The Ultimate New Hire Training Checklist + Template
If you’ve ever started a new job, you’re probably familiar with the anxious feeling preceding your first day. As a new hire, the first days, weeks, and even months of the job can be a stressful and overwhelming time of information, introductions, and training.
To set your new employee’s minds at ease, create a new hire training plan outlining the ideal employee onboarding experience. This resource helps you structure a cohesive training plan for every employee to start them off on the right foot.
Our new hire training checklist starts as soon as the employee signs their offer letter and stretches to their first annual performance review. The guide also explores why new hire training is so important, best practices for training, and more.
❗️ How you train new hires matters
Onboarding and training new employees is so much more than making sure they fill out paperwork and meet other workers.
When you train a new hire the right way, they reach the point of productivity quickly while minimizing the burden on the rest of the team. At the same time, you’ll foster a great team culture and a sense of employee satisfaction — critical factors in retaining top employees.
So what is the right way to train new employees? Craft a great onboarding experience rather than race through a series of tasks.
Experienced-based onboarding gets employees right into working and feeling like part of the culture. Onboarding and training should feel deeply connected to the work they ultimately do while getting them comfortable with new coworkers and company structures.
A few perks like welcome packages or a first-day lunch certainly don’t hurt either.
🆚 Onboarding vs. training
Some companies or managers may use onboarding and training interchangeably when referring to the new hire process. While onboarding and training overlap in key ways, there are essential distinctions you’ll want to understand before ticking off boxes on the new hire training checklist.
Employee onboarding focuses on helping new employees get comfortable with the company, their colleagues, and the office environment. The onboarding phase begins the moment a candidate signs their job offer and continues through the first few months of their employment.
Employee training focuses on providing employees with the skills and competencies they need to succeed in their current and future roles. Training begins during the onboarding phase, but ideally, it never stops.
Our new hire training checklist combines onboarding and training tasks into one resource so you can create a cohesive experience with smooth transitions for your employees.
✅ New hire training checklist
Our new hire training checklist begins the moment a candidate accepts a job offer with your company. From then on, it’s up to you to create a welcoming first impression and establish a solid foundation for each new hire.
After preparation and pre-boarding, this checklist walks you through key milestones in your employee’s first year — all the way up to their first annual review.
The preparation phase consists of everything you need to do before your new hire’s first day. Prep tasks are mainly logistical items necessary for an employee to access their workspace.
As you prepare for your new hire, you should:
- Pre-fill and send out new hire paperwork such as a contract, work visa, or tax documents
- Request hardware, logins, office keys, or any other equipment your employee needs
- Notify the new hire’s team of their start date
- Book introductory or training meetings with any relevant colleagues
- Plan a schedule for the new hire’s first day and week
With a well-thought-out training plan, the preparation phase will get easier and easier each time. Preparation is also a great way to leverage automation in your employee onboarding.
A few days before the new hire’s start date, they move into the pre-boarding phase. In this stage, you want to lay the groundwork for an exciting and low-stress first day.
- Check in to see how the new employee is feeling about their first day // Find tips for your welcome message here
- Provide information on how to report to their manager, whether in-person or online
- Confirm completion of all new hire paperwork and equipment requests
- Offer background content on your company culture, benefits and work policies, and more
- Send a welcome package with a personal note and small gifts or snacks
- Assign an onboarding buddy and prepare them for the task
Offering a little support goes a long way in making a great first impression on your new employee. They can show up for day one confident they’ll have what they need to get their job done.
Most people think onboarding and new hire training begins on day one. But by the time a new employee sets foot in your office, they should already have some of their bearings and be ready to dive into getting to know the office.
That’s the benefit of pre-boarding.
A new hire’s first day of work should have a sense of celebration. To foster that, here’s what to do on your employee’s first day:
- Introduce them to their team and announce their arrival to the company via email or better: an IM like Slack
- Set aside time for a first-day lunch or coffee break with the team
- Provide all their work equipment and give them time to set it up
- Introduce them to their mentor or onboarding buddy to ask questions
You don’t have to tell your new employees everything on their first day. Instead, focus on creating a welcoming environment and helping the employee get comfortable.
Strategies like assigning onboarding buddies make people feel more welcome while also speeding up time-to-productivity: Microsoft found that 56% of new hires who met with an onboarding buddy just once in the first 90 days felt they become productive faster.
That response peaked at 97% for new hires who met with an onboarding buddy more than eight times in the first 90 days — that’s less than once a week.
It’s easy to overload your new employees with information on their first day. Don’t feel pressured to rush through every single company policy by 5:00 p.m. on day one just to say you’ve done it.
Instead, take a full work week to acclimate the employee to the company, their team, and their role.
Aim to complete these items by the end of the first week:
- Create a 30-60-90 day plan in collaboration with their manager
- Assign their first task or project
- Review legal compliance, company policies, and HR logistics like sick time
- Direct them to tool-related training materials
- Set up networking meetings or 1:1 conversations with counterparts
More than half of all companies end their onboarding process after week one, but in this new hire training plan, there’s still a long way to go. (That’s a good thing.)
A new hire’s first week should be a mix of office environment orientation and role-related skill training. By offering early opportunities to experience the role and receive feedback, your new hires can get up to speed with their responsibilities more quickly than before.
As onboarding and training progress, the employee’s tasks will start to focus more on their role and less on the company overall. This slow transition sets employees up for long-term success.
For the first 90 days an employee is with your company, hold regular check-ins to measure progress on the 30-60-90 day plan created in the first week.
A 30-60-90 day plan is a mini employee development plan focused on quickly getting your new hire to productivity. You’ll provide company- and role-specific training, address any competency gaps, and determine the new employee’s first project.
You’ll need to customize these plans for each company, team, and employee. Still, you can use these items as a general guide for new hire training in the first 90 days.
- Assign role-related microlearning sessions to introduce and reinforce skills
- Continue to offer networking and collaboration opportunities
- Create a long-term professional development plan
Some organizations choose to formally end the onboarding process after 90 days, while others might continue onboarding for a few more weeks or months. This will depend on the complexity of the role and your organization.
Check out Zavvy’s employee onboarding checklist template, updated for remote and hybrid work, to start building your own new hire training plan. It offers a complete overview of a new hire’s first 90 days and resources to continue developing employees beyond that.
Although you might choose to end onboarding after 90 days, employee training never stops. Check in with new hires after their first six months to see how they are settling into the office and their position.
If your company has a probationary period for new hires, it’s common for those to end after six months. Even if you don’t have a formal probationary period, a six-month check-in is still wise to keep new hire training on track.
Here are a few things to do around your new hire’s six-month mark:
- Review their personalized employee development plan progress
- Adjust the plan based on newly identified goals or skills gaps
- Assign further training or development journeys, if needed
- Continue to encourage networking and offer employee resources
- Gather employee feedback on the onboarding process
At this check-in, pay close attention to whether your new hire is reaching full productivity. Manual, paper-based onboarding systems can delay full productivity for new hires by up to eight months, but with this new hire training checklist, your time to productivity should be far shorter.
Measuring time-to-productivity is a great way to track the efficacy of your new hire training plan.
By the time an employee approaches their one-year anniversary with the company, you probably don't consider them a new hire anymore. The first annual performance or development review can serve as the end of new hire training and the beginning of ongoing employee development.
It's essential to develop a process that meets your company's business and workforce needs. To prepare for future turnover or other business changes, you'll want a well-developed roster of employees ready to fill any gaps you may have.
Here's how you can incorporate these goals into the final portion of your new hire training template:
- Compare an employee's skills to the competency model for their role
- Brainstorm development solutions for any new or ongoing skills gaps
- Continue to reinforce earlier training via microlearning
- Ask the employee about their experience so far and their goals moving forward
Remember that employee retention increasingly relies on providing opportunities for career growth and ongoing development. Consider that 94% of employees said they'd stay longer at a company if given more learning opportunities.
To that end, keep open lines of communication with all of your employees, regardless of their tenure. You'll know what opportunities they're looking for and how those might align with the organization's present or future needs.
📝 Best practices for training new employees
As you draft your new hire training checklist, you'll want to keep a few best practices in mind. These concepts can help you establish a solid foundation for your onboarding and training that will serve your organization well as it grows.
Leverage automation tools
First things first: everything about training and onboarding new employees is easier when you can use automation.
From pre-filling paperwork to tracking training progress, automation can save you and your new hires tons of time while creating an excellent onboarding experience.
Here are a few of the ways you can use automation in your new hire training:
Zavvy's onboarding solution includes these automation tools along with other features to support your new hire training checklist.
Develop a consistent training framework
Automation makes it easier to standardize new hire training across your company. The People Ops team can create a broad training framework for the organization, outlining each phase's major goals, outcomes, and tools.
While some level of customization is certainly necessary (more on that later), a standard framework is hugely beneficial for your company in the long run.
Essentially, you're envisioning the new employee experience from start to finish. This is the foundation of your company culture and the success of your new hires.
Track new hire training progress
After investing so much time in developing a new hire training process, you want to make sure it's working. To see what kind of results you're getting, track progress in your employee onboarding platform.
This kind of tracking helps you view progress at an individual, department, or company-wide level. You can see which employees may need a little extra encouragement to fully participate in training and development. Or, you can measure your engagement rates, productivity outputs, and other metrics of training success.
📈 How Alasco cut time-to-productivity in half with Zavvy
Let's take a look at the new hire training plan in action. Alasco, a real estate software company, had to automate its onboarding process once it grew its employee base by 67% in a single year.
Previously, new hires went through a detailed manual onboarding process that lasted about four weeks. Intensive introductory meetings offered a thorough overview of the company, and follow-up emails and checklists took care of many logistics.
As Alasco scaled, however, it became clear that many onboarding tasks were falling through the cracks. So they turned to Zavvy's employee enablement platform to automate the process and create a cohesive onboarding experience for all employees.
Moving the new hire training process to Zavvy allowed for a single structure for every role while allowing for team- and role-specific introductions and training.
Best of all?
Alasco cut new hire time-to-productivity in half, averaging two weeks before new hires are comfortable in their role.
➡️ Read the full case study here
Can I automate the new hire training checklist?
A thorough new hire training checklist can be a lot of work — if you do it manually. But you can speed up the process through automation with an employee enablement platform like Zavvy.
Automating your onboarding checklist speeds up the entire process. Your new hire becomes productive faster, and you'll alleviate the burden of manual onboarding from managers and your People Ops team.
What does an ideal onboarding process look like?
An ideal onboarding process feels more like a welcoming experience than a long slog of paperwork and introductions. With personalized, automated employee onboarding solutions, you can craft an onboarding framework that's consistent across your company while providing the unique information and support that each person needs.
What should I include in a new hire training checklist?
A new hire training checklist should provide a complete overview of an employee's journey from the moment they accept their offer through their first 90+ days with the company.
Think about logistical elements like paperwork and IT setup and the larger experience, such as meeting new colleagues and getting to know the office culture.
How is onboarding different from new hire training?
Onboarding helps acclimate employees to their new work environment in the early months in their role. Training teaches or reinforces role-related skills throughout an employee's time with your organization.