New hire checklist: A step-by-step guide to onboarding employees in the Netherlands


Jun 16, 2023

After a long pipeline of interviews, you've found the perfect Dutch employee for your company in the Netherlands. With all that excitement, it’s time to focus on the onboarding process!

A smooth onboarding process–well beyond the employee's first day–can boost their retention rate by 25% and enhance their productivity by 11%. Allocating resources to improve your onboarding process can also save you money in the long term since retaining employees is more cost-effective than hiring new ones. In fact, replacing a full-time employee who quits can cost up to 1.5 times their annual salary.

From completing necessary paperwork and preparing the employment contract to staying compliant with work permits, and hardware and benefits, there's much to keep track of during the first 90 days. Our onboarding checklist will help you get prepared for their start date and give them a positive experience that will carry over way past their first day.

Before their first day

  • Check if work permits are needed. Confirm the employee can legally work in the Netherlands—they must be citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. If not, they will need a residence permit, and the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) can issue a work permit for them. Check out more details on the work permit process here.
  • Send the employment contract. The employment contract, or job offer, must include details like start date, probationary period, working hours, salary, holiday allowance, social security contributions, title, benefits, and any other details relevant to your company. Here’s how to create offer letters for Dutch employees. 
  • Complete all necessary paperwork for Dutch employment. Make sure to complete all employment documents before the first day, including tax documents, the employment agreement, benefits enrollment, and work permit applications. To protect your company’s trade secrets and IP, have the new employee sign a non-disclosure agreement that explains your company’s confidentiality policy.
  • Set up hardware access. Before their first day, order a computer and any other devices needed to set up the new employee for success. Be sure to configure their devices  so they can get started on day one without any hiccups.
  • Create logins for all necessary software and apps. New employees have a lot to keep track of as it is… they shouldn’t have to worry about asking for access to email or Slack as they’re getting started. Help your new hires by setting up their app accounts in advance, so they can sign in quickly on their first day. 
  • Make sure to gather all the necessary resources they may need, including:
    • A copy of the first week's agenda
    • Team member directory
    • A copy of their role description and duties
    • A copy of their 30-60-90 plan
    • Employee and company culture handbook
    • Employee ID and entry card (if needed)
    • Any other job-specific resources 
  • Schedule a welcome email. Create a welcome email for the new hire with details about what to expect on the first day, hardware and software access, their onboarding buddy’s information, and dress code. In the Netherlands, the dress code is pretty casual; you only see formal attire–like suits–at the executive level.
  • Schedule the first week of meetings. Prepare an agenda with meetings with every department head and relevant team members so the new employee can find their footing in the company faster. Dutch meetings tend to be informal, so encourage the new hire to speak up if they have an idea or new perspective.
  • Assign an onboarding buddy. One of the best parts of starting at a new company is making meaningful connections with your colleagues. An onboarding buddy can help the new hire feel more comfortable in the company culture and learn the ropes faster. Be sure to assign this person in advance so they have time to prepare for the new hire’s arrival.

On Day 1

  • Send a welcome email. First thing in the morning, send a “welcome to the team” email introducing your new hire to the rest of the company. Be sure to provide a brief bio of their new coworker and encourage the rest of the team to stop and say hello–if they work in person. 
  • Set up a workstation for them at the office. Now that their hardware and software are entirely set up, make sure their work station is ready to go with any other supplies they might need. For a fun touch, you can add a welcome note to their desk. 
  • Provide a new hire packet and agenda for the week. If you didn’t include an agenda in the welcome email already, be sure to give your new hire a copy on their first day so they know what to expect during the first week. They’ll feel much more assured walking into a new role with a laid out plan.
  • Go on an office tour. Show the new employee around the office so they know where to find the office supplies, coffee machines, break areas, bathrooms, and any other details about the space that may help them in the future.
  • Make time for a team gathering or get-to-know-you event. If there’s time during their first day, schedule a team gathering with as many team members as possible so they get the chance to mingle. A team lunch is a solid option; or a casual coffee run. 
  • Schedule a 1:1 with their supervisor. The first 1:1 with a supervisor can set the tone for the rest of the week (and potentially for the employee’s tenure). This will give your new hire a chance to connect directly with their manager and answer any immediate questions related to their role. Dutch work culture is usually encouraging around feedback from every level, so this is an excellent time to discuss duties and any changes.

During their first 90 days

  • Set goals for the quarter.  While setting clear goals is helpful for keeping your new hire on track, be mindful not to overwhelm them with too much work as they’re getting started. Develop a 30-60-90 plan for your employee to gradually ramp up over the first few months. Following a SMART goal-setting framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) is a great way to approach the plan. 
  • Schedule training sessions. Training sessions are key during the first 30 days as they help set up the skills and context needed to complete any OKRs or goals for the quarter and beyond. Training sessions can look like calls with executives, managers, and other team members, as well as certifications and shadowing.
  • Encourage cross-collaboration with other teams. While hierarchy does exist in the Dutch workforce, their culture tends to encourage more consensus regarding business decisions and open feedback from everyone, regardless of position. Encourage the new employee to cross-collaborate with other teams to help their growth. 
  • Create bi-weekly invites for manager check-ins. Regular check-ins during the probationary period (a maximum of two months) will help the manager catch any performance issues early on. It's also a time for the employee to check in on the progress of their goals and ask any questions.
  • Seek feedback on the onboarding experience. Encourage the new employee to give feedback on their onboarding experience to their manager and human resources. This feedback will be useful for improving the process for future hires.

Onboarding new employees in the Netherlands is easy—and fast—with Rippling

If you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers in the Netherlands, you need more than just a new hire checklist: you need Rippling. 

Rippling makes it easy to onboard and manage employees and contractors around the world—in one system that helps keep you compliant with local employment laws and regulations.

And with Rippling, onboarding new employees is a breeze. Complete and verify background checks, write and send offer letters, send, sign, and store digital documents, and localize onboarding materials to your new hire's home country—all from one centralized location.

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: September 7, 2023

The Author

Muriel Vega

A freelance tech and B2B writer based in Atlanta, Muriel focuses her work on human resources and workplace trends and creating engaging content for SaaS companies. She has traveled the world, but her favorite place to work is Mexico City.