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New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Published October 14, 2020 (last updated on April 26, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


So, you’ve hired a new recruit. Congratulations!

You want them to get into the swing of things as quickly as possible.

And one of the best ways to do that is to put together a new hire onboarding checklist. This blog will help you through putting together a checklist to make sure you give your new employee the best start possible.

Onboarding Best Practices

There is no ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ way to onboard a new employee. There is a ‘best’ way that works for you or your business. Every business is different but there are certain practices you must implement for onboarding new employees successfully.

This is called ‘best practice’ and throughout this article we will discuss best practice, as well as recommendations from Employsure.

Before Their First Day

1. Communicate to the team.

Before the new hire joins your existing team – if applicable – let your team know of their pending arrival. Describe the role the person is filling, how they will fit into the broader picture, why you chose this person, and – of course – how excited you are to have them on board.

2. Prepare new hire paperwork.

Prepare the employee’s contract and any supporting documents (e.g. Handbooks or policies), along with the Fair Work Information Statement, and share with your new recruit beforehand so that they can sign and return any documents ahead of time. This is also a good opportunity to get them to fill out any forms (e.g. payroll or superannuation choice forms), so that they can hit the ground running on their first day.

Employsure recommends you put together an Employee Handbook. This Handbook sets out the employer’s rules and regulations, and policies and procedures relating to your employment.

3. Procure equipment.

The employee will likely need equipment, supplied by you, to perform their role. This can include anything from tools and stationery to things like computers and printers. You may also need or want to provide clothes to your employees; uniforms, PPE, helmets and so on.

4. Set up accounts and create logins.

Do you have software that your employee may need to use? Or, do you have security systems – even including keys – that your employee may need to unlock to perform their role?

5. Set up the workspace.

Help your new hire hit the ground running by setting up their workspace so they can get to work straight away.

6. Give them a buddy.

Organise another one of your employees to be a ‘buddy’ for your new recruit to help them fit in at their new workplace.

Their First Week

1. Map out their first day plan.

Smooth out your new employee’s first day with a plan on their first day. After all, doing so will help you optimise getting them on board and will give them a first impression of your business as being organised. Consider: What are you going to show them, and in what order? What’s the best way of explaining the company to the new hire? How will you introduce them to their team?

2. Set aside training time.

Your employee may need a few days to get across everything they need to know in their role. And, you don’t want to overwhelm them with new information. Organise yourself, their employees or their buddy to take the new recruit away from their workstation to train in the company’s operations or culture at different points throughout their first week.

3. Check in with them at the end of the week.

At week’s end, check in with your employee. Ask them how they’ve finding their new job, if anything is unclear and confusing, and so forth. You want to make sure you see the employee in their second week – you don’t want them to become part of the 16% of employees who quit in their first week.

The New Hire’s First Year

Probation Management

As an employer, you can put on your employee on probation when you first employee them. A probationary period gives you the opportunity to assess whether your new employee is capable, reliable and suitable for the job. The standard period is usually three to six months and is written into the contract of employment.

If you don’t believe your employee is a good fit, you can terminate their employment more easily during probation.

Professional Development

Does your new hire have all the skills required to do the job? Or, during their employment, have you realised that a skill is needed that you hadn’t considered previously? Further still, does your business require specialised skills that you need to train them in?
Professional development is something you should consider for your employee in their first year.

First Anniversary

Don’t forget to celebrate your new hire’s first anniversary either. A little reminder like this can go a long way to cultivating a good workplace culture, maintaining a happy workplace, and employee retention.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Onboarding an Employee Important?

Onboarding an employee is important for a few reasons. It is an efficient way of communicating company values and behaviours; educating your new hire about the business’ operations; and it’s a great opportunity for a good first impression of your employee, potentially leading to greater employee retention.

What Kind of Information Should My New Hire Checklist Contain?

Your new hire checklist should contain information about:

  • The Role
  • The Team
  • The Equipment or tools needed.
  • The company’s values
  • The company’s operations
  • The company’s history
  • And more.
What Information Do You Need From A New Employee?

When you bring on a new employee, you will need to gather the following details and documents:

  • A signed employment contract
  • Bank account details in order to coordinate payroll
  • A completed Tax File Number declaration form (can be found on ATO website)
  • A completed superannuation choice form (can be found on the ATO website). Note that you are only required to pay superannuation for employees who earn more than $450 or more (before tax) in a month.
  • Contact details for themselves as well as for an emergency contact

Any relevant qualifications or details you need in order for them to do their job (e.g. a copy of their driving licence if they are required to drive as part of their role)

Should My Small Business Use A New Employee Checklist?

Employsure recommends that your small business should use a new employee checklist. It is an easy and efficient way of organising everything you may need when hiring a new staff member.

What Should My Employee Onboarding Process Look Like?
  1. Communicate new hire to the team
  2. Complete all new starter paperwork
  3. Prepare a first day plan
  4. Prepare any equipment required such as a computer, desk and/or PPE
  5. Set up accounts and/or logins
  6. Assign a ‘buddy’
  7. Take time to explain any company policies, ground rules and expectations
  8. Take time out to explain performance expectations and set goals
  9. Arrange introductions with team members
  10. Set aside time for training, including any safety inductions
  11. Check in regularly
  12. Monitor performance and provide feedback where required
How Long Should It Take A New Hire to Get Up to Speed?

It depends on the role and the business; management roles obviously would take longer for the new employee to get up to speed than an entry-level role.

How Do I Onboard A New Employee Remotely?
  • Complete all new starter paperwork online, or via mail
  • Prepare a first day plan
  • Send out any equipment so that it can arrive prior to their first day
  • Ask the new hire to complete a home working risk assessment to identify if they require any additional equipment or alternative arrangements to ensure they have a safe ergonomic set-up
  • Set up all accounts and/or logins
  • Use videoconferencing as much as possible for training and orientations
  • Arrange virtual catch-ups with all of their new team members
  • Take extra time to explain the company culture, key persons, and ‘how things get done’, as it can be harder to pick these things up remotely
  • Set clear performance expectations and check in on performance and work regularly
  • Set aside dedicated time each day for your new hire to ask questions
  • Arrange some informal catch-ups with the team – for example, a virtual lunch or coffee catch up
How Long Is the Onboarding Process?

This is an open-ended question. The length of an onboarding process depends on what works for your business. However, Employsure recommends the onboarding process take four days.

Who Is Responsible for Employee Onboarding?

If you’re a small business and do not have an HR team, yourself, the manager of the business (if applicable) or the new employee’s future manager (if applicable) should be responsible for the employee’s onboarding. Employsure recommends that the onboarding process should be generalised for every new employee, so that their experiences are standardised.

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