Whether you’re onboarding a new team member or ensuring your existing staffers are up to speed, employee training and development is crucial. But it can also be time-consuming to ensure everyone is getting what they need. In those situations, a training checklist can be a helpful part of your training material repertoire.
And, to be clear, employee training isn’t optional: 76% of workers say they are more likely to stay with a company that provides regular training and development opportunities. Learn more about training checklists and how to ensure they’re engaging (and not boring).
Click to jump ahead:
- What is a training checklist?
- Why is a training checklist important?
- How do you prepare a training checklist?
- How do I create a training schedule for a new employee?
What is a training checklist?
Like any checklist, a training checklist is something businesses can use to ensure no step in a training and development process has been skipped. They are most often used during the onboarding process, a time when HR departments have to gather and process a huge amount of paperwork and new hires are expected to learn a great deal of information in a brief period.
This new employee training checklist, for example, illustrates the wide scope of onboarding and where checklists can have an impact. While the new person won’t get everything they need from the checklist alone, it’s an ideal way to ensure nothing falls through the cracks during the learning and development process.
Plus, the engaging illustration style and bright colors make it visually appealing.
Starting new team members off on the right foot is critical; one survey showed that 69% of people were likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they had a great onboarding experience. (Here are some materials specifically for onboarding.)
That’s not to say the onboarding process is the only place where you can use a training checklist.
This leadership readiness checklist, for example, can help diagnose the training needs of employees. In this case, the tool was designed to assess leadership potential, but it can easily be updated to apply to specific skills, technological competencies or other areas important to your business.
Here’s another non-boring checklist you can easily customize for training and development purposes.
Why is a training checklist important?
The biggest reason to use training checklists for your business is that we’re all human — we forget things, even when they’re important. And given the complexity of the orientation and training and development process, it’s unrealistic to expect anybody — employees, managers, HR and training leaders — to remember everything.
But that’s not the only reason training checklists are important:
- Compliance: Training checklists can help ensure compliance with internal HR policies and possibly with legal requirements. Be sure to check with your compliance team when creating any training checklist).
- Performance evaluation: If you want to assess whether everyone on the team is up to speed on specific processes, a training checklist can help you make sense of the complicated business of performance reviews. (Learn more about creating standard operating procedure checklists.)
- Consideration for raises & promotions: A checklist like the one I shared earlier about leadership potential can help you make difficult decisions about which team members should be elevated to higher positions or are deserving of pay bumps. (Looking to ensure your team’s skills are where they need to be? Check out these job aids.)
How do you prepare a training checklist?
All training checklists are different, but here are some tips to help ease the process for your team:
Keep it brief
Checklists are meant to make processes easier rather than more complicated, so the most important thing about a checklist is that it’s simple. You should dispense with long bits of text and reduce copy to the very most important elements.
Remember that checklists don’t exist in a vacuum; you’re also (probably) providing hands-on, in-person training so you can shorthand things to an extent. For example, it’s not necessary for a new-hire checklist to list out every single computer program they’ll use; consider a general training checklist like this that is best used as a reminder rather than a step-by-step training guide.
Keep it relevant
Depending on the reason for the checklist, consider being either very specific or very broad. That could mean creating multiple checklists for the same job, say, if you have some folks who will work in the office and some who will work from home.
This virtual HR onboarding checklist, for example, will be absent certain items that may be necessary for people working in a physical office, including keys or keycards.
Keep it organized
In some cases, a long list of actions is appropriate, but given that most of the uses for training checklists will involve cross-functional teams to an extent, it’s helpful to organize actions by area or department.
Take this HR compliance checklist, for example, which groups items into areas of the hiring and onboarding process. This could also work as a training checklist for existing employees by changing the category headings to, say, describe the types of trainings people will receive.
Keep it interactive
Nobody wants to feel like they’re cattle, and development opportunities that don’t feel personal aren’t likely to generate the results you want. So, where appropriate, make sure your training checklists allow for personalization, whether in the items listed or in how the checklist itself is organized.
This training assessment checklist is an excellent example of taking the checklist format and turning it on its head. Instead of just checking off boxes like a robot, this checklist allows the person to note two metrics about each task they perform.
I would consider something like this if I wanted to understand where my team members feel they are most in need of additional training.
Keep it engaging
While, yes, you can create a training checklist in Excel or on a sheet of paper by hand, let’s face it, those options aren’t exactly visually appealing. The good news is that with Venngage for Business, you can quickly and easily create training checklists that are anything but basic and boring.
Without the graphic elements on the left side of the page, this onboarding checklist template could look like any other document a new hire is sent. But by making it unique and eye-catching, it’s more likely those using it will remember to consult it and ensure all steps are done correctly.
How do I create a training schedule for a new employee?
Starting a new job is stressful, even in the best of situations. Providing a training schedule can keep a new hire from feeling overwhelmed.
Modify this training schedule template with your own dates and tasks once you know exactly how to create a training schedule for a new hire.
Here are some of my best tips when it comes to how to create a training schedule for a new employee:
Budget a day for the really boring stuff
Signing paperwork, making copies of IDs, logging into computers. These are not exactly the exciting things, but they are incredibly important. So I always assumed anybody’s first day on the job would consist mostly of these types of activities, and if your business has lots of layers of HR policies and compliance tasks, a day may not be enough.
Instead of tracking areas of training for a new person, update the headers in this HR onboarding checklist to list days of the week and tasks for each day.
Say I’m training a new team member in my social media department. I’m probably not going to throw them into the deep end of creating posts for social channels on their first day. But I’m also not going to be totally hands-off. Think about the most important job tasks this person will need to do and when it’s reasonable to expect them to be able to do so with minimal supervision, and then work backward, breaking those tasks in pieces over several days.
Use this calendar to determine the days when certain training tasks should be completed, and count back to the person’s first day to ensure those expectations are realistic.
Keep a loose structure
Outside of meetings that might need to be scheduled with specific people, allow your new hires to settle in on their own time. That means avoiding loading them up with task after task and rather giving them a loose structure of things that need to get done.
This weekly schedule template is ideal for bringing in new team members, as it allows for some boundaries and structure while not being overly regimented.
Keep the training and development process from becoming overwhelming with simple but effective checklists
Checklists are immediately recognizable, and their ubiquity makes them extremely useful in the training and onboarding process. With Venngage for Business, you can quickly and easily make one (or a dozen) of your own.