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A new hire checklist for both remote & in-person onboarding

Ring Central Blog


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12 min read

Countless hours of sorting through resumes and going through rounds of interviews later, you’ve finally found the perfect candidate. But… now what?

You can ramble off probably a dozen things you’d like for them to get started on, but you also know that the first impression will make or break the experience for them. You’ve even read a report that found onboarding to have more impact than any other HR practice1 (exception for effective recruiting—which you’ve already aced).

If you’re a small business starting to ramp up on hiring, then developing a robust onboarding process should be high on your priority list. 

You could just do a basic laptop handoff and give a quick spiel on your business’s goals, but beyond all of that, setting up a new hire for success is about relationship building (something that we take as gospel, as a business that creates tools to enable and nurture professional relationships).

New hire success and happiness are built from the collective efforts of multiple teams within your organization. Everyone from the IT department to HR to the direct team has a role to play in creating a positive experience for new hires. 

But all of that requires preparedness—and that’s why you’re here. We get it.

Keep reading to find the tools you need to create an actionable onboarding process with checklists you can share with each function of your business so that together, you can deliver a thoughtful first impression to your new employee(s):

Want to get your new hires started on the right foot? Download this free remote onboarding checklist!

👀 Don't miss a step when onboarding a new remote hire.

Enjoy! Happy onboarding.

Don’t forget! An increasingly distributed work environment affects onboarding

A shift towards remote employment affects the way most of us do our work—onboarding is no exception to that.

What used to be a casual stop along the way to check in on a new employee at their desk is now replaced by a convenient instant message sent from your team’s messaging app.

When designing a new way to welcome new hires, it’s important to consider how different the onboard experience is when carried out in-person versus remotely:

Onboarding: How it used to be (in person)

Onboarding: How it is today (remote)

  • Hardware (laptop and accessories): Handed off on the first day
  • Dedicated workspace: Physical space set up in the office
  • Office tour: In-person walk around the space
  • Access to software: IT support comes by the new hire’s desk to help with setup
  • Orientation: In-person training sessions and group activities
  • Welcome packs: Informational handouts given during orientation session
  • Get-to-knows: Coffee meetups, team lunches, 1:1 meetings
  • Peer exchange: New hires joining on the same day exchange emails to stay in touch
  • Hardware (laptop and home office accessories): Shipped to arrive before the first day
  • Dedicated workspace: Providing necessary resources for a home office or access to a co-working space
  • Office tour: Non-existent! Replaced with a virtual exchange of where to find key contacts and information on the business’s intranet
  • Access to software: Virtually set up during video screen share
  • Orientation: Video-based training sessions, self-regulated modules and online activities
  • Welcome packs: Introductory videos
  • Get-to-knows: Virtual meetings, team chats, messaging
  • Peer exchange: New hires onboarded on the same day are automatically added to a group chat to stay in touch

An example of an evolved onboarding program: LinkedIn

“We felt we could best do that with shorter bursts spread over a week to allow flexibility with working from home, and then we could adapt as needed.”

LinkedIn used to have a one-day onboarding program for new hires. When the news of COVID-19 hit and practically everyone started working from their homes, they knew they needed to overhaul the existing program to make way for a new one.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that back-to-back virtual meetings kill morale and make attention feel near impossible over time. Layer that with an unfamiliar environment for many people who are working out of their homes for the very first time.

Boy, what a host of challenges.

Attempting to directly translate an existing eight hour in-person orientation to one that’s online was just out of the question.

Instead, LinkedIn spread their onboarding program out over a number of days to give people time to adjust to their new work environment. 

Embedded in the new program were regular online check-ins and touchpoints to make sure new hires never felt overlooked. LinkedIn also replaced an overwhelming number of info sessions with more interactive activities instead. For instance, they sent new hires on a virtual scavenger hunt for items found amongst the company’s online resources.

Being attuned to new employee needs made it possible for LinkedIn to design a program that fit the changing times while building in enough flexibility to make improvements based on continuous feedback.

Remote Readiness CTA

Onboarding checklists for every team

Now, let’s get into the different checklist items for onboarding new hires. First, we’ll review some core tasks each team should be aware of for in-person onboarding experiences. (Afterward, we’ll look at how those can be adapted for remote onboarding.)

HR onboarding checklist


Day 1

Within the first month

Onboarding preparation is a repetitive task that can be streamlined using tools like BambooHR, which helps you automate document delivery, track outstanding tasks, and stay up to date on how far along you are in the pre-boarding process:

BambooHR onboarding checklist example

IT onboarding checklist


💡 Pro-tip: 

Provisioning a new hire with a lot of disparate toolsets is time-consuming both from an IT side and from the learner’s perspective. To solve this issue, invest in software that can integrate with other apps and consolidate most of your day-to-day needs.

If you want to consolidate your tools into a leaner set of software, RingCentral’s desktop and mobile app is a super versatile communications tool that lets you chat with teammates, share and collaborate on files, create and manage tasks, host video conferences with screen sharing, as well as work on mobile devices:

Day 1

Within the first month

Manager onboarding checklist


Day 1

welcome messages for new hires

🕹️ Get a hands-on look at how RingCentral works by booking a product tour:

Within the first month

Team onboarding checklist


Day 1

Within the first month

💡 Pro-tip: 

Don’t forget to add the new hire to your team’s group chat(s)!

Remote onboarding checklist

Things are a little different when organizing an onboarding experience for remote employees. Here are the key checklist items you’ll need to further incorporate into (or tweak) the standard in-person tasks we’ve just covered:


💡 Pro-tip: 

Using HelloSign or DocuSign, employees can add their digital signatures in a secure environment without the need for printing or scanning.

Within the first week 

💡 Pro-tip: 

If these get updated periodically, consider hosting these files in a shared drive (like SharePoint or Google Drive) and send out a read-only link. That way, the same link always gets automatically updated with the latest content.


💡 Pro-tip: 

To cut down on the learning curve, try to choose software for your team that can handle multiple things well. For example, don’t choose just a video conferencing solution. Choose a video conferencing solution that takes care of multiple communication channels (like messaging and even a phone service) to keep everything logged in one handy place. (And save on the monthly fees too.)

The secret to providing a great new employee onboarding experience

Only 1 in 10 people would strongly agree that their organization does a great job at onboarding employees.2 

In other words, the majority of us either expect a better experience or need to deliver one. 

The trick to making sure your business is ready to welcome a new hire is to make sure each function of your business is aware of their own set of responsibilities.

Having these as actionable checklists guarantees that the onboarding process is repeatable and consistent for every new employee that joins. Plus, by keeping the process standardized, this gives you the chance to improve on it by analyzing feedback to discover common patterns. 

Onboarding best practices are realized by a collection of teams working together to deliver a unified experience for the new hire. By having the above onboarding checklists on hand, you’ll have a good chance of beating the odds. 







Originally published Oct 01, 2020, updated Dec 09, 2020

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