So you’ve expanded your business to the United Kingdom and hired your first employee. Congratulations!
With that complete, it’s time to focus on creating a positive onboarding experience to set your new employee up for success. Statistics show that a great onboarding experience increases UK employee retention by a significant 82%. Employee retention doesn’t just have implications for morale; it also saves you money. Oxford Economics research shows the average cost of turnover per team member is over £30,000.
A top-quality onboarding experience is a months-long process, but getting it right is well worth it. Our employee onboarding checklist covers what you need to know—including a useful 90-day onboarding plan, paperwork and compliance, devices and access to apps, and training—to ensure your new hire is successful during their tenure at your company.
Before their first day
- Collect the necessary documents from your new hire. For a smooth onboarding process, ask for new hire paperwork that will verify the employee’s right to work and get them set up in payroll. The following documents are needed to ensure the employee has the legal right to work in the UK:
- National identity card
- National Insurance Number
- Work Visa, which should include their Tier 2, or General Visa
- A certificate of registration showing they are a naturalized British citizen or one that certifies they are legally a permanent resident
If you’re not sure exactly which documents you need, you can verify them on gov.uk.
To get the employee set up in payroll, ask for their P45–this form shows the amount of tax they’ve paid from their salary so far that year.
- Loop in HR. Once you’ve made your hiring decision and the recruitment process is over, send the new hire’s application to your Human Resources department. In addition to ensuring the new employee has the legal right to work in the UK, they’ll also determine if the individual needs to go through a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service check, formerly known as a CRB check). DBS checks are necessary for employees who will be working with vulnerable individuals or in positions where they’ll be responsible for security.
- Get consent and run a background check. HR can also help you run an employee background check, which is required under the 2008 Employment Background Check Act and mandates employers check references and credit and perform a criminal background check before they begin the onboarding process. One final, but important note to keep in mind: You must obtain consent from the new hire before you run any pre-employment screening. Read our full guide to employment background checks in the UK to learn more.
- Send an offer letter. Also known as a written statement or employment contract, an offer letter must be sent to any new hire you’ll be employing for longer than one month. To be legally compliant, job offer letters must contain the employee’s start date, position title, job description, their hours of work, their compensation and benefits, details of the company’s confidentiality policy and a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and company policies on termination. For a complete checklist of what should be included in an offer letter in the UK, check out our guide.
- Register the new employee with HM Revenue and Customs. To begin paying your employee, you must register them with HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) so you can enroll them in the UK’s PAYE (Pay-as-You-Earn) Scheme. To do this, you’ll need to fill out a Full Payment Submission (FPS) for HMRC. Include the following information:
- Their tax code and new starter declaration form (if they don’t have a P45)
- Information you’ve collected from their P45 or from their P46 (a new starter checklist they should fill in if they’re without a P45)
- Their pay, National Insurance, tax, and student loan deductions (if applicable) since they began working for you
This information must be in the hands of the HMRC either on or before their first payday. Additionally, you need to give your employee a payroll ID.
*Note: Contractors who are transitioning to employees will not have a P45 so they will need to use their self assessment form and employee's can also use their final payslip from their previous employer, as P45's can be issued up to a month after the employee leaves and the employer will want to get this information in before their first payroll to ensure the employee does not pay more tax than they need to.
- Enroll them in benefits. Workplace pension scheme, statutory sick pay, annual holiday leave, and statutory redundancy pay are just some of the mandatory benefits UK employees receive. You can find more information on statutory and supplemental benefits in our UK guide.
- Order and configure their devices. Employees working on site or from home alike need the right tools and equipment to perform their jobs. Prior to their start date, order and configure any devices, such as laptops or mobile phones, so their first day goes without a hitch.
- Set up their app accounts. Nothing slows down a first day at work like contacting IT and your new supervisor to get your email address, Slack, Figma, Asana, and/or Zoom set up. Avoid these headaches by helping new employees set up their app accounts before their start date.
- Prepare any resources they'll need. These can include:
- An employee handbook that clearly states the company policies, as well as any supplemental documents they might need
- A self-guided presentation about your company’s mission statement, your company culture, and values
- A list of contacts
- A copy of their job description and top priorities as they get started
- Any other role-specific resources they may need
- Send a welcome email. A welcome email is a must when it comes to a complete onboarding process and making a good first impression. The UK is well known for its informal, relaxed style when it comes to working, so keep the language of your welcome email casual. If you like, you can include an agenda for your employee’s first day or two so they know what to expect, and encourage them to ask any questions.
On Day 1
- Make sure their workspace is set up. If your new employee works in the office, swing by and check that they have a desk, working laptop, office supplies, and maybe even a welcome card ready before they come in. If they work from home, set up a Zoom call to see if they need anything, and give them a quick video tour so they’re ready to hit the ground running. You may even want to send them a welcome basket or card to make them feel appreciated from day one.
- Encourage your team to reach out to their new coworker. Either the day before the new employee starts or the morning of, shoot the rest of the company an email encouraging them to say hello and introduce themselves. If the new employee works from home, suggest sending an email or Slack message. If they work in person, cater a company lunch so everyone has a chance to mingle. For help crafting the perfect “welcome to the team” email, check out our guide.
- Schedule their orientation. Introduce your new hire to both your workplace and your team by scheduling an orientation for their first day. It should include, at minimum, a 1:1 with their direct manager, a meeting with the team they’ll be working with, and anything else they may need to get started.
- Set up a get-to-know-you event. To build camaraderie and ensure your new hire doesn’t feel like a stranger on their first day, set up a social event with their closest team members. Statistics show that 79% of employees would love to attend in-person events to meet their coworkers and feel like part of the team. Since The UK is well known for its pubs, one idea is to schedule a happy hour during the new hire’s first week.
- Assign them an onboarding buddy or mentor. The buddy system works just as well in the workplace as it did in grade school. Before they start their new job, assign a team member who will act as a point person for your new hire. Schedule a 1:1 with this person on their first day so they have a friendly face and a guide to show them around. They can answer questions about company policy, help the new employee settle in, and introduce them to other team members.
- Give an office tour. An office tour is a necessity for new hires working on site. Not only will it give them the chance to meet some of their coworkers, but they’ll learn where the bathrooms, break areas, and meeting rooms are.
- Health and Safety training. Ensure that the employee receives training on Health and Safety. This includes showing the employee where the emergency exits are, displaying the Health & Safety poster in a communal area; explaining to the employee what the Employer and Employee responsibilities are; giving the employee an overview of the emergency exit process; pointing out where the first aid box is; advising who the fire marshal/s and first responder/s are; showing the locations of the fire extinguishers and the emergency assembly point.
During their first 90 days
- Schedule role-specific training. The hallmark of a great onboarding process is giving your new hire the training they need (on all fronts) to meet their objectives. During the first 30 days, they should receive lots of hands-on training to ensure they know how to use software they’ll need, understand the hierarchy of the company, and have thorough knowledge of their job responsibilities and role expectations. Turn these objectives into a list of goals, and have the new hire meet regularly with their manager to help them stay on track.
- Assign them work. After the first month of training, get your new hire started on some projects. Make sure to monitor their progress carefully. After all, there’s naturally going to be a learning curve, and this is the time for them to make mistakes and get clarity. Set goals for this period of time, too. A framework like SMART goals—setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound will ensure your new hire has clear objectives to work towards, which will help guide their actions during this critical time and ensure they don’t feel lost. At the end of the 60 days, schedule some time to discuss their feedback on the process and give your own.
- Let the employee demonstrate their mastery. During the last 30 days of the onboarding process, give your employee the chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned so far. Create opportunities for them to use the knowledge they gained from training–and the expertise that made you hire them in the first place–to fully contribute to the team they’re working on.
- Offer regular feedback. New starters are more likely to succeed and correct mistakes if feedback about their performance is communicated with them clearly. Set up semi-regular meetings to discuss how they’re doing, acknowledge their wins, and highlight potential areas for growth.
- Encourage the new employee to give you their feedback. By asking for a new employee’s honest feedback about the onboarding process, you’ll get a sense of what’s going well and what can be improved in the future.
- Schedule end of probationary period meeting. This meeting is to discuss the employee’s performance and whether or not the employee will pass their probation period or not.
Onboarding new employees in the UK is easy—and fast—with Rippling
If you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers in the UK, 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.