New Employee On-boarding Checklist Template

At the end of a successful recruitment process  you typically have an accepted job offer by a job candidate with the right skills, mindset and experience. That is when you should start the first activities related to successfully on-boarding the new hire into your company. You have to ensure that you stay in touch with the new hire until he or she arrives at your location on the first day of employment and you must make sure that the on-boarding program goes well from the perspective of the employee and the Hiring Manager. A successful on-boarding process ensures that a new employee is able to deliver top performance (creating value) as fast as possible.

People centered HR Processes MODEL

The first day often includes the completion of forms and introducing the new employee to his or her surroundings and colleagues. And these activities may continue for several more days where introductions may include representatives from suppliers, partners and customer organizations. The first few experiences of the new employee also typically includes the handover of equipment that is to be used to perform the duties and tasks assigned to the new hire. This could include a desktop or laptop, maybe a mobile phone and any other items that are important for the role he or she would fulfill. Coordinating all of these activities and documenting the on-boarding plan is often the responsibility of HR.

New Hire On-boarding Checklist Template

This template helps you to keep track of all of the information to be shared, documents to be signed or handed over and introductions that should take place for a specific new hire. On-boarding for sales people may be different than on-boarding for a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who may work in R&D. A new sales person may have more customer meetings included while the R&D person may need to be introduced to lab procedures etc. Customize the list as needed to ensure it is right for the new employee  you are bringing into your company or group.

I would say the signing off by the manager and new employee is optional – depends on your company culture and how you would prefer to run things at your office. The important part is THAT you have a structured process to bring someone new into the company and that this process is run in a consistent manner. That way you can be sure that each new employee has received all of the support needed to as quickly as possible understand the way things are done at your company and who to talk to about specific topics and ideas. This is a vital part of ensuring the newly hired employee gets to the top of their performance potential in the shortest possible time period and feel welcome – engaged – from day 1.

Presentation Feedback Template

Developmental assignments is a great way to expose an employee to the challenge of working on specific skill areas while learning how to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to solve some predefined business issue or question. Preparation of an assignee is key – along with ensuring that the learning objectives of the developmental assignment and the business issue or question to be addressed is well understood. The other side of the coin would be to evaluate what an assignee has learned from his or her developmental assignment at the end.  Of course the topic warrants its own post at some point, but let’s just stick with the evaluation for now.

Evaluations can be based on the basics of the assignment and how the employee experienced the preparation phase, support during the assignment and the coaching/mentoring he or she received while working on the assignment. Evaluation should also include a review of the assignee’s learning and this is often done by means of a report and/or a presentation to an audience including at least some senior level managers or executives.

The templates I am sharing include a presentation feedback form which can help those attending the presentation to structure their feedback to the presenter (the assignee) in a consistent way. An HR or Training/Learning/Development representative can collect all the feedback forms afterwards and collate those into one feedback document for the benefit of the assignee.  Having this feedback available enables presenters to become mindful of the way they communicated and how effective they were at conveying what they intended when they prepared for the presentation.

Presentation Feedback Template

Combined Feedback Form Template


  • Customize the first column to include specific details around developmental objectives that were set as a part of the assignment. That way the presenter gets very specific feedback on how well he or she met those expectations through the presentation and handling questions during the session.
  • Be sure to prepare those who would provide feedback so they understand how feedback is to be captured on the form – sometimes they are confused about the columns and you may even prefer to just have one column with a score. Specifically ask them to add comments to help enrich the feedback and make it easier for the presenter to understand how to improve on his or her performance in future.
  • Deliver the feedback in person (vs by email) once the combined Feedback form is completed. Presenters may have further questions on how to interpret the feedback or how to improve on their own performance and should have the opportunity to get guidance and coaching on that during the feedback meeting to optimize the learning opportunity.

Salary Review Template

salary review2

Arguably the most contentious two processes in the HR world have to be performance feedback (part of Performance Management processes) and salary reviews (part of Reward and Recognition processes).  Most employees and managers and of course writers of trendsetting articles around these topics have strong opinions in all directions about what should be happening and how bad a specific approach is. I will refrain from picking sides at this time, but I will instead share a simple template with you for conducting a salary review for those reporting to you and who are most likely then a part of your budget.

Many HR departments of large companies have access to an online tool for salary reviews, but I know there are also many smaller companies who do not have the deep pockets and may have some use for a tool/template like this one.

The basic principles for using this tool are:

  • When you hired someone, some years earlier, his or her salary was X, let’s say that represents 30,000 EUR per year. Some years later there may have been inflation meaning the person’s buying power went down and perhaps to hire someone new for the same role the average market price may now be 32,000 EUR per year.  You need to make sure to retain the person you hired and avoid having to find someone new for the role by reviewing his or her salary on a regular basis. Typically once per year.
  • Your employee has been delivering work for you over the last year and he or she maybe did it better than others in the same role. That performance which exceeded your expectations deserves to be rewarded. You could do it as a discretionary bonus or you could review the person’s annual salary and consider an increase.
  • Some employees bring increase requests to their bosses on a regular basis while others may just be waiting for their bosses to realize how much effort they put in and how many good results they are achieving. Without a solid salary review process which is run uniformly on an annual basis (at least) you could run the risk of not treating all of your employees in the same fair manner when it comes to salary reviews. It could happen that only those employees requesting regular increases are receiving them while those who do not ask do not.

Salary Review Template

The template shows all of the current employees on your budget plus what they are earning now, what their last performance review overall score was, and some basic employment history in terms of experience years and last promotions. Hopefully you have budgeted for annual salary increases and you have planned for at least between 2 and 3% in overall annual salary increases.  (This could vary by country/region in terms of local labor laws, minimum wage adjustments, inflation, scarcity of resources as applicable to those working for you etc).

Giving everyone a standard increase may seem fair and easy to you, but it comes with some risks. If you reward those who work harder and achieve better results the same way as you do those who do not, you risk demotivating your hard workers and may eventually lose them to your competition. Those who are not working very hard or very smart are not motivated to change anything either since they know they will get their standard increase no matter what they do. So don’t go for the “one size fits all” approach. 

This template assumes that you will use all of your budget and you will distribute it among your employees depending on the factors that you have decided to take into account i.e. performance review scores, years of experience, specific role (if there is a scarcity and steep inflation in salaries for that role in the marketplace around you) etc. The sheet keeps track of your overall budget so you can see if you have overspent or underspent overall.

The difference between the types of increases are simple – merit increase relates to the performance of the person while equity increase relates to the person being basically too far below what that job pays at this given moment in time. This could be either because you hired the person in at a too low a salary or you have neglected to review his or her salary for too long and the current market pays much more for someone with the same sets of skills and abilities as the person in your group.

Performing a fair overall salary review is not easy to do since many factors will present themselves as you go through this sheet as a manager. You will wonder if person A would leave if you don’t give them the increase which he or she requested or demanded some weeks before. You will wonder if you can give another person a zero increase since he or she already earns so much more than the others. You will be worried that a lot of angry employees will want to talk to you after these increases are communicated (by private letter from HR or discussion with you).

Do talk to the most senior HR person in your region/location for support in helping you make sure you have made the best choices for each of the employees concerned. A best practice that can also help with fairness is to have a round-table review with other managers at the same level as yourself to ensure all of you are using the same principles for determining salary reviews.  I strongly recommend that you include the most senior HR person supporting these managers in the round-table review to help with guidance and support when there are opposing views or concerns.

Note: This template is a simple tool and could help you start up an annual salary review process, but beware that the topic and the best approach to use is a hot and touchy subject for most and it would take a lot more than just this template to ensure you have a solid and fair process in place.

Job Applicant Interview Record

One of the toughest things to do is compare multiple job applicants after the interviews you had with them. In principle it seems simple, but there are several articles detailing how various forms of bias can creep into your comparisons and impressions of a job applicant. For example… most people tend to like more and therefore hire people who are more like they are. And it is also true that we often have a “feeling” of whether we like someone or not within the first 5 minutes of the interview. Trying to ignore these unconscious biases or whether you liked the candidate or not is tough to do without more structure around capturing your interview results.

The template is a way for you to be more focused on data gathering during the interview process. Do not try to make the decision about whether or not to hire a person during the interview. Just focus on gathering data. A structured interview record can go a long way towards helping you do just that.

To customize the template for your particular vacancy look at the first column and compare it with the job profile – what do you really need this person to be good at and have proven experience in? Capture those areas in the first column. Ask all of the job applicants the same questions and rate their answers in the second column – or during the interview or just after the interview to ensure the responses are still clear in your mind.

Job Applicant Interview Record TEMPLATE


  • If you don’t have enough time to cover all of the job profile areas that you would like to gather data on, consult with other interviewers and suggest that perhaps they start at the bottom of the page and work their way upwards.
  • Have all interviewers use the same interview record sheet to ensure a consistent process of gathering data in specific critical job performance areas for the vacancy you have.
  • When you are ready to evaluate the job applicants based on interview results be sure to look at the written scores and do not be tempted into changing scores during the discussion. The objective is not to make any interviewer’s scores “wrong” or “right” but to understand why any interviewers found some responses less credible in critical areas.
  • If you truly want to move away from any possible biases consider using an approach of having a Hiring Manager only specify the critical job performance areas which is then captured in the job profile. Then have a different manager (or groups of managers) interview and select the job applicant to hire for the vacancy. 🙂

Succession Plan Template


It is always wise to think about who could lead your team, head up the location you are at or take on higher levels of leadership in future. It is called Succession planning. People retire, people vacate roles, new roles are created during reorganizations and restructuring efforts. All of these eventualities may create the need for someone else to take over in a leadership role and the question becomes… do you have anyone available internally who is promotion-ready?

This is the reason why it is important to keep a track of the key roles you have in your organization and also keep an eye on those who could potentially fill the role should it unexpectedly become vacant. The template starts with the key roles in the first column. Then you have to reflect on the chances that the role could become vacant. Retirement is a reasonably predictable event – even though it is true that several people do not wish to retire once they reach the legally set retirement age.

When you start considering those who could potentially step into a leadership role in future be sure you follow up afterwards to ensure that all those indicated as potential successors have a development plan and that their development needs are clearly understood and being worked on.

It is not the idea that you should be able to fill every single leadership role from within. It is good to bring in “new blood” and new leaders into the organization. It helps you grow the company in terms of capability, introduces new (desirable) mindsets and helps you fill those succession plan gaps.

Succession Plan Template

Many larger companies may be using an HR system which could include modules for leadership development and tracking succession planning. If you do not have access to such a system, this template may come in handy.


  • Review the plan at least once a year with the manager for the location/region that you are responsible for. The two of you should agree on the contents of the plan.
  • Be careful – this plan is just about looking ahead for planning purposes, but you do not want details of this plan leaking out creating expectations or demotivating anyone who is not on your list of potential successors. So put confidentiality first!
  • Remember it is a plan, which is a good start. But plans can change over time. Sometimes leaders are “late bloomers” and only start showing the motivation and ability to take on higher leadership roles later in their careers. Be sure to review all of the people in your employee pool when you review the plan.
  • Do follow up for each potential successor:  ensure that development plans exist that document developmental needs relating to the roles you would like to consider an individual for in future.

Exercise – Scavenger Hunt Template

It often happens that a manager turns to the HR or Training representative to request a team activity or team building exercise. These are sometimes one segment of a meeting that is being held or they could be standalone events to help a team or group of people perform better in future as a result of some shared experience where they learned something about themselves and/or the group as a team.

A Scavenger hunt is a fun team-based activity that can last from one hour to maybe 2 hours – be sure you don’t overload the teams. They should be able to complete the exercise within the given time period. The size of the teams working on the list matters too. A group of 3 to 4 people will typically take longer to complete the exercise than a team of maybe 5 or 6 people. I would say larger than 6 is too large for this activity. Consider more groups with fewer people. The idea is for teams to answer the questions and go to various locations to find answers to the questions listed on their worksheets. The team who can do this the fastest wins.

This template gives you an idea of how to construct a Scavenger Hunt activity.

You need: 

  1. The instructions to share with the participants – any rules and also organizationally how long should they work on the exercise; where should they meet at a specific time even if they were unable to complete the exercise etc.
  2. The answer sheet for when teams return from their quest (scavenger hunt) with answers and objects collected. You use this to score their answers and check that they have indeed collected all of the items specified.
  3. The sheet for teams to use in order to know what to collect and bring back and which answers they should find before their return.

The area where you will allow the teams to compete by looking for answers and objects depend on the location where the session will be held – make sure your questions on the sheet relate to this area. It is also important to indicate to teams the limits of the area where they should look for answers.

The template I am sharing contains all three elements listed above on different pages.

Scavenger Hunt Exercise Template

Communication Plan Template

writing plan

Whenever you plan to make changes to a system, a process, a strategy or generally change the environment that people work in you will need to communicate. The messages typically need to be scripted and planned for the communication needs and actions needed from various groups called stakeholders. They have some unique stake in the process and/or outcome of the change you are planning to implement. Identifying the stakeholders can be a daunting task, but important to undertake. Simply start by making a list of the groups of people who would be affected by the change. Think about functions, think about geographic locations, think about management levels, think about people outside your company who may be affected, think about vendors or partner companies.

The messages you need to communicate could be to explain why things have to change, what is going to change, when and how it is going to change, how the change is going (progress update) and what (if anything) people need to start doing, stop doing or what should change in the way they have acted in the past.

When you start completing the template, do take a bit of extra time talking to others on your change initiative project team to check if you truly identified all stakeholders to include in your communication plan and whether you have correctly identified the messages that the various stakeholder groups would need. Did you select the best way to communicate to those stakeholders – given their need to understand specific details and take actions?  Also be sure to get input from others on the Communication Plan once you have completed all the columns. Better planning up front does save you a lot of time during the implementation. There are no short cuts to considering and documenting your communication plan.

Communication Plan Template

Some considerations:

  • The plan can evolve over time. Do not consider it a static plan which you simply execute. It is okay to review it as the project progresses and to add items which you inadvertently left off when you started the project.
  • Do review the plan on a regular basis. When you make a plan it is important to check on the progress: ensure you are actually taking the planned actions and others are taking the actions they were assigned to support your change initiative. Being proactive helps you to take mitigating actions in a timely way when the change initiative project changes course.
  • Ensure key people are aware of the communication plan. When people do not know that there is a plan they may take communication matters into their own hands while trying to help the change initiative. Their uncoordinated actions may do the opposite even though their intentions may have been noble. Share the Communication Plan with key managers and participants in the change initiative to ensure all communication efforts are coordinated and executed as planned.

Action Plans for Employee Surveys

The most important action to take after you are clear on the results from an employee satisfaction or employee engagement survey is to ensure you develop a realistic action plan to address the highest priority areas of concern. I am assuming that you have already decided when you would communicate the results to the survey participants and whether or not you would wait to include the planned actions based on the survey in the feedback.

The first template helps you to describe and be clear on which areas you plan to address in making improvements to how employees experience their work environment etc. Specific actions are then selected and jotted down. (Always remember to make actions SMART – Specific, Measurable (what progress can be observed/measured from this action?), Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.)

Employee Survey Action Plan Template

The second template relates to the regular updates that management typically expect from those who are managing the process of setting the action plans, actioning the plans and updating the plans. It focuses specifically on the agreed actions with a simple indication of progress. You can always add a comments column if your manager requires more details than the indicator of progress to date.

Employee Survey Action Plan Update Template

Some reminders:

  • Remember to communicate the survey results, the actions planned and action status updates to those who participated in the survey. It motivates employees to participate in future requests for input and establishes credibility in the process and management’s intentions to ensure a good working environment and fair and supportive treatment of employees.
  • Don’t pick more than four areas to address. If you pick too many actions and areas to action you could easily be overwhelmed by the activities that need to take place on top of your normal day-to-day workload. It is important that you are able to show progress according to your plan – to management and to survey participants.
  • Don’t survey employee opinion too often – this leads to survey-fatigue and your participation rate can drop. How often? Depends on the length of your survey. A short “employee happiness” check with about 10 questions or rated statements may be done on a quarterly basis. A full-blown survey with between 40 and 80 questions should not be considered more often than perhaps 18 to 24 months apart.
  • Explain the context of actions from employee surveys. Most people dislike being expedited on the actions that they need to take according to the action plan. It is not always true that the individuals responsible for these actions understand how the action that he or she needs to take relates to the overall action plan and the employee survey. Knowing the context of their activities and how these activities relate to a greater cause can be very motivational and may simplify your job of ensuring progress on action plans.

Portfolio Assignments for Developmental Purposes

Dev plan (3)

A powerful way to develop employees is to give them a portfolio assignment. This would be something they are asked to do while they remain responsible for their normal daily duties. Motivated employees with the ambition to learn new skills and take advantage of new opportunities to achieve goals typically welcome such assignments. Portfolio assignments are less popular among employees who are less driven to succeed and develop their careers.

A vital part of planning to assign someone to a specific project is to define exactly what it is they are to do or focus on and to make sure they understand what the desired outcomes would be. Failing to define the project at the start can easily lead to wasted effort as the assignee focuses on the wrong aspects or misinterprets what is expected. Equally important is the need to appoint a sponsor, who is typically an executive or senior manager to meet with the employee on a regular basis throughout the project. These meetings serve to provide guidance and coaching to the assignee and support his or her learning.

The template I am sharing with you is a very basic document. You can expand it by detailing specific learning areas such as which competency development would be addressed by this assignment ? And you can also add in sections to capture the coaching and guidance advice given to the assignee by the sponsor when they meet to discuss the project. The template includes both the project definition and the post-project evaluation. It may be preferable to split those sections into different documents for ease of use.

Portfolio Assignment Template


  • Ensure you prepare the sponsor to guide the project. He or she must be able to coach without taking over and know how to challenge an assignee without overwhelming him or her with suggestions or critical comments.
  • Take your time explaining the project to the assignee and ask for feedback to ensure that he or she really understood it. Sometimes the writer of the project description can be oblivious to the gaps and important details left out of the description by being already very familiar with the issue(s).
  • If you are the HR or Learning/Training representative responsible for overseeing the learning process, do check in with both sponsor and assignee on a regular basis. This helps you identify any early signs that the coaching relationship may not be working well or perhaps one of the participants is not fully engaged. Take action to resolve any issues that you may become aware of.
  • Spend time debriefing with the sponsor and assignee after the assignment. The learning is not only applicable to the assignee. The sponsor can learn how to better guide such projects in future and you, as the responsible HR/Learning representative, can learn how to better support such learning process in future.

Training Needs Analysis – Templates

Understanding what kind of training you should plan to provide to employees can be a daunting task. On the one hand there is what employees would like to have, but do they really understand what they need to learn to improve their performances? On the other hand there is what the manager thinks his or her people should be able to do better. This is a good perspective since the manager at least knows (if your performance management process is working well) what the gap is between expected employee performance and how employees are actually performing. Another consideration would be whether your current training offerings are aligned with what is actually needed? If you have the standard classes : delegation skills, leadership skills, first-time manager training, time management etc, are you sure that you are covering everything that should be made available?

If this is already giving you a headache, relax. The task of determining training needs for next year is not a simple task to perform and all of these angles are valid input to consider in making that determination. I am going to share at least 3 different tools with you to help with your training needs analysis:

  1. Self-rated individual training needs. The quality of the results you obtain from this tool depends on whether you have a good career development tool/framework in place, motivated employees who maintain and work on their own development plans on an on-going basis and whether your managers/supervisors provide quality performance feedback to employees on a regular basis. Self-rated individual training needs
  2. Manager assessment of department/team. If the manager does not have a good understanding of your performance management process and your career development tool he or she may be basing input to this tool mainly on gut-feel, which may not be reliable. The manager should also be very familiar with the definitions to interpret the knowledge and skills areas shown in this tool correctly in order to make the right judgments. Manager rated Training Needs
  3. Training needs and budgeting. This tool assumes that all the courses and learning events that will be offered are known and it helps you to budget for the events planned for next year. This means that you have already collected input from managers, performance appraisals or any other reliable source to know what employees need. The outcome will help you understand and track spending associated with training events. (Some people like to track money spent on training vs planned spending on training. You may also want to track your training budget per employee or per hours worked or actual money spent on training per employee/hours worked.) Training needs and budgeting

Tips for training needs analysis:

  • Create a process that you follow consistently every year. This helps your managers to understand how training offered relate to what is needed. It also helps them to be able to provide the needed  input  easier and faster if the process and tools/templates stay the same.
  • Be clear with managers which part of the training costs would be booked to their budgets. For example – where do employees charge their time when they are in a training class? To your budget or to their manager’s budget?
  • Ask yourself how much training does it make sense to provide internally vs using an external vendor. Some topics are very basic and can arguably be offered internally but do you really think it is the best use of your time to try and be a credible facilitator for every training needs topic that comes out of your annual analysis as a need?
  • Determining the training offerings for the following year should also include a good review of the evaluations that you have collected from course participants this year. Are your current training classes good enough or do they need to be improved or outsourced?