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The ultimate onboarding checklist guide – setting the stage for employee success

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Executive Summary: Effective onboarding is a crucial element of employee experience in an organization. It has the power to enhance or diminish employee engagement, and also influences how quickly they start to contribute. This makes it imperative for companies to carefully organize their onboarding process for new hires. This article provides a glimpse into the onboarding journey, the contemporary onboarding checklists adopted by modern companies, and the tried-and-true methods to craft your own onboarding checklist.

Picture yourself hiring a new employee for a critical role in your organization. You’ve put in three weeks of hard work interviewing and testing them. Now, the game-changer: onboarding. If you do it well, your new team member fits in smoothly, becoming a valuable asset right from the start. 

But, wait. If onboarding is inefficient, your new hire might feel lost, and not know where to start. Soon, they will feel intimidated and unmotivated, which leads to lower productivity. Nobody wants that, right?

Without proper onboarding, your shiny new team member might start questioning their job choice within a few months. And all the effort you put into hiring? Gone! It’s like spending hours cooking a fancy meal, only to drop it all on the floor.

Not to worry! You’re not the only one with onboarding challenges. A survey by Gallup revealed that only 12% of employees agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees.

📣 Message for the reader

People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.

What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.

RapL is your software for that.

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A smooth onboarding process ensures your HR practices are well-organized. It can make your organization a place where new hires adapt and embrace the company culture easily. By following these insights, you can not only streamline your onboarding process, but also create an environment that fosters enthusiasm and connection among your new team members. Onboarding is more than a process; it is the first chapter in a positive and engaging employee experience.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted quickly and smoothly to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs. The more prepared your new hires are, the faster they’ll be able to connect and contribute to an organization’s mission and values.

Importance of proper onboarding

  • Helps new hires acclimatize to their role: A new hire typically takes three to six months to grasp and adapt to their role. Effective onboarding allows new hires to understand their role, team dynamics, company culture, and processes in a systematic manner. The onboarding period aligns expectations with tasks and responsibilities. This allows new employees to focus on relevant and important tasks, enabling them to deliver optimal results.


  • Reduces new hire turnover and attrition: A survey reveals 33% of new employees resign within six months of starting a job. The decision to switch organizations involves careful consideration. Therefore, a seamless onboarding process is crucial, positioning your organization as employee-friendly. A well-executed onboarding guarantees comfort and inclusion for new hires, fostering unity and contentment in teams. This, in turn, reduces employee turnover and attrition, promoting a stable workplace.


  • Increases employee engagement: According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity. In this era, remuneration is only a small part of employee motivation. Most employees value their career roadmap in the company, and about making progress towards their goals. The new-age workforce  looks for meaningful work that brings out the best in them.

What is an onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a planned set of actions or activities that can help new employees integrate seamlessly into an organization. It consists of orientations, training, documentation, and other necessary actions to guarantee a smooth onboarding process. This also ensures a satisfying experience for new employees.

Key elements of an onboarding checklist

  1. Company policies and procedures
  2. Clarification of the role and responsibilities
  3. Goal setting 
  4. Training sessions for the job role
  5. Overview of company culture
  6. Scheduling check-ins
  7. Interactions with coworkers and superiors
  8. Finalization of documents
  9. Getting acquainted with the product or service

Pre-Onboarding Checklist

  • Collection of employee details: It is crucial to collect the employee details before the new hire starts working in the organization. This information is important for internal purposes and general background verification of the new hire.
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Mobile number
    • Address
    • Work rights status
    • General eligibility check
    • Previous employment details

  • Offer letter confirmation: Before the employee begins working for the company after accepting the offer letter, the hiring manager may contact the new employee via phone or in-person meeting to discuss the employment details. This is an effort to lower the possibility of candidate misunderstanding.

    Some key elements to discuss –

    • Title and reporting manager
    • Total compensation
    • Probation and notice period
    • Company policies and procedures
    • Date of joining
    • Leave policies

  • Sending a welcome email: Once a candidate accepts the offer and confirms the joining date, extend a warm welcome via email. Share insights into the company’s culture, values, and provide pre-reading materials related to their role. This initial outreach can foster a sense of belonging and set a positive tone for the journey ahead. Include the new employee’s team members and manager in the email for a seamless transition. Highlight details about the new hire’s education, hobbies, and job experience to build a positive image. This facilitates communication within the team. Encourage team members to share knowledge, introduce themselves, and discuss their roles, creating a friendly atmosphere. This approach promotes teamwork and camaraderie from the outset.

  • Sending a welcome kit: Most companies today send welcome kits to new employees during the pre-onboarding phase. The main purpose is to celebrate the joining of the new hire and make them feel valued and appreciated. Typically, welcome kits include tech necessities such as a company laptop, login credentials, and relevant software instructions. Additionally, they may contain personalized office supplies like a branded notebook or pen, along with a welcoming note from the team or leadership. Some companies go the extra mile by including a selection of snacks or branded merchandise to enhance the overall onboarding experience.

  • Prepare the workspace and employee credentials: Prepare their security cards and enter their information in the HR system. It is important to set up the employee workspace with all the necessary equipment, like laptop, charger, chair, phone and other accessories. Create email accounts, and other work related accounts for new employees. Make sure they have access to all the necessary folders.

Onboarding Checklist

Once the pre-onboarding phase is over, it’s time for the new hire to start at your company! This onboarding checklist provides you with a step-by-step approach to plan the activities of your new employee.

Key elements of an onboarding checklist

  • Assign an onboarding buddy
    An onboarding buddy acts as a friend to assist and guide the new employee during the process. Typically, the onboarding buddy is a team member who knows the company processes and culture very well. This would increase new employee engagement and satisfaction, eventually fostering an employee-centric culture.

  • Complete office tour
    It is crucial to ensure that the onboarding buddy provides a complete office tour to the new employee. They must make sure to cover workstations of specific teams, and also hit areas like canteen, meeting rooms, restrooms and lounge space.

  • Meet the work teams
    New hires benefit greatly from meeting and interacting with different teams in the office. Encourage team members and managers to conduct orientation sessions or lunch with new employees. This not only enhances the learning experience for new hires, but also provides them with a glimpse into the company culture.

  • Finish the necessary HR documentation
    After new hires have settled into the office environment, it’s crucial for HR managers to meet with them and assist in completing essential paperwork. This includes addressing matters related to offer letters, compensation, HR forms, and other onboarding documents. HR managers must also explain other rules, procedures and documents in a detailed manner. A survey indicated that 58% of companies still focus on processes and paperwork when onboarding new hires. This step can also be digitized by an HR contract lifecycle management software which ensures a smooth onboarding process and helps new employees transition seamlessly into their roles.

First Week Onboarding Checklist

  • Company overview training
    To ensure a comprehensive understanding, new hires need insights into the company, its products/services, teams, customers, and the latest developments. Reporting managers typically provide daily overview training sessions, facilitating the absorption of crucial information about the company. This serves as a foundational step in aligning new employees with the organization’s broader goals and operations.

  • Informal social activities
    Organize and invite the new employee to participate in team-building activities. Ensure that team members engage in outside-of-work coffee or lunch breaks. This will promote a positive team culture and build camaraderie.

  • Assign learning resources
    While engaged in training sessions, new hires can supplement their learning by taking short courses and training modules focused on their job and essential skills. Leveraging digital platforms for supplementary learning can significantly enhance their understanding of work, fostering a quicker grasp of key concepts and practices.

First Month Onboarding checklist

  • Training on company specific tools and softwares
    Ensuring that new hires receive training on internal tools and software is essential for a seamless onboarding process. This training should be conducted early in the onboarding journey to enable a quick readiness for work. Typically, team members or onboarding buddies play a role in assisting new hires in familiarizing themselves with the tools and software used within the organization.

  • Team training sessions
    Include new hires into daily team calls and meetings to immerse them in the work environment. This form of social learning and job shadowing will help in accelerating the learning curve, offering insights into processes, ongoing projects, and team dynamics efficiently.


  • 1:1 with the manager
    Once the new employee has settled into their role, it’s crucial to arrange a one-on-one discussion between the manager and the new hire. In this session, the manager should outline the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the new employee over the next three months. The manager also needs to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and set realistic goals for the new hire. It’s essential to strike a balance and avoid setting unrealistic expectations, recognizing that the new hire is still in the learning and onboarding phase.


  • Design assignments and feedback loop
    It’s essential to give the new hire ongoing feedback on their progress because they are learning constantly. This will effectively aid in their understanding of the business, the product or service, and the entire process. Work-related assignments/quizzes, as well as materials on broader topics such as interpersonal and leadership abilities can build a culture of continuous learning. Additionally, provide the new hires regular feedback on these assignments and quizzes. By doing this, you can train them holistically and help them become valuable members of the team.

First three month onboarding checklist

  • Assign projects
    As new hires immerse themselves in the organization, it becomes crucial to integrate them into ongoing projects. Managers need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the new hires and assign specific tasks and responsibilities related to the project. Reporting managers play a pivotal role in meticulously crafting the project onboarding process for the new employees, ensuring a smooth integration into the team and project dynamics.

  • SMART goals
    SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
    For new hires, breaking down goals into smaller, manageable milestones is the key. This approach aids in focusing on the most critical and immediate priorities, tracking achievements, and celebrating successes. Utilizing a timeline, calendar, or project management tool is beneficial to outline these milestones, assign deadlines, and establish deliverables for each one. It’s essential to align these milestones with the onboarding and training schedule, ensuring that new hires possess the necessary skills and resources to successfully accomplish them.

  • Regular check-ins
    The reporting managers can perform weekly check-ins with new hires in order to understand their workflow and progress. The manager and new hire can develop a relationship as a result of improved two-way communication. The established KPIs can be tracked, and suggestions for improving job performance can be provided. These check-ins could be an excellent way to show your new hire how much you appreciate them and improve their morale.

  • Onboarding survey
    According to a study, firms with an excellent onboarding procedure have a 52% retention rate of new employees. Therefore, it’s critical to get the new hires’ feedback on the company’s onboarding procedure in their own words. Therefore, create a digital survey or have a  conversation with the new hires to find out what they learned and how they felt about the onboarding procedure. These conversations can provide insights to improve onboarding procedures in the future.

First six month onboarding checklist

  • Six- month performance review
    If your new hire has hit the six-month mark, that’s fantastic! Now a performance review has to be scheduled to celebrate achievements and set goals at the one-year mark. This is a chance to discuss growth areas, and ensure the new employee is aligned for continued success.

  • Build relationships
    As the new employee becomes part of the work family, actively involve them in team-building activities and outside workplace catch-ups. Ensure a positive team dynamic where they feel valued for their contributions.

First year onboarding checklist

  • Annual performance review
    Conduct an annual performance review for the new employee. Discuss their accomplishments, contributions, and workflow. Provide constructive feedback on areas for improvement and if necessary, reassess goals, KPIs, and responsibilities. This review aims to enhance performance and align objectives for continued success.


  • Celebrate work anniversary
    Celebrate the new employee’s first work anniversary with a shout-out in the workplace chat and company’s social handles! This signifies the company’s dedication to promote an employee-centric culture that fosters a sense of appreciation and belongingness.

RapL’s onboarding checklist template

At RapL, we pride ourselves on fostering an employee-first culture where we believe that employee engagement is the cornerstone of our success. This commitment is reflected in the development of our world-class product. Recognizing the pivotal role of onboarding, we take the process seriously and have crafted an exceptional onboarding program to ensure our new hires seamlessly integrate into our vibrant work culture.

Check out the free template@RapL Onboarding Checklist.pdf

Final Thoughts

Creating a seamless onboarding process is crucial. This guide provides a systematic onboarding checklist, providing a clear path for new employees. Picture a process that not only introduces roles but fosters belongingness from day one. Enhance your checklist with insights from new hires and transform the onboarding process into a cultural cornerstone. Lastly, embrace the importance of a robust onboarding checklist for lasting employee success.

To know more about how to create a great onboarding process for your new employees, contact us at

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