New Hire - Before First Day Checklist

This checklist ensures you won’t miss a beat as it helps you organize paperwork, get prepared prior to the first day, and also helps your staff get ready to welcome new team members.

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Get ahead of the game by:

  • Submitting all employment documents within deadlines to avoid legal implications
  • Focusing on the most important things once your new hire arrives
  • Making new hires feel more comfortable and eager to start
  • Creating a friendly, collaborative environment that allows current employees to prepare for the new welcome

Use the following new hire checklist as a reminder of tasks to do before your new employee’s first day.

New hire checklist: Paperwork to complete

Prepare an employment contract, and receive it back signed. 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 describing 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 may 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 for direct deposit 
  • Copies of certificates and diplomas that are necessary to perform the job (e.g. for CPA or legal positions)
  • Meal preferences and food allergies if you offer food services

Send new hires a welcome email that includes:

  • When to arrive 
  • Office directions
  • Dress code
  • First day or week’s agenda

Invite new hires to join corporate accounts, including:

  • Email
  • Messaging software (e.g. Slack)
  • HRIS
  • Productivity tools (e.g. Asana)
  • Password security (e.g. LastPass)

Announce new hire arrival to employees for a warm welcome. 

Email new hire’s manager to send a chat message announcing the new employee on their start date (e.g. on Slack,) 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)

Email hiring managers to prepare new employee’s first-day tasks.

Send new hire’s data to your:

  • The accounting department, so that they add a 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 nameplates.
  • Ask for the 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)
  • Company swag
  • A team-favorite book 
  • A guide to local restaurants, coffee shops, and walking trails

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 the HR paperwork
  • Role-specific training
  • Product-related demos
  • Team-building activities (e.g. a group lunch)

Assign a buddy to help the new hire through the first few weeks or months in the role.

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