New hire training checklist — set employees up for success

Bringing in a new hire involves a flurry of activity. After all, you want to get the person comfortable and up to speed as soon as possible. Plus, making efforts to welcome, educate, and engage leaves a positive early impression that contributes to better employee retention rates.

Managers and human resource professionals benefit from using a checklist template during the onboarding process. This document enables them to keep track of all the things a new employee needs to do or learn and check off items as finished. It provides the specifics of what takes place when, which prevents activities from slipping through the cracks. Spacing out items over a time period also keeps newcomers from becoming overwhelmed by information overload.

Some items on the onboarding checklist will be the same for each new employee. (Every person who wants to get paid sets up a direct deposit!) Other entries will vary based on department and individual job description. Leaders can adjust their new hire onboarding checklist accordingly. Technology makes customization easy, whether using specialized software or a basic Word or Excel program. The use of color aids in quickly grasping where things stand. Put items in red and change them over to green when finished or yellow when in progress.

No one way exists to break everything down. The following offers a sample of what might be included on an employee onboarding checklist divided by the crucial early days on the new job and then the first 30, 60, and 90 days.

Prior to the first day

Nowadays, the onboarding experience routinely starts as soon as a candidate verbally accepts a job offer. This stage, often referred to as preboarding, focuses heavily on both the new hire and the company preparing for day one of employment.

Checklist tasks for this segment may include:

Send new hire paperwork necessary for completion before the new employee’s first day

Break down this section further by listing each individual type of document, such as:

Offer letter with job description



State tax withholding forms

Emergency contacts information

Confidentiality agreements

Include a space on the checklist to mark when the person returns the completed form.

Distribute the employee handbook and track acknowledgment of its receipt

This action enables the new hire to understand the dress code, absences, disciplinary procedures, and other company policies before walking into the work environment.

Providing benefit enrollment information and forms

Again, break this down further by type, such as:





Life insurance

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Giving links to videos or tutorials on company history and mission.

Securing uniforms, badges, tech equipment, and other necessary supplies.

Physically setting up the new person’s workspace.

Notifying team members about the new hire’s start date and background and encouraging them to send a welcome email.

Notifying relevant departments about needs, such as contacting IT to establish an email account or grant database access.

First day

A new employee’s first day involves a mixture of learning what the new role entails and gaining a sense of belonging.

Items on this part of the onboarding experience checklist may include:

Introducing the new employee to team members.

Conducting welcoming activities such as a group lunch or an icebreaker game.

Touring the building.

Assigning a mentor or onboarding buddy who can answer FAQs, offer support, and provide insight into company culture.

Issuing login information, keys, and other things needed to start performing.

Presenting company swag such as a t-shirt, mug, or mousepad with the organization’s logo.

Holding a one-to-one meeting with the manager to go over what a typical day will look like and to offer a chance to ask questions.

First week

While still in the “getting your feet wet” stage, new employees can start progressing toward greater contributions as the first week continues.

Leaders may want to ensure their new employee checklist for this period includes:

Introduce the new team member to key people in the company she will encounter while performing her new job

Present priority training crucial to working here.

Break these down further into categories, such as:

Safety precautions

Mastering company technology

Security expectations

Starting job-specific employee training

This can be done through through e-learning, job shadowing, observing, and practicing under the guidance of a seasoned staff member. Be sure to provide advanced notification to involved team members so that they can add the training sessions to their own schedule.

The supervisor of a new special education paraprofessional, for instance, may construct a checklist that ensures new hire training during the first week includes:

How to read a student’s IEP (individualized education program).

Emergency evacuation procedures for students with special physical needs.

Lunchroom management techniques.

Dealing with behavioral issues using the school’s stated policy of progressive discipline.

Taking daily notes on individual students and entering them into the computer system.

State-required Mandated Reporter training on recognizing and reporting signs of child abuse.

Learning procedures for operating equipment, filling out forms, etc.

Scheduling daily check-ins to offer encouragement and see how things are going.

First month

Hopefully, the new employee will start feeling increasingly comfortable as he gets closer to the 30-day mark.

The training checklist for this month could include:

General company trainings

These can be both ones required of all new employees and ones specific to certain departments or roles.

Break these down further so nothing gets missed, such as:



Bystander intervention


Effective communication

Advanced job-specific training

This can be especially valuable through practicing under the guidance of the manager or colleagues. Again, break these down.

Building on the example of new employee onboarding of a paraprofessional, this might include:

Completing the Crisis Prevention Institute’s program on safe management of disruptive behavior

Learning strategies for better teacher/para communication

Working through tutorials on how to help students with reading deficiencies

Creating instructional materials for math lessons

Weekly sessions for constructive feedback

The new hire needs to know what she is doing right and wrong. These meetings catch small issues before they become larger and motivate the employee to improve.

Identify skills gaps

Through observation and speaking with the new employee, determine what skills they may still need to develop. Lay out a plan that specifies what knowledge needs to be acquired, how to obtain it, and by when.

Second month

By the 60-day mark, employees typically have a pretty good grasp of their daily duties. The onboarding and training checklist for this term might include:

Informally evaluating task performance. Break this down into a list of the person’s duties. Check first-hand that he can do these jobs.

Looking at metrics for responsibilities and talking with the employee about how he measures up.

Meeting to discuss career goals, including starting to make tangible plans for how to acquire skills necessary to progress in the desired direction. Learning someone wants to eventually go into management, for instance, may involve talking to the person about the company’s track for prospective leaders.

Third month

At many places, the 90-day mark ends the probationary period. A manager’s training checklist at this point could include the following:

Conduct a full performance review,

Consider using the annual evaluation template as a guide.

Continue to schedule check-ins

In addition to going over general concerns, present a specific topic at each get-together.

Subjects might include:


How to improve communication




Boosting sales

Stress reduction

Ask the new hire for feedback

Get input on the company’s onboarding program in order to strengthen the new employee experience for the future.

Review the training checklist

Make sure the status for each item is now listed as “complete.” Address anything outstanding.

Congratulate the employee on milestones obtained over the past three months and ask what would boost employee satisfaction going forward.

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