Essential New Hire Onboarding Checklist

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 14 Sep 2022

As more employers adopt a flexible and fully remote office environment, many struggle with onboarding new employees. More than ever, onboarding is a crucial part of the employee experience—especially when a company’s workforce may be scattered across the planet.  

An effective onboarding strategy provides the tools, information and resources necessary for a new hire to succeed from the beginning. It is also a chance to display the company’s culture and values. 

This onboarding checklist will help ensure that an employee’s transition onto the team is smooth, efficient and successful. The specifics vary depending on the country of employment, but this checklist of onboarding items provides general guidance on everyday tasks and the range of documents to be considered. 

10 Essential Steps for Effective Employee Onboarding 


1. Understand local labor laws

‍The first step of compliant onboarding should begin before extending a job offer—before even scheduling any interviews. You must understand the country’s local labor laws to maintain compliance. You must also understand how competitive your compensation package must be structured to attract top talent. As you put together the job offer, make sure that you comply with: 

  • working hours, 

  • vacation leave (including carryover rules), 

  • sick leave, 

  • maternity/paternity leave, 

  • other types of leave, 

  • public holidays, 

  • wages and bonuses, and 

  • health insurance. 

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2. Conduct background checks

‍This may be necessary for credit and criminal background checks in certain countries. However, there are often restrictions about using this information in hiring decisions. When hiring, be certain that any background check you run is compliant in that jurisdiction. 

Other checks, such as drug screenings and medical exams have their own compliance requirements. Medical checks, for instance, are sometimes required when employees work in hazardous conditions. These requirements are deemed acceptable in specific job sectors, while they might require the employee’s consent in other instances. 

3. Collect onboarding documents

If you know the necessary laws and regulations and have conducted due diligence via a background check, it is time to extend an offer. Begin collecting a variety of documents based on the jurisdiction where the employee will be working. These documents prepare the company to pay the correct taxes and are essential for performing right-to-work checks, which verify that an employee can work based on their immigration status. These documents include: 

  • proof of identity and residency (such as an ID or passport), 

  • employee’s tax identification number, 

  • emergency contact information, and 

  • the country’s required tax documents. 

When all necessary documents have been received, the employee can be registered with the relevant government agency. This may include local agencies, such as a state or province labor department, and federal agencies, such as a social security administration or internal revenue department. 

4. Set up payroll and direct deposit

Once the necessary tax forms are collected from the employee, they must be sent to your payroll administrator so they can add the employee to the company’s payroll system. There are several items that must be addressed to ensure your new employee is paid correctly including the payroll frequency and whether 13th-month pay is legally required. Employees also must complete a direct deposit authorization form to send their payments directly to their bank accounts. 

5. Set up benefits and pension plan enrollment

Each employee must be made aware of their entitled benefits and fill out the necessary documentation. This may include health, dental, vision and retirement contributions. Cross-check to ensure whether the employee’s jurisdiction has requirements related to these benefits. For instance, is there a minimum employer contribution amount? 

Much of the document signing and collecting will occur prior to the new employee’s first day. However, if that isn’t the case, the new hire must be prepared to complete additional documents on their first day. 

First Day Onboarding  

6. Welcome the new employee

A personal and necessary part of onboarding is welcoming each new hire to the company and informing the organization of their role. Welcoming materials should display the culture and values of the company so that each new member of the team starts with a positive first impression.  

7. Setup IT support, accounts and hardware

In addition to ensuring that employees receive credentials to access all necessary company platforms, explanations of each system should be provided so that everyone shares an understanding of basic best practices. This is particularly necessary when reviewing your global onboarding strategy. 

8. Share the company handbook

Provide information on the company’s policies and procedures in a company handbook. Each organization will have specific codes of conduct and guidelines to address. Once the handbook is reviewed, a signed acknowledgment form will ensure that the new employee understands and accepts the policies. Consider including the following in the handbook: 

  • dress code, 

  • use of company equipment, 

  • social media and email use, 

  • disciplinary review and action, 

  • work-from-home guidelines, 

  • lunch and break periods, and 

  • performance reviews. 

First Week Onboarding 

9. Ensure the employee continues to hit the ground running

The first day of work is often seen as the only onboarding period, but it’s crucial to continuously check in with the new employee to ensure any issues that pop up are resolved. The first week of onboarding should include: 

  • providing support to resolve technical issues, 

  • reviewing workflows and ongoing projects, and 

  • introducing the new hire to members of their immediate team and others they may not directly work with. 

Day 30+ Onboarding Feedback 

10. Create a feedback loop

After the first few weeks, the new hire will hopefully understand the process of their role and the organization. However, it’s a good idea to provide structured opportunities for feedback to ensure continued success. For example, a survey gives the employee the chance to explain which aspects of onboarding were the most useful or to suggest other onboarding activities that would improve the process. 

How Atlas Can Help 

The right business intelligence solution empowers you to compliantly and efficiently onboard new hires. With Atlas, you can explore labor laws in more than 160 countries and receive personalized consulting throughout the onboarding process.  

You’ll receive immediate access to the employment compliance information you need via our convenient, centralized platform supported by a dedicated account manager with localized expertise. With this solution, your HR team saves time and resources, and they can be confident in your company’s compliance during every stage of the employee lifecycle.  

Ready to learn more about onboarding international employees?