Only New Employee Onboarding Checklist You Need in 2021

When I started my first job as a creative content writer, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be a good fit for the role, since the little ‘’creative’’ part of the job description is what made it mysterious.

I wouldn’t even be able to understand how important it is, if it wasn’t for my amazing manager, though.

Thinking of it, the process I’ve been through in 3 months is intense. Yet, I didn’t feel any pressure or burnout.

I wonder how difficult it was for my manager to fully understand how to onboard new team members…

He must have done his research.

Because the onboarding checklist he gave me for me to self-serve myself, and the things he did, in addition, were 100% on point.

I’m also lucky to have such a great team leader because if it wasn’t for him, it would have been much more difficult to write this post for you…

I’ll teach you everything I learned from my manager, I promise.

So let’s begin with:

What is an onboarding checklist?

What is an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a checklist that you follow to provide a smooth and frictionless onboarding experience to the employees. You simply write down what you and the new employee needs to do during the onboarding, which allows you to better keep track of the process and keep it around all the time.

While some points of the employee onboarding checklist can be the same in some companies,  there is no onboarding checklist better than the one you have customized for your business.

While onboarding takes about a month for newly hired employees, it can be shorter or longer depending on the information presented.

More time is required if onboarding consists of more complicated tasks that require additional explanations by supervisors and vice versa – less time for onboarding with no additional tasks or responsibilities given.

Still, don’t forget that onboarding is not a straight line, but a circle that reoccurs anytime a new task is presented to any employee.

So, while the initial onboarding might take a month, the process of onboarding will be spread into years.

While this is the case, an onboarding checklist helps both employees and their managers to go through all the steps necessary in order for the onboarding process to be successful in an efficient manner. 

Why do you need an onboarding checklist?

When I started working, there was a reading list waiting for me and detailed guides about what I might not know.

That list is what made me decide to go with this company until the end.

Because as I thought, anytime something new came up, a custom-written guide came with it for me and my colleagues to clearly understand the task.

The point is, My company would never have a creative content writer that is eager to do her best to bring value to the company if it wasn’t for the amazing first impression and onboarding experience I had.

What kept all the steps clear for me AND my manager was the checklist that we could both follow.

I guess I’m a living document that onboarding checklists are a must…

What should you include in an onboarding checklist?

What should you include in an onboarding checklist?

The onboarding schedule has two parts. The first part is things that need to be done before an employee starts working. The second part is what happens on the first day of work.

The first part includes

  • filling out paperwork
  • meeting with management

And the second part includes getting familiar with a person’s job role responsibilities, deliverables, and deadlines.

On the checklist, you should specify what the employee needs to learn about:

  • The role and responsibilities
  • The work ethics of the company
  • The traditions and methods of the company
  • The policies
  • How and where to find further help

Last but not least, don’t forget to check to make sure that all tasks are completed during onboarding dates. If any employee misses a task- let everyone know about it!

Free Employee Onboarding Checklist to Download (in Excel, Word, PDF, Notion, and PNG formats)

​​It’s best to keep things tracked and organized, right?

Let’s divide the checklist into 4 steps:

  1. Before Starting
  2. The First Day
  3. The First Week
  4. Towards The End Of Initial Onboarding Process

It wouldn’t be fair to write unactionable words here and expect you to fully understand it.

Therefore we prepared a throughout Employee Onboarding Checklist that is ready for you to download use.

It’s free, we’ll send you a notice for you to download it. Don’t forget to let us know that you want it.

Tips to better utilize the employee onboarding checklists

First, you’ll need to decide which onboarding checklist template will suit you the most. Make sure it has all of the points that matter in a typical onboarding process and delete everything unnecessary.

Next, hire a new employee and schedule onboarding meetings with him or her right after hiring.

This will give your new team member enough time not only to learn about what he/she needs to do at their job but also get comfortable with coworkers and management before starting working.

This onboarding checklist will also help you and new employees to talk about what they need to bring from their previous job and learn about your company culture, values, expectations, etc. 

And last but not least, it’ll give you a chance to show them around the office.

This onboarding checklist template can be easily customized and adapted by adding or deleting onboarding activities.

For example, because the onboarding checklist includes the ‘’Acquaint yourself with company culture’’ task, don’t forget to provide a link to the company standards document.

Or if onboarding requires filling out some paperwork – make sure the onboarding checklist includes what papers need to be completed.

Similarly, as you go through each step of onboarding with new hires, this should also be added in one of the columns so you can easily check it off as you go.

And remember, onboarding is a process, not an event!

So don’t forget to add a date when the initial onboarding should be completed and plan it in advance accordingly.

During onboarding, continuously monitor how new hires are doing and talk with them about each onboarding checklist task that they need to complete. This will help you fix any issues that might occur without creating additional stress and conflicts between employees and you.


Frequently Asked Questions:


What does a good onboarding program look like?

A good onboarding program is one that can be easily customized for an employee but has a clear goal. If there is any friction between the manager, the onboarding program, and the employee, all parties have the responsibility to work on the process and make it suitable.


What are the 5 C’s of onboarding?

The 5 C’s of a new employee onboarding program are:

  1. Compliance
  2. Clarification
  3. Confidence
  4. Connection
  5. And culture.

How do I make an onboarding checklist?

You can start by listing out the desired end results and the provided materials. Then, you should link these two, considering the fact that not every method suits every person. Or instead, you can simply download our Employee Checklist for free!


Hilal Yıldırım

Hilal is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, specializing in onboarding and growth. When she isn't writing, you probably can't find her: she could be anywhere, taking photographs on her motorbike.

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