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: 01 Mar 2022

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

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

This new hire 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. Still, this checklist of onboarding items provides general guidance on everyday tasks and the range of documents you might need to consider.

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 — and also to understand how competitive your compensation package needs to be to attract top talent. As you’re putting together the job offer, ensure 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

  • Health insurance

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, so make sure that any background check you run is compliant with the jurisdiction where you’re hiring.

Will you perform other checks, like drug screenings and medical exams? Medical checks are sometimes required when employees work in hazardous conditions. These requirements are deemed acceptable in specific job sectors, while in others, it might require the employee’s consent.

3) Collect onboarding documents.

If you know the necessary laws and regulations and have conducted due diligence via a background check, you can extend an offer. Next, you will begin to collect a variety of documents based on the jurisdiction in which the employee is working. Such documents prepare the company to pay the correct taxes and are essential to perform right-to-work checks — which verify that an employee can work based on their immigration status. These documents include:

  • Proof of identity & residency (such as an ID or passport)

  • Employee’s tax identification number

  • Emergency contact information

  • The country’s required tax documents

When all necessary documents have been received, you can then register the employee with the relevant government agency. This may include local agencies — like a state or province labor department — and federal agencies — like a social security administration or internal revenue department.

4) Set up payroll and direct deposit.

Once you’ve collected the necessary tax forms from the employee, send them to your payroll administrator so they can add the employee to your company’s payroll system. You will want to know a few things to ensure your new employee is paid correctly — including the payroll frequency and whether 13th-month pay is legally required. Employees will also need to complete a direct deposit authorization form to send their payments directly to their bank accounts.

5) Set up benefits and pension plan enrollment.

Ensure that each employee is aware of their entitled benefits and fills out the necessary documents. This may include health, dental, vision and retirement contributions. Cross-check to ensure whether the employee’s jurisdiction has requirements related to such benefits. For instance, is there a minimum employer contribution amount?

Much of the document signing and collecting will occur prior to a new employee’s first day. However, if that isn’t the case, you should prepare your new hire to complete additional documents on their first day.

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 your 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, you should also provide explanations of each system 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

  • Performance reviews

9) Ensure they continue to hit the ground running

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

  • Providing support to resolve technical issues

  • Reviewing workflows and ongoing projects

  • Introducing the new hire to both 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, for continued success, it’s a good idea to provide structured opportunities for feedback. 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 further improve the process.

How Atlas Can Help

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

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