The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist Guide.

Written by Matt Mundey

10 November 2023


complete guide to creating onboarding checklist

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Employee onboarding is a big task. An onboarding checklist can help you, and your new hires, keep track of where they’re up to.

When it comes to creating a new hire onboarding checklist, it can be hard to simplify what you need, and what you don’t.

But creating a standard checklist template will help you simplify your processes and keep better track of your employee onboarding completion rates.

In this blog, we’ll discuss:

  • What is onboarding?
  • What is an onboarding checklist?
  • What to include in an onboarding checklist?

Let’s get started.

What is onboarding?

So, it’s clear that good onboarding is needed if you want to keep your talent.

Choosing the right onboarding process is key.

One way to kickstart that process is creating an onboarding checklist.

What is an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist organises steps a new employee will take when starting a new role.

This organisation helps the employee, their manager as well as the HR team.

Creating an onboarding checklist can be as simple as a tick-list for their first day, or it can span weeks.

What you choose to do with your checklist is totally up to you.

Since onboarding usually contains a lot of moving parts that need to be managed simultaneously, it’s important to create a solid process.

How long should an onboarding checklist be?

The length of your onboarding checklist completely depends on the role the person is taking, and your company.

A person who has a lot of regulatory and compliance aspects to their role will likely have many more onboarding tasks than someone who is joining an entry-level role.

However, you should define some core onboarding tasks that simplify key HR processes no matter the person’s role.

What to include in an onboarding checklist?

We know that onboarding can be messy.

But you still have to cover some key areas when it comes to introducing a new team member:

  • Compliance
  • Management
  • Training
  • Company culture

Your checklist should serve as an easy guide to help your new hire get adjusted and become a productive member of the team.

Let’s look at each in detail.


There’s a certain level of legal compliance required when starting a new role.

That’s things like:

  • Employee contract
  • Informing HMRC and updating tax codes
  • Setting up payment
  • Health and safety training and compliance
  • Sharing and agreeing to company policies


With management, you’re explaining exactly how the person will work in their new team and introducing them to new processes and tasks.

As such, you’ll need to think about:

  • Informing them how to book holidays
  • Running through goal setting and any benefits or bonus schemes based on job performance
  • Team structure and organisational charts
  • Setting them up as a new user of any necessary tools


Learning and development should be a key focus in your business.

So onboarding checklists should cover:

  • Your LMS and any training requirements
  • Skills assessments and training
  • Any supervision or mentoring

Company culture

Encouraging high employee retention is usually best done through a strong company culture.

And so, you need to get this across from the get-go.

  • Explain your culture
  • Set up team meetings
  • Meetings with key people e.g. department heads or senior leaders
  • Set up welcome events
  • Share info about benefits and perks

How to create an onboarding checklist

Now we know what needs to be includes in your checklist, how do we go about simplifying it?

You don’t need to share all of your tasks in one go.

In fact, it’s better to split it out by timeframe.

We usually suggest splitting your onboarding checklists by:

  • Pre-first day
  • First day
  • First week
  • 90-days

This allows you to segment out your tasks and prioritise them.

For example, HMRC tasks need to be completed sooner rather than later, while training materials might take a few days, or even weeks, to get through.

Pre-first day onboarding checklist

Before your new hire starts, prepare.

This will involve some tasks across your teams. But by creating a clear process, you can ensure that tasks are done in time so that new hires arrive to a seamless first day.

Related: How to create a successful onboarding process

Some points to consider for your checklist pre-arrival:

  • Prepare and send employment contracts
  • Check for any access requirements
  • Send the new starter first day instructions
  • Set and book their orientation
  • Set up meetings with relevant teams for new starter
  • Create their email account and any other tool access

First day checklist

Your new hire has arrived, and it’s all very exciting!

But to make sure it doesn’t feel like too much of a whirlwind, here are a few points to consider adding to your first day checklist:

  • Get personal details for HR
  • Set up the employee as PAYE with HMRC
  • Get bank details for payroll
  • Provide HMRC new starter checklist
  • Book health and safety training
  • Send any company policies
  • Give access to any relevant tools
  • Introduce new hire to their team and their job expectations
  • Book meetings with direct team

First week checklist

You’ve made it past the first day, but there’s more work to do.

Here are a few things to consider for your first week onboarding checklist:

  • Set objectives for 30, 60 and 90 days
  • Introduce your learning processes and systems
  • Carry out skills assessment
  • Explain company culture and values
  • Share organisational chart
  • Enroll employee in pension plan
  • Enroll employee in any other benefits

90-day checklist

Your new hire isn’t so new anymore.

They’re three months in, but chances are, they’re only just feeling settled in their role. In fact, we found that most HR experts used 90 days as their deadline for onboarding completion.

At this point, you’ll likely be reviewing goals and job performance and looking to the future for updated goal tracking.

Get more out of onboarding with Think

And there you have it. A run through of the most important parts of any onboarding checklist.

By now, you should be able to make your own checklists and be running a slick onboarding operation.

But, if you’re looking for more support, then we’re on hand. With onboarding dashboards, reporting, checklists and automations, we can help simplify your process to help both your new hires, and your HR team.