2021’s best (and free!) employee onboarding checklist for SMBs

Step right up! It’s time to get your new recruits to shed their “first-days-at-a-new-office” jitters with this handy employee onboarding checklist! 

This guide will ensure that your HR responsibilities towards new recruits are fulfilled in terms of: 

Assistance in finding the local (online) watering hole ✅

Getting to know team members ✅

Signing-up for the 401k plans ✅

And, so much more ✅

In this playbook, we will list a bunch of tasks that are essential to smooth employee onboarding, most of which involve a lot of paperwork. Especially in this remote-first world, you would be advised to choose a reliable and cost-effective eSignature solution (cue: SignEasy) that streamlines and makes contactless documentation. 

Now, without much ado, here is your employee onboarding checklist

Walking through your (virtual) office doors are Gen Y and millennial talent who expect great recruitment and onboarding experience. Else, you risk losing them to competition within the first six months of joining. 

Fortunately, this plug-and-play onboarding checklist template is sure to give you a sense of direction and help you keep your employees satisfied: 

Pre-onboarding stage 

Found and recruited that perfect candidate? With just 1-3 weeks before these new hires begin work, here is what your HR team needs to check off their list:


  • Run a thorough background check. You want to know your potential hire before getting them on board. With this step, you can gain insight into their criminal record, education, employment history, etc. 
  • Use SignEasy to send an offer letter and contract. Shortlisted candidates can then sign these documents and send them right back.
  • Email a welcome note. Send an email to the new recruit that includes the employee handbook, what to expect out of the first day, office location map, and details of the contact person.
  • Collect employee details. Source your employee’s personal details, bank account information, copies of certificates and diplomas and store them in your digital archives.
  • Ready admin and IT essentials. So that your new hires have a ready workstation the day they join, you should ensure that the likes of an official laptop, software access, email id, business cards, and office ID are sanctioned in advance.



Onboarding stage – Week 1 

Congratulations, your new hires are in the system! Now to get them well-adjusted, you need to give them a warm welcome in the first week — starting with the induction. This is also a good time to help them better understand their career path within the organization.

  • Offer a virtual office tour. Even if your new employee works from home, it would be nice to offer a tour of your factory or office. A chance to see how vibrant, well planned and productive your office space will give hires a feel of what your organization stands for.
  • Introduce recruits to mentor/buddy. Your new recruits may need some hand-holding on the first day of work (and beyond)! For instance, they may be wondering where to get great coffee from or how to apply for leave. Your HR team might be overwhelmed if they have to deal with such requests on a regular basis. This is why you need a mentor/buddy program. During induction, introduce your new employee to a designated mentor or buddy (who is also a tenured employee) and they will do the rest. 
  • Host a delicious get-to-know everyone luncheon. There’s no better way to help your new hires break the ice with their colleagues than with a team lunch. If your organization is still working remotely, host this informal session on a video conference call. Let lunch and drinks be on the company tab! A lot of great conversations and fun can happen over a virtual meal — solidifying new bonds for greater collaboration.
  • Remind new hires to complete paperwork. Since most new hires are tech-savvy, it would make sense to digitize much of the documentation process, including getting copies of certificates and diplomas and signing NDA and non-compete forms. Running behind each recruit, to get their signature on each document can be really time-consuming. Instead, you can automate the reminders by choosing an eSignature solution such as SignEasy
  • Build a better understanding of your company’s policies. Send across e-copies of the employee handbook and IT, security, and HR policies. Ensure that the new hires sign an acknowledgment that confirms they have read and agree with the policies. 
  • Build a career development plan. Most employees really care about having their performance at work carefully managed. To keep new recruits suitably motivated, first, get them to share their goals with their supervisor. Based on their responses, you can create and share a personalized 30-60-90-day career development plan. This will help them feel like their growth trajectory is well taken care of by the company.
  • Book one-on-one employee check-in meetings. Nothing says “your organization cares” more than regular sessions with HR and team leads. These check-in sessions can be scheduled for the end of the first week to see how they are settling in. For better engagement, they could be conducted every fortnight to check on current projects and issues and reiterate team objectives.

Post-Onboarding stage 

Your responsibilities to the new hires don’t just end after the first few weeks. I would recommend these 4 steps to keep them engaged and loyal for the rest of the employee lifecycle:

  • Conduct employee onboarding surveys. These surveys, run 2-3 weeks after the induction, help you assess your current onboarding strategy. Based on their anonymous feedback, you can find ways to improve the experience of your new employees.
  • Schedule performance reviews and course corrections. Conduct a six-month performance review and set goals for the next six months. This is also a good time to provide recognition for a job well done.
  • Offer training and compliance sessions. As part of your employee’s development plan, you can schedule a lot of training sessions with experts. In the age of remote work, there are so many new learning curves and risks that present themselves. This is why sessions around training and compliance are so critical.
  • Host town-hall sessions: A great way for new hires to feel like they are part of something bigger is to engage them in town-hall sessions. Here you could highlight some of the achievements of your company in every quarter. Town-hall sessions offer a great platform to celebrate employee success stories and client wins.

Bonus: 16 must-have onboarding documents

Onboarding involves the viewing, sending, signing, counter-signing, and storing of several digital documents. 

As your hiring levels start to increase, so will the onboarding paperwork which is impossible to manually execute. To induct new hires into your office with the utmost speed, you need to harness the latest technologies.

Here are documents that clients of SignEasy regularly send and sign during employees onboarding:

  1. Copy of background check certificate
  2. Copies of certificates and diplomas
  3. Employee application
  4. Offer letter
  5. Equal opportunity data form
  6. Job description and contract and acceptance letter
  7. Non-disclosure agreement
  8. Non-compete agreement
  9. Direct deposit form
  10. Form W-4 (for federal income tax withholding)
  11. Form I-9 (identifies individuals authorized to work in the US)
  12. Benefits registration form
  13. Employee handbook signature page
  14. Alternate Dispute Resolution Acknowledgment
  15. 30/60/90 day career development plan
  16. Onboarding survey

Time to streamline onboarding paperwork with SignEasy 

Incredibly remote-friendly, SignEasy allows HR personnel and new hires to sign any document, through any device, from any place.

That’s not all, it shares, it stores and it automatically reminds you (and your employees) to sign. You can even try it for free by clicking here! What more can you ask for? 

A lot more actually. And SignEasy delivers. Here is a quick list of our eSignature features that make the processing of onboarding paperwork a breeze:

  1. It secures your employee and onboarding files. So you don’t ever have to worry about any data breaches.
  2. You don’t have to ever delete or shred any employee files, since it stores all paperwork on incredibly scalable cloud solutions. This means you can always be ready for HR and compliance audits. 
  3. It reduces the chances of errors in the documentation by allowing you to assign ‘document fields’. This feature offers prompts that guide signers through the form and where to sign. 
  4. Improves productivity by allowing you to store templates of all the onboarding documents. Such templates can be reused, with a few personalizations, for every new hire. Just think of the effort and time saved on manually typing out entire documents.
  5. Integrates seamlessly with the likes of Freshworks so that all employee onboarding documents can be sent and signed from within the HRIS!
  6. It has been acknowledged for customer excellence and user-friendliness by Aragon & G2.
  7. It’s incredibly affordable at a subscription of just $8 per month. You don’t need to buy any software for a large upfront cost or worry about maintenance.

To know how else SignEasy can help your SMB, just write to us here. We would also be thrilled to take you through a bespoke demo session.

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