ongoing, onboarding plan.


Starting a new job is a nerve-racking time for both the employee and the company they’re going to work for, and a good new hire checklist can help smooth the way to a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. Next up, check out our guide to building a great work environment.


Sivan Kaspi Sivan is the Director of Marketing at Spike. A firm believer that the right kind of tech actually helps us use it less, she is passionate about tools that improve our lives. She starts off each morning reviewing her Spike feed over a good cup of coffee.

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