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14+ Editable Onboarding Checklist Templates for Businesses in 2021

By Jennifer Gaskin, Nov 03, 2021

onboarding checklist

Effective onboarding is more than just showing a new hire where their desk is. A solid onboarding process will consist of several steps that can touch many departments in your organization. That’s why having a good new hire onboarding checklist can ensure the process of folding in employees goes smoothly.

Venngage for HR professionals makes it easy to create onboarding checklists and other employee communication materials like training manuals, presentations, infographics and reports. No design experience required.

Click to jump ahead:

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of hiring and integrating new employees into your organization. Yes, it includes things like having their picture taken for a name tag, but it also extends to making them feel comfortable in their jobs and welcomed into your organization’s culture.

This isn’t an optional process if you want new hires to become veteran team members. Good onboarding makes for a better and happier workforce.

According to a Society for Human Resources Management study, almost 70% of new hires said they’d be more likely to stay at a company for at least a few years if they experienced a great onboarding process. And organizations with a coherent onboarding process saw 50% more productivity out of new team members.

Related: 11+ Tips for the Best Employee Onboarding Process

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What are the 4 phases of onboarding?

Effective onboarding means touching on four distinct phases—compliance, clarification, culture and connection. While these are generally referred to as phases, they don’t necessarily take place at distinct times. Still, it’s important to understand how these phases differ.

onboarding checklist

As the above infographic illustrates, the four Cs of onboarding are:

  • Compliance: Your new hire will fill out paperwork, go over employee manuals and generally gain an understanding of organizational processes and procedures like how to ask for time off or when their insurance coverage begins.
  • Clarification: This phase ensures that new employees understand the responsibilities of their jobs, including day-to-day tasks they’ll be expected to complete as well as long-term duties that may fall to them. It’s important they understand how their responsibilities support and are supported by the rest of the organization.
  • Culture: This phase gives new employees a clear understanding of how things work at the company beyond the written policies. During this phase, managers should strive to ensure new employees are well-versed in company norms.
  • Connection: This is typically the trickiest and longest phase, as it involves helping new hires build relationships with their teammates and others inside the organization. A good onboarding process will go beyond introducing everyone, and managers should encourage positive, friendly relationships in both formal and informal ways.

Related: How to Create an Engaging Orientation & Onboarding Program for New Employees

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What should an onboarding document include?

Because onboarding typically consists of many types of activities, it’s a good idea to separate those into individual checklists. For example, a checklist of necessary documents will be more straightforward to assemble than one covering organizational culture.

So, think about the four Cs when creating your materials and determining what your onboarding document will include. Remember also that understanding company culture and building connections takes place in formal and informal ways, so your checklists and other onboarding documents may not be able to cover everything.

It’s likely your onboarding materials will include several checklists, breaking down something like this:

Compliance: First week

  • Fill out paperwork, make copies of legally required documents
  • Review employee manual or handbook
  • Receive ID, business cards and key or keycards
  • Be trained on office equipment, including computer and phone
  • Have tour of facilities
  • Meet teammates and others in organization

For this phase, your onboarding documents can include employee handbooks like this one:

employee handbook onboarding

Clarification: First month

  • Receive training on day-to-day job tasks
  • Shadow teammates who excel at tasks
  • Conduct regular check-ins with supervisors to ask questions about job tasks and receive progress report

Culture: First six months

  • Become accustomed to company norms and unwritten rules
  • Ask for further clarification (if needed) on job tasks, policies or other issues
  • Begin to build relationships with teammates and others inside the organization
  • Take on more freedom in job tasks or added responsibilities, as warranted
  • Take part in six-month performance review

Share this template with your employees to help them complete their mid-year performance review:

onboarding checklist performance review

Connection: First year

  • Take part in annual performance review
  • Continue to build relationships with teammates and others inside the organization
  • Master all tasks and functions of job

As you can see, certain aspects of the employee onboarding process lend themselves more to a checklist method for keeping track of what’s been done and what hasn’t, so it’s likely the most effective onboarding checklists in your organization will cover the early days of a new hire’s tenure in your company.

Employees that understand their jobs are more likely to be engaged. Learn some of our favorite ways to integrate visuals into your employee communications to boost engagement rates.

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How do I make an onboarding checklist?

Keeping onboarding tasks clear is a challenge, as a good employee onboarding process covers an array of both formal and informal activities. However, creating an onboarding checklist can be as simple as putting pen to paper. Of course, if you want to repeat a good onboarding process over and over again, creating engaging materials with Venngage is the best way to go.

Here are 5 simple steps to help you create an actionable and clear checklist for an effective onboarding process:

  • Step 1: Think back to the four Cs and determine what phase or phases the checklist should cover.
  • Step 2: Pick the onboarding checklist template that best suits your needs (scroll down to see our collection of onboarding templates)
  • Step 3: Update the steps to cover your specific needs.
  • Step 4: Apply your company’s brand guidelines with a few clicks using My Brand Kit.
  • Step 5: Download and print the checklist to share it with your new hire.

If you’re a Venngage Business user, you can apply brand colors, font and logo to your design in just one click:

venngage my brand kit

And you can also collaborate with your team members in real time, which really comes in handy when you need to create collaborative materials like onboarding checklists:

venngage real time collaboration

Now let’s take a look at some of the templates you can customize for your new hire orientation and onboarding.

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New hire checklist

New hire checklists are best used during the first few days with a new employee. Use them to make sure important legal documents have been filed and a variety of company policies have been explained.

onboarding checklist

This new hire checklist is ideal to have on hand for employees in just about any department. Update and expand the first section to cover the documentation your company has to collect for legal and compliance purposes.

onboarding checklist

Though this checklist is technically an offboarding checklist, it could easily be modified to cover training employees on all the equipment they’ll need to do their jobs. (Learn more about how to create an effective offboarding process.)

onboarding checklist

And this checklist was designed to ensure enhanced cleaning guidelines are followed, but your organization could customize it to cover the policies you’ve gone over with a new employee during their first few days on the job.

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Onboarding checklist template

Onboarding checklists can help you keep track of the entire onboarding process from start to finish, or they can touch on one or two aspects of the overall process.

onboarding checklist

Send this onboarding checklist to a new hire before their first day begins so that they arrive on Day One ready to get started.

onboarding checklist

Make sure everybody on the team knows what areas they’ll be responsible for when it comes to training a new hire. Assign different tasks to those best suited for them and hold them responsible for the new team member’s uptake of that information.

onboarding checklist

At regular intervals during the first year of an employee’s tenure, you should conduct check-ins, and at the six-month and one-year points, most companies conduct formal performance reviews. Use this review checklist to share pros and cons of their performance.

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Employee onboarding checklist

Employee onboarding checklists can cover a variety of topics, and they can also help you keep track of the onboarding process itself. Your employee onboarding checklist may consist of several pages, or it may be short and sweet.

onboarding checklist

Customize this employee onboarding checklist to cover a variety of facets of training a new team member, from making sure their paperwork is on file to ensuring they’re thriving in their new role.

onboarding checklist

This checklist template is ideal for ensuring both supervisor and employee agree that each task has been done. If the supervisor has checked something off but the employee hasn’t, that’s a good sign that your onboarding process needs a bit of work.

onboarding checklist

Though this is an audit checklist, it’s organized in a way that’s ideal for monitoring employee onboarding thanks to the color-coded sections.

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General onboarding template

A good onboarding template can include checklists, but there are other types of materials that are useful for both the organization and the employee during the onboarding process. This includes manuals, presentations and more.

onboarding checklist

This remote employee onboarding template is ideal for the tricky task of bringing new remote workers onto your team. Even after the pandemic, many companies are expected to accelerate their use of remote work, and onboarding is a major challenge when employees and managers are in different physical locations.

onboarding checklist

As this microlearning onboarding menu shows, creating engaging materials can be a useful way to make sure both the employee and their supervisors and team members don’t lose steam.

onboarding checklist

Present your onboarding manual in an easy-to-understand format like this template. Update icons as needed and use your brand’s colors to reinforce your company identity.

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Onboarding process template

Creating an onboarding process is challenging, but Venngage has you covered there, too. Take a look at some simple onboarding process templates and guides to help you craft your own onboarding materials.

onboarding checklist

Use the advice in this infographic to help craft your onboarding strategy, and remember that what works for other companies may not work for yours. If certain processes aren’t effective, refine or abandon them.

onboarding checklist

When setting out to craft your onboarding processes and procedures, consider what exactly you want to get out of them. Then, create materials that speak to those objectives. Need help with documenting business processes? We’ve got you covered.

onboarding checklist

A good onboarding process begins long before you even have a job opening, as understanding what it takes to be successful in your organization begins with the job functions themselves. This infographic can help you explore in more depth how to welcome new employees and transform them into successful team members.

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In summary: Creating an onboarding checklist can help you keep track of this complex but important phase for new team members

Use Venngage for HR professionals to create onboarding checklists, manuals, presentations and other materials to share with new hires.

Browse through our extensive collection of professional templates designed to upgrade the employee communication process, and easily apply your brand guidelines and collaborate in real-time with team members while designing your HR materials. It’s free to get started.

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About Jennifer Gaskin

A veteran of newsrooms and agencies, Jennifer Gaskin is a writer, editor and designer who is the only living person not to have strong feelings on the Oxford comma. She's an award-winning practitioner of journalism and information design who spent the better part of a decade as the creative director of a digital marketing shop. As a writer, Jennifer contributes to a variety of publications while working with clients as well as taking on her own projects.

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