Onboarding Checklist: Your Guide to Scalable Employee Success

March 24, 2017 Becky Krill

onboarding checklist

Onboarding is a delicate time in the lifecycle of a new employee. When done right, it’s an opportunity to make a great impression and ensure a working relationship that’s smooth, efficient and productive from the get-go. If done wrong, it can set the relationship on shaky ground from day one. The best way to make sure you get off to a good start is to work from a carefully considered onboarding process checklist.

An onboarding checklist will help you make sure you don’t leave out any steps toward meeting these fundamental goals: 

  • Set the stage for a good working relationship with the employee. 
  • Assimilate him or her into the organization and the team.
  • Get the new employee up to speed as quickly as possible. 

A good checklist isn’t about ticking off steps — it’s about designing your employee’s journey so all the roadblocks to success have been swept out of the way. The onboarding process checklist that follows will help ensure the route is welcoming and empowering.

Phase one of your onboarding process checklist — Activation

Paperwork is a necessary part of onboarding, but it doesn’t need to overwhelm your new hire on their first day. Many onboarding documents can be collected and accounts set up before they arrive at the office. With an online training portal, you can securely gather information and provide preliminary training to help your new team member hit the ground running. 

Sitting in an empty conference room filling out paperwork can feel isolating. If you get it out of the way early — by having the employee complete forms online from home, for example —  you can more swiftly move toward covering the details of the job description, introducing the new employee to the team, and answering any questions they might have. 


  • Collect onboarding documents and data, fill out paperwork — online if possible, and integrated with your training platform.
  • Set up accounts with company email and programs like Slack and Salesforce.
  • Go over the job description in detail to ensure both the supervisor and the new hire understand the required duties.
  • Set aside time to address questions and concerns. 

Related reading: Looking At the Big Picture to Deal With Reluctance to Employee Training

Meeting the team

A fascinating 20-year study done at Tel Aviv University found that the factor most closely linked to an employee’s overall health — good or bad — was the support of coworkers. After all, they’re the people we spend the most time with every day. 

That’s why meeting the team is such an important section of the onboarding process checklist. Take time throughout the first day to introduce the new hire around — both to direct teammates and to key people in other departments. Formal meetings are fine in many cases, but scheduling an informal event like a team lunch or a coffee social is a great way to break the ice and start to form good co-worker bonds. 


  • Schedule a lunch or coffee date to meet teammates on the first day.
  • Assign a “buddy” in the department to check in on the new hire.
  • Set up job shadowing opportunities and site visits.
  • Set up meetings with relevant people in other departments. 

Introduction to the work

Help your new hire get into the swing of things with a small assignment on the first day. Start with something that will give them a quick win and will provide the strong foundation and confidence to keep going. Continue to provide support, documentation and embedded training throughout the first week, and establish a timeline to check in on their goals. 


  • Set a clear, well-explained goal. 
  • Provide all documentation and tools required.
  • Make it clear where to turn if help is needed.
  • Establish a timeline, and schedule a check-in.

Ongoing training

Even if your new hire is already an expert in the skills required for the job, they’re not an expert in the way your company does business. It’s important to have a plan for ongoing training to support the new employee as they learn the ropes. An online training portal is a great way to offer a personalized experience and supply just the right level of support.


  • Get the new hire set up with your online training platform.
  • Make sure they know where to go for further support.
  • Map out training resources relevant to their first few days and weeks. 

Related reading: The Top 7 Benefits of eLearning

Plan for future success

Your onboarding process checklist shouldn’t stop after day one. Make sure your new hire is set up for success by establishing work goals, providing support and scheduling regular check-ins.


  • Set goals and establish measurements of success.
  • Schedule check-ins for 30 days, 45 days and 60 days. 
  • Connect the new hire with a mentor and schedule regular meetings. 

Related reading: New Tech is Sparking a Bright Future for Learning & Development

A confident employee is a productive employee 

Having a thorough and supportive onboarding process is one of the best ways to instill a sense of confidence in your new employee — both confidence in their own ability to do the job and in the professionalism of the company. 

Take time now to design an intuitive, comprehensive onboarding process for your new employees. 


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