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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.

new hire checklist templateGive 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
    • Department
    • Name and position of direct report
    • Work schedule
    • Start date
    • Compensation
    • 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:
    • Email
    • Messaging software (e.g. Slack)
    • HRIS
    • 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:
    • Laptop
    • Monitor
    • Phone
    • Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • Headset
  • 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. 

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