After finding, recruiting, and hiring an employee in the Philippines, it comes time to onboard them. And the new hire’s orientation should involve more than just signing a few documents and setting up an email account.
Philippine work culture values pakikisama, a term that means “getting along with others,” as a means of fostering community. That’s why standout employers provide new talent with a supportive onboarding experience where employees can ask questions, meet colleagues in a low-stakes setting, and get acquainted with their new company’s culture. A more seamless, harmonious process can improve employee retention and set the stage for a fulfilling work relationship.
So what does an exceptional onboarding experience look like? Our employee onboarding checklist covers what you need to know—from paperwork and tax enrollment to mentorship, training, and a comprehensive plan to ensure your new hires are set up for long-term success.
Before their first day
- Ensure the employee can legally work in the Philippines. If your new hire isn’t a Filipino citizen or permanent resident, they typically need an Alien Employment Permit (AEP), which is granted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and is usually contingent upon an employer’s job offer. Afterwards, the foreign new hire may also need to apply for a functional 9(g) visa with the Bureau of Immigration. Read our guide on work permits in the Philippines for more information.
- Complete a background check. Background checks are legal in the Philippines as long as you get informed consent from job applicants first, according to the Philippines’ Data Privacy Act. Background checks are mandatory for certain jobs that pose safety risks or involve working with vulnerable populations. Employers are responsible for protecting the new hire’s personal information and maintaining their confidentiality. Read our full guide to employment background checks in the Philippines to learn more.
- Send an offer letter. An offer letter is a legal agreement between a new hire and their employer. Make sure it includes the right information to be compliant with Philippine labor laws: the new hire’s position and contact information, their working hours (including overtime allowances), compensation and minimum entitlements, your termination policy (including details on probation periods), and any other stipulations relevant to your company. Read our full guide on creating offer letters for employees in the Philippines.
- File other necessary paperwork. Beyond the employment contract, common forms your human resources team needs include tax documents, non-disclosure agreements, and information on the Occupational Safety and Health Standards that protect Filipino employees from injury, sickness, and other safety hazards on the job. Depending on which onboarding software you use, getting these documents completed might involve back and forth communication between stakeholders and signatories across the company.
- Prepare for tax withholdings. Employers are responsible for withholding taxes to fund the Philippines’ different social security programs. Make sure to have your new hire’s Tax Identification Number (TIN), Social Security System number, PhilHealth number, and Pag-IBIG membership ID number, so you can make the necessary contributions on their behalf.
- Enroll them in benefits. The information from the previous checklist item will help you enroll your new hire in the Philippines’ benefit programs. All full-time employees are entitled to retirement payments, unemployment insurance, health insurance, disability, sick leave, maternity leave, service incentive leave, statutory holidays, and access to the Home Development Mutual Fund. Also keep in mind that non-managerial employees are entitled to a “13th month” of pay. Learn more in our guide to employee benefits in the Philippines).
- Add them to payroll. You have to pay Philippines-based employees in Philippine pesos (PHP). Make sure you have the right mailing address, their date of birth and date of hire, bank account information for direct deposits, and account numbers for the social security programs. Check out our full guide to running payroll for employees in the Philippines.
- Order and configure computers, phones, and other devices. Whether your new employee will be working on site or remotely, they need the right tools for their job. Before their first day, order and configure any devices they need so your new hire can get started without a hitch.
- Set up their app accounts. Before an employee’s first day, help them out by setting up their app accounts, so everything is ready for a smooth (and fast) sign-in when they reach their start date. You don’t want them to miss an important email on their first day.
- Prepare any resources they'll need. These can include:
- A “welcome kit” with an orientation agenda
- Literature on company policies, values, and culture
- A primer on how to give and receive feedback
- A team directory with everyone’s contact information
- Registration information for software and other collaboration tools the employee will need on the job
- Information about social security, health care, and Home Development Mutual Fund entitlements
- Schedule an employee orientation. Your new team member’s orientation should be a combination of meetings, training sessions, and (typically) trial assignments to ease them into the job. The more you plan these out before the new hire’s start date, the better. Consider budgeting in some time to shadow colleagues who will have similar responsibilities.
- Send a welcome email. Creating a welcome email for your new hire is a great way to let them know what they can expect during their first few days.This can include a first-day agenda, notes on your office policies, FAQs about their first day—and anything else they might need when starting their new job. Learn more and browse templates in our welcome email guide.
On Day 1
- Make sure their workspace is set up. If your new hire works in the office, make sure their desk is good to go with work essentials (like a computer, office floor plan, and stationary). Put a nameplate somewhere near their desk and consider throwing in some small welcome decorations. Maybe even put together a welcome care package to make a good first impression.
- Send a "welcome to the team" email. Send a note to the whole company introducing the new hire. Include a short bio along with their new role description. You should also mention where in the office they’re working to encourage colleagues to pop over and say hi. Learn how to craft the perfect "welcome to the team" email with our guide.
- Give them an agenda or plan to help them get started. The first few days in a new office work best if they’re regimented. New hires can benefit from a written-out schedule of what to expect early on in their tenure, including assignments, meetings, and training sessions. Relaying these marching orders early ensures your new hire has a sense of direction as they get acclimated.
- Schedule a meeting with their manager. New hires should meet with their supervisor as soon as possible to open a feedback loop, set expectations, and set the tone of the work relationship. This is a good time to delegate your new hire’s first official assignment.
- Schedule a 1:1 with their onboarding buddy. Within the first week, it’s helpful to connect a friendly co-worker with your new hire to guide them through the onboarding experience. Schedule time for this meeting and remember that it can be casual—consider treating them to a meal or coffee, if the job is in-person.
- Have a get-to-know-you event with their team or closest peers. You don’t want to keep your new hire guessing as to who they’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. This kind of informal meet-and-greet breaks the ice and gives your new employee valuable face time with team members before their work picks up in earnest. It also sets the stage for future social events like potlucks to celebrate special occasions, which are common in the Philippines.
- Give an office tour. Once your new hire is settled into their workspace, give them a guided tour of the office layout, highlighting where to find the different departments, department heads, bathrooms, break areas, and conference rooms.
- Provide them with a list of contacts. New hires can always benefit from a “cheat sheet” with the contact information for all relevant team members. Aim to provide work phone numbers, email addresses, and Slack handles so your new employee knows who they can talk to regarding specific questions.
During their first 90 days
- Schedule your new hire’s training. The first few months are all about getting acquainted with the company and their role within it. New employees should get organizational training, where they're tasked with learning about company culture, its goals, its mission, and its values. Next, you can provide them with more role-specific training so they’re ready to tackle their first assignment.
- Assign work and help them set goals. When doling out that first assignment, know that the work product likely won’t be perfect off the bat. You can help your new hire by setting goals using a framework like SMART goals—setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This will give them clear targets to work toward and limit any confusion surrounding expectations.
- Schedule regular check-ins to help them stay on track. Check-ins with a new hire help you track progress, while serving as a supportive environment for giving and receiving feedback. Aim to check in after a new hire’s first 30 days, 60 days, and then 90 days, at minimum, to track how they’re adjusting to the role. These check-ins also provide a solid opportunity to hear the new hire’s perspective on the employee onboarding process, and how it can be improved.
Onboarding new employees in the Philippines is easy—and fast—with Rippling
If you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers in the Philippines, 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.