New hire checklist template: Before the first day
This new hire checklist helps employers prepare for a new employee's first day at work. It includes key tasks to complete and documents to prepare before their arrival.
Give new hires a thoughtful and warm welcome by preparing for their first day in advance. Being proactive during onboarding will help you:
- Avoid legal risks, by reminding you to submit all employment documents within deadlines.
- Focus on the most important things once your new hire arrives (e.g. New employees can meet their team instead of spending time trying to set up their corporate email.)
- Make new hires feel more comfortable, as you’ll have prepared their workspace.
- Create a friendly, collaborative environment, as current employees will know when and how to welcome their new colleague.
You can use the following new hire checklist as a guide to remind yourself of tasks to do before your new employee’s first day.
New hire paperwork to complete
- Prepare an employment contract and receive signed, if applicable. This contract is usually written as a detailed job offer that includes:
- Job information (job title, department)
- Work schedule
- Length of employment
- Compensation and benefits
- Employee responsibilities
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Non-compete agreement
- Time off policy
- Termination conditions
- Send an offer letter. This is a document (often an email) that spells out the basics of the relationship between employer and employee. In your job offer letter or email, include:
- Job title
- Name and position of direct report
- Work schedule
- Start date
- Benefits (brief mention)
- Length of employment
- Date by which candidate needs to respond to your offer
You could also attach the employment contract, where you describe terms of employment in detail.
- Complete employment forms required by your country or state law. The most common types of forms new hires fill out are:
- W-4 form
- I-9 form
- State tax withholding form
- Employee invention agreement form
- Direct deposit form
- Benefits forms (e.g. health insurance agreement)
Tasks to do before a new hire’s first day
- Ask new hires to send you:
- Personal data to enter into company HRIS (e.g. ID or passport number, contact details, SSN number, tax identification number)
- Bank account information, if you’re using direct deposit to pay employees
- Copies of certificates and diplomas that are necessary to perform the job (e.g. for nursing or accounting positions)
- Any food allergies or preferences they may have (e.g. vegetarian or gluten-free)
- Send new hires a welcome email that includes:
- Arrival time on their first day
- A copy of your office map
- A rundown of the dress code, if you have one
- A first day or first week agenda
- Invite new hires to join corporate accounts, including:
- Messaging software (e.g. Slack)
- Productivity tools (e.g. Trello, ToDoist)
- Password security (e.g. LastPass)
- Send a new hire announcement email to all employees to make sure they give a warm welcome to their new colleague.
- Remind new hire’s manager to send a chat message announcing the new employee on their start date (e.g. on Slack, Workplace.) Make sure to mention:
- New hire’s name and job title
- Department/team they’ll be joining
- A few things about their professional or academic background
- Welcome events you may have organized (e.g. an after-work dinner)
- Send a reminder to hiring managers to make sure they prepare new employee’s first-day tasks.
- Send new hire’s data to your:
- Accounting department, so that they add new employee to payroll
- IT team, so that they can help them set up accounts for corporate software
- Office Manager, so that they can set up their workstation
- Prepare your new hire’s tech, including:
- Arrange for new hire’s ID card, building access fob and personal locker.
- Order new employee’s business cards and/or name plates.
- Ask for new hire’s T-shirt size and place an order for a work uniform and/or a company T-shirt as a welcome gift.
- Prepare and send an onboarding kit. Here’s what you could include:
- Employee handbook
- A welcome letter from their manager or CEO
- Computer setup instructions
- Stationery (e.g. notebook, pens, stickers)
- A company t-shirt
- A company mug
- A copy of your organizational chart
- A copy of a book relevant to your company or its culture
- A guide of local points of interest (e.g. nearby cafes and restaurants)
- Prepare a tentative first day and first week agenda that covers:
- A company overview, including mission, teams and policies
- 1:1 meetings with manager and team members
- Completing HR paperwork
- Role-specific trainings
- Product-related demos
- Team-building activities (e.g. a group lunch)
- Assign a buddy to help new hire through first few weeks or months in the role.
Learn how Workable’s recruiting software integrates with bob, an HR, employee engagement and benefits platform.