Click here to download the Employee Onboarding Checklist.

“Companies with the best teams set people up for success from the beginning,” says Victoria Downing, president of Remodelers Advantage and a REMODELING columnist, who developed and uses this form with new hires.

The checklist (abbreviated here) is part of an “on-boarding system” that helps immerse new employees into the company’s culture and offers short-term goals to be used as benchmarks for performance.

“When someone’s new, there’s so much to learn,” Downing says. At Remodelers Advantage, the process starts immediately — with a welcome sign, a workstation set up with all the equipment a new employee will need, and meetings scheduled with other employees. “We want new hires to know they’re part of the company, part of the future,” Downing says.

Checklist information is reiterated at weekly meetings, and job expectations and goals are taken into consideration at bonus time. —Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.

Download the full checklist.

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Open Arms

Welcome the new hire and discuss with him or her the history of the company and its core values and mission. Let him know why these things are important and what they mean to you as an individual. The first part of this checklist may take several days to complete.

Who’s in Charge

Each step is overseen by a particular person, e.g., the “Company/Department Overview” is done by the president. “We schedule time for new employees to spend time with each of us in the office going over what they do and how they contribute to the company’s success,” Downing says.

Baby Steps

Downing breaks down the on-boarding process into weekly increments to avoid overwhelming a new employee and to help them succeed by offering them small goals to accomplish. The on-boarding process could take several months, based on the complexity of the job.


Once you’ve discussed a task and the employee has a chance to try it out, follow up to find out how they did. “If they start on Monday … by the next Monday you should have another meeting. The department manager might ask: What did you like best? What did you learn? If I asked you to find “X” online, could you find it?

Run through scenarios with them. If a new hire can’t do what you want them to do in the weeks you set out for them, it’s clear they’re not the right person for the job.

Set It Up

Discuss specific goals for performing the job in question. Tell new hires about meetings they will be expected to attend. Break the information into what’s expected after 30, 60, and 90 days and even longer-term.

Rules Rule

Victoria Downing mails an employee handbook to new hires and asks them to read it before they arrive the first day. Then she goes through it all with them. She also walks new hires through the company’s SOPs and tests them afterward. “This is all just the beginning of really getting started,” she says.