New Employee Orientation Checklist: What to include?

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There are good reasons to hold a new employee orientation program, even if your employees are remote. If you don’t properly orient and onboard your workforce, you could lose your new hires pretty quickly. In fact, studies show that about 4% of new employees quit their jobs after their first day if things go poorly, and up to 33% quit within the first month. Not only should you consider ways to properly orient and onboard your new staff, but a new employee orientation checklist can help. Keep reading to find out how.

Why should you organize a New Employee Orientation?

A high employee turnover rate is not good for any company, especially when you consider how expensive it is. In fact, Work Institute estimates that the cost of losing an employee is about 33% of their annual salary. This is in addition to other indirect costs such as loss in productivity, loss of knowledge, and time lost onboarding new hires.

For these reasons, you should do all you can to make sure your employees feel welcome and well-equipped in your organization, which will greatly increase the chances they’ll stick with you for that first month and beyond. This is where new employee orientation and onboarding comes in. When employed correctly (pun intended), these tools will help you retain your staff, speed their adjustment into your org, and equip them with the skills and info they need to be their most productive.

If you haven’t yet, check out our article on new employee orientation and learn why it’s important that you get it right this year. Now, on to the checklist!

New Employee Orientation Checklist Ideas

When organizing a new employee orientation, you should have a checklist that contains essential bases that you want to hit during the program. Below, we list some ideas that may help you get started. If you already have a program, these ideas might simply help you expand or refresh your current itinerary. However, this is not an exhaustive checklist, nor is it necessary to include every item. If anything, this checklist is only a guide to help you build your own.

So, determine which items are useful within the context of your organization, and then use them to build a new employee orientation checklist that works for you.

Don’t forget to include the items necessary to help new hires transition into your specific company culture, such as a particular dress code or expectations for remote meetings!

Office Tour

One of the most important things you should have on your checklist for new employee orientation is an office tour. During the tour, introduce your new hires to the different departments in the organization, especially those they will be working with closely.

Afterward, show them other areas that they’ll need to know, such as:

  • Kitchen/cafeteria
  • Meeting rooms
  • Fitness center
  • Break room
  • IT department
  • HR department

And don’t forget the bathrooms! Everyone needs to know where those are, after all.

TIP: If your staff are working remotely, that’s fine too. Consider a shorter, more fun tour so that they still feel like they’re part of the company even if they can’t be physically present. The human factor can be super important here. It’s easy to forget that we’re all people at the other ends of our screens and keyboards, so make sure to put some faces to some names.

Human Resources

Okay! Back to the essentials. In addition to a tour, new hires should have a meeting with the human resources department on their first day at work. During this meeting, they should discuss company culture, policies, benefits, and procedures. The new employees should also be guided through the signing of mandatory forms, such as the I-9. This can be an important time for ensuring that your new hires fill out everything and get it back in a timely fashion. If your new hires are remote, consider doing a screen share and walking them through some of the more complicated forms step by step.

Most HR personnel will already have a pretty good grasp of what they need to share with new hires, but below is an overview, just so everyone else knows what to expect:

Company procedures

  • How to request leave (medical, vacation, etc.)
  • How to access and exit the building (unless remote)
  • Where to park, rules on security badges, etc.
  • How to order for items they need to complete their job tasks
  • Emergency procedures

Company policies and standards

  • Smoking policy
  • Health and safety policy
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Non-compete agreement
  • Harassment policies
  • Absenteeism
  • Car and driving policies

Company benefits

  • Insurance plans (health, life, disability, etc.)
  • Employee wellness benefits (including mental well-being)


  • Direct deposit form
  • I-9 form (check out our article on E-Verify, which supports the I-9 and makes it easier to stay compliant)
  • Tax forms
  • Background screening forms
  • Employment contracts
  • Signed employee handbook

IT Department

To help your new employees transition, you should also involve the IT department in their orientation. For starters, a representative of this department can help them get started on the digital tools available to them for their work.

In short, they should learn:

  • How to protect against data breaches
  • How to use the company’s software and digital tools

Also, the IT department should help them:

  • Set up their work email
  • Set up their access to the company’s intranet

Team and Manager

Finally, you should introduce your new employee to their manager and team members. Before this happens, ensure each and every member of their department is appraised of the situation and is ready to welcome them. Also, make sure the purpose of new employee is clearly defined so that everyone understands each others’ roles.

Ensure your new employee receives training on:

  • Their role in the organization
  • Health and safety practices in the office
  • What to do during an emergency or bad weather
  • Performance standards

This can be done in conjunction with the human resources department.

New Employee Orientation Checklist: Takeaways

The purpose of a new employee orientation program is to familiarize your new hires with the company’s day-to-day operations and to make them feel welcome. Having a checklist will ensure you do not miss anything essential.

Finally, to improve your checklist for new employee orientation, and ensure you cover all your bases, take feedback. Immediately after completing a section of the program (and before you take a break, for example), ask your new hires if they have any questions. If they do, make sure to write those down for next time and include them in your next orientation.

You can also go a step further. Circle back around to your new employees in 30 days, 60 days, and/or 90 days and ask them if they still have questions. Or ask them what they wish they would have known on day 1 that they didn’t find out until day 30. You may get some really helpful answers!

Compile everything you learn and continue improving on your new employee orientation checklist and program. You may be amazed at the results you get! And if you want to up your hiring and onboarding game further, don’t forget to check out our hiring and onboarding tools, such as our Applicant Tracking System – and our amazing HR software, too!

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