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Payroll

New Employees Onboarding Checklist

The hard part is over. The hours you spent sifting through resumes and conducting interviews are behind you (for now). You’ve just hired a new employee, and you know they’re going to be amazing. But it’s up to you to set up your new employee for success.

A positive onboarding experience can inspire confidence in your new employee. It can also increase their engagement and, ultimately, improve their longevity with the company. On the flip side, a poor onboarding experience can make a bad first impression your new employee won’t soon forget.

Developing a solid onboarding process can ensure a worthwhile onboarding experience for every new employee, and a comprehensive onboarding checklist can help ensure you never miss a step.

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding includes making hiring decisions, welcoming new hires, and transitioning into the role

After making your hiring decisions, employee onboarding is the systematic flow of activities your new hires go through. Your onboarding process organises these tasks into a structured, repeatable set of steps. Whether you prioritise training or introducing your company culture, you can get new hires up to speed in a matter of weeks. 

The best onboarding processes empower new hires with the tools they need to be productive, successful team members. Refined onboarding lets you do that in an organised and manageable way. Ideally, your approach is comprehensive, with management, Human Resources (HR), and veteran team members lending a hand.

Why onboarding is important for new employees

First impressions matter. When new employees experience poorly executed onboarding, they might assume the organisation is poorly managed. Once that happens, it can be difficult to change their perception.

But employees are 69% more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they’ve had a structured onboarding experience. And organisations say effective onboarding improves retention rates and productivity. Overall, a structured onboarding experience can make employees feel more confident in their employers and more engaged with their new roles. In short, onboarding is your opportunity to win over your new employees.

The main goals of onboarding include:

  • Giving a great first impression: Onboarding determines how employees engage in your culture. Will you make them feel part of a team or set them up to treat work like a chore?
  • Improving retention: The last thing you want is to train a great employee and then see them hit the road. Fortunately, your onboarding experience has a direct impact on your employee retention
  • Boosting productivity: A solid onboarding process means you can efficiently turn your new hires into valuable, contributing employees. Research shows that businesses with solid onboarding improve employee productivity by 70%
  • Increasing job satisfaction: Happy employees lead to a thriving business. When you onboard effectively, your employees better understand the expectations of their role and how they can be successful

What to include in the onboarding checklist 


A comprehensive onboarding checklist should cover the following key items:


  • Recruitment procedures
  • Employee role and responsibilities
  • Goal establishment
  • Job training protocols
  • Familiarisation with company culture
  • Schedule for progress reviews
  • Interaction with colleagues and superiors
  • Document completion
  • Product education


Download a free onboarding checklist

An onboarding process has lots of moving parts. Without a comprehensive checklist, it can be easy to miss a step. Fortunately, an onboarding checklist can help you ensure a positive and structured onboarding experience for every new employee.

We’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Download the checklist to get started, and then use the checklist as is or customise it for your onboarding process.

How to onboard your new employee

The onboarding process begins long before your new employee steps foot in the building, and it doesn’t end after 90 days. A solid onboarding process supports your new employee from the moment they accept your job offer through their first year of employment. We have a few tips to help you keep your employees on track for their first year and beyond.

To kick things off, here are a few things you can do before their first day:

  • Set up their employee accounts.
  • Provide their uniform, or share your company dress code.
  • Collect their emergency contact information.
  • Collect their banking information to set up direct credit.
  • Send a welcome email with details about their first day, including where to park and what to bring.
  • Prepare their work station with necessary office equipment, an employee handbook, a first-day agenda and a welcome gift.

The first day of onboarding

Remember, first impressions matter. An employee’s first day is your first chance to build rapport. It’s a good idea to create opportunities for the employee to engage with their team and their new role.

Here are some things you can do on their first day:

  • Greet them when they arrive and escort them to their desk.
  • Introduce them to their new team. Consider scheduling a team lunch or activity to facilitate meaningful connections.
  • Conduct a tour of your facility or workplace. Don’t forget to point out the restrooms and common areas.
  • Schedule some time for them to meet with HR to complete any remaining paperwork.
  • Host a new employee orientation to discuss your company’s mission, vision and goals. Share essential information about your products, services and customers.
  • Schedule dedicated time for them to review the employee handbook. Discuss company policies and procedures.
  • Conduct an end-of-day check-in. Answer any questions, make sure they have everything they need and let them know what to expect next time. This is an ideal time to ask for their feedback about their first day.

The first week of onboarding

New employees get a lot of information on the first day. For the remainder of the week, it’s a good idea to reiterate and build on some of the most important points.

Beyond that, the first week is all about keeping your new employee engaged. By the end of the week, they should feel invested in the culture, the organisation and their new job. People like to feel productive, so give your new employee tasks that can keep them engaged.

Here are some things you can do during their first week:

  • Begin role-specific training, and consider giving them small role-related tasks to help them ease in.
  • Set them up with a mentor or someone they can shadow or turn to with questions.
  • Schedule team lunches or activities with different groups each day. This encourages more one-on-one conversations and tighter connections.
  • Continue discussing company policies and procedures, culture and goals.
  • Connect with them at the end of each day. Answer any questions they might have, gather feedback and share expectations.


The first month of onboarding

Your new employee may catch on quickly, but don’t halt your onboarding efforts when your employee starts feeling comfortable. The first month is an opportunity to ensure your employee is happy, confident and engaged for the long run.

Here are some things you can do during their first month:

  • Schedule a check-in with HR. Your employee may have questions about paid leave, super or other benefits now that they’ve had some time to acclimate.
  • Continue with role-specific training and job shadowing. Branch out and schedule job shadowing with employees on different teams and roles to give your employee a full picture of company operations.
  • Schedule one-on-one time with your employee to discuss expectations, responsibilities and more. Then set up a monthly, quarterly and annual review process.
  • Gather their feedback. Ask them what they thought was great about their onboarding experience and what could have been better. This is your opportunity to improve.
Team leader giving a talk to new employees

The first 90 days of employment

As your employee gets more comfortable in their role and nears the end of their first 90 days, don’t lose steam! You don’t want them to feel abandoned after a few months on the job.

Here are some things you can do during their first 90 days:

  • Schedule one-on-one conversations to discuss their progress, goals, challenges and feedback. These conversations can be with you, the HR team or another manager.
  • Gather even more feedback. Find out what you could have done better and answer any remaining questions.
  • Schedule a team activity and do something fun! Team connections are critical for productivity and collaboration. The more opportunities you create to connect and engage as a team, the better.

The first six months to one year of employment

No matter how long an employee has been with your company, it’s a good idea to review your company policies and expectations consistently.

Here are some things you can do to keep your employees on track through their first year of employment:

  • Complete monthly, quarterly and yearly check-ins or reviews with all employees. Employees should always understand their roles, responsibilities and expectations.
  • Review company policies and procedures with your entire team on an ongoing basis. Keep your employee handbook up to date, or show them how to use the employee portal to find the information they want.
  • Schedule monthly or quarterly team activities to keep company culture and team camaraderie strong.


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3 tips for conducting a performance review

Annual performance reviews are a common experience at many companies, but if you’re only meeting with your employees once or twice a year, you’re missing opportunities to connect. A consistent quarterly review process can keep employees on track and engaged.

Employees should always know how they’re performing, if they’re meeting expectations and what they’re responsible for. There shouldn’t be any surprises in their year-end performance review. A quarterly review presents an opportunity to discuss an employee’s goals and how you can work together to achieve them.

The review process itself is unique to your team and your company. Do what works best for you—just make sure you do it. Here are 3 tips to help you make your quarterly reviews successful:

Tip 1: Make it official

Don’t meet for the sake of meeting. Set an agenda, come prepared and document the conversation.

Tip 2: Make it a two-way street

In addition to giving feedback to your employee, ask for feedback. What’s going well? What could be better? What can you improve as a leader?

Tip 3: Take action

Every review should end with clear actions and next steps. And don’t forget to follow up.

Additionally, a quarterly review is a great time for you to gather feedback. A successful quarterly review is a two-way conversation. It helps both parties understand what’s working well and what could use some improvement. When done right, a quarterly review process can benefit you and your employees.

Employee onboarding program considerations

Onboarding considerations: the process takes time, leadership should assist, make new hires feel at home, and introduce the company culture

To create the most effective process for introducing new employees, it's important to keep in mind a few key factors when developing your onboarding checklist. By approaching the task with the appropriate mindset and priorities, you can ensure that your onboarding process is top-notch.



The process time 

Onboarding for new employees involves filling out paperwork, handling new hire tasks and training, and may only take a few days. However, experts suggest that the onboarding period for employees should last at least 90 days, and some even argue it should extend through the first year. The onboarding process can be broken down into separate components.

  • Paperwork: 1-2 weeks, usually before the start day
  • Orientation: One day
  • Learn foundational skills: One week
  • Practise main job functions: One month
  • Integrate feedback and settle into the role: Three months
  • Undergo and pass regular evaluations: Six months-one year

Leadership should assist

Your onboarding leaders depend on the size of your business. For example, large teams have direct supervisors and HR personnel to oversee the process. For large companies, here’s an example of the role breakdown:

  • Leadership: Makes hiring decisions, creates company policies, and decides the onboarding process.
  • Management: Oversees new hire training and introduces new hires to the company culture.
  • HR team: Helps the new hires understand company policies, payroll, and employee benefits.
  • Veteran employees: Teaches daily operations through training and shadow sessions.

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Make new employees feel at home

Onboarding a new employee is a critical part of their experience with the company. Making them feel comfortable and at home can go a long way in retaining them for the long haul. Here's what you can do on how to onboard new employees and make them feel at home:


  • Create a warm welcome: Set up a personal welcome message or a personalised email to make the new employee feel special and part of the team.
  • Provide an orientation: Give them a tour of the office, introduce them to colleagues.
  • Provide the necessary resources: Provide them with necessary tools, like computer access, passwords, email, and any other necessary software or equipment.
  • Assign a mentor or buddy: Assign a mentor or buddy to help the new employee with any questions, concerns, or challenges that they may encounter.
  • Have an onboarding plan: Provide an onboarding plan that outlines the goals and objectives of their role, expectations, and milestones.
  • Check-in regularly: Schedule regular check-ins to see how the new employee is doing and if they need any additional support or training.
  • Provide training and development opportunities: Offer training and development opportunities to enhance their skills and help them grow within the company.


By following these steps, you can help new employees feel welcome, supported, and part of the team, ensuring a successful onboarding experience.

Company culture 

Your company culture is the lifeblood of your business. It’s what keeps your employees engaged in their jobs and loyal to your company. A strong company culture improves employee productivity and longevity and makes it easier to recruit strong applicants.

As your company grows, you risk outgrowing your company culture. However, having regular discussions about company culture allows you to keep your culture at the forefront. When you help employees align with the company’s vision and mission, they better understand their expectations and contributions.

Additional on-boarding items to double-check

Remember, new employees get a lot of information within their first days and weeks on the job, so circle back on a few key topics with all employees regularly. Review how to request paid leave, how public holiday pay works, how to collect paychecks, your benefits package and anything else they may have forgotten.



Payment schedules and other financial information

No matter how fulfilling the job might be, employees work to get paid. All employees should understand their payment schedule, how to collect their paycheques and how their cheques will look.

Beyond that, employees should be aware of any additional financial opportunities your company offers. These opportunities include things like retirement benefits, employee stock purchase plans, reimbursement benefits and more. As always, you should outline these benefits in your employee handbook and review them with all employees regularly.

Streamline your employee onboarding with QuickBooks Payroll Software powered by Employment Hero


By implementing cloud-based employee onboarding software, you can enhance the efficiency of your onboarding process, ensure compliance and security standards are met, and provide personalised and engaging onboarding experiences that set new employees up for success. Automating the collection of new hire records and onboarding documents eliminates the need for manual paperwork, streamlining the onboarding process for a seamless experience. 



With Quickbooks Payroll's employee portal, employees have the ability to independently manage leave, timesheet, expenses and rostering. This feature streamlines the process of updating employee details and empowers individuals to take control of their own information.


Try a free 30-day trial today! 


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