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7 Action Items Your New-Hire Checklist May Be Missing

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It’s expensive and time consuming to hire someone, so you want to make sure your new hires stick around. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to welcome your new employees and give them a successful start to a long, productive career with your company. Consider making the guidelines in this blog part of your new employee checklist. If you don’t already have a new employee checklist, you can use the information below to start building one tailored to your company’s needs.

Paycom clients: If you have Document and Task Management, it’s easy to add any of the items below to your new-hire checklist and review completion rates. That way, you can ensure each new employee has a positive, consistent onboarding experience.

If you’re not a Paycom client, you can use this post to build your own checklist in a program like Microsoft Word or Excel. Keep in mind that if you take this approach, ensuring the checklist is used and completed for every new employee will be difficult.

1. Send a welcome letter to new employees.

A welcome letter to new employees helps them feel connected to your company from the beginning. An effective welcome letter should include:

  • confirmed start date, including where to show up and who to report to on the first day
  • information about parking, dress code, which entrance to use and other logistical information
  • outline of the first day’s activities, like completing HR documents, orientation, group training or an introduction to other employees
  • guidance on lunch: whether new hires can expect to spend it with their team, with their supervisor or on their own, and whether it will be on- or off-site


2. Send new-hire forms to new employees before their first day.

You may want to send HR documents, like Forms I-9 and W-2, to new hires to complete before they start. This is “preboarding,” and it can be an effective way to help new hires start work earlier on their first day, especially if you have the technology to send and receive these documents quickly and securely. Do note that time spent preboarding must be tracked and compensated.

If you’re considering adding this step to your new-hire checklist, it’s critical you have processes in place – or the right technology – to ensure the confidential and timely exchange of new hire documents. Additionally, new hires should have a way to track the time they spend preboarding accurately.

3. Block out time for a meet and greet.

Once new hires are on site, make them feel like valued members of the team. Have an employee greet new team members at the entrance on their first day. Help them connect with other new hires through introductions or even a group orientation, depending on the size of your organization.

4. Ask managers to assign tasks.

Make sure your managers offer their new hires’ practical, manageable assignments that can be completed on their first day. That allows them to start feeling like contributing team members sooner. Managers also should have a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan prepared for their new team members, so they know what’s expected of them and what success looks like in their new role.

When managers prepare these 30-, 60- and 90-day plans, they should have in mind some of the questions they will use when they check in with employees in the first several months of employment. Here are examples of questions your managers could ask at each stage:

Day one:

  • How did everything go today?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Is there anything you have any worries or concerns about?
  • Any concerns for the future?

30 days in:

  • Is the job/team/company what you expected?
  • Do you have enough, too much or too little time to do your work?

60 days in:

  • What’s been going well? What are the highlights of your experiences so far? Why?
  • How do you see your job relating to the organization’s mission?

90 days in:

  • What’s the biggest difference between what you thought the job was like and what it’s really like?
  • Is there anything about your role, the team or company that is still unclear?

While these check-ins aren’t technically a part of the new-hire checklist, they are a crucial part of increasing employee retention and engagement, during the time new hires might still be on the fence about staying with your company.

Retention Statistic Aberdeen Group

5. Show new hires around their new space.

Give them a tour of the company and their new department, including where they can find:

  • break rooms
  • restrooms
  • supplies
  • the cafeteria, lunch rooms or nearby restaurants where they can eat lunch
  • other key locations like a lounge, gym or frequently used conference room

Before a new hire walks in the door, ensure his or her workspace is clean and has everything he or she will need to do his or her job well. Depending on the new hire’s position, this may include:

  • phone
  • office supplies
  • computer (including keyboard and mouse)
  • tools
  • safety gear (if applicable)

Check that any software required for the new employee’s job is already installed, and consider placing a directory or list of employees and extension numbers near their phone.

One way to make new employees feel especially welcome is to include a welcome gift with company-branded items, new supplies, snacks or even small gifts that help new hires get familiar with your company culture.

6. Help new employees connect to their team.

Send a new-employee introduction announcement to the rest of the company or department before a new hire begins. Share details about their experience, new role and personal information if it fits with your company culture.

But don’t limit the introduction to email. Follow up in person by introducing the new hire to their team. Take time to mention the new person’s strengths and what he or she will bring to the company. Give the new hire guidance on who he or she can ask for help regarding specific issues.

7. Help your new hire get acclimated to the company culture.

Because culture is the unwritten code that influences the way the team, department and company makes decisions large and small, giving new hires a quick cultural overview can help them feel more confident sooner.

Plan a group activity, or encourage your new hire’s manager to do so. A team lunch, coffee break or happy hour can provide valuable time for informal connection with new co-workers.

Consider assigning a “buddy” or having the new person shadow a more experienced employee. If your new hire is shadowing someone, give that employee advance notice. This will allow him or her time to prepare the day’s tasks based on what the new hire will need to learn.

Talk to new hires about how their work matters to the organization. This helps give them a sense of purpose as they start their new job. If possible, have others in the same position share stories of success or the business impact they’ve seen in their roles. Depending on your company, you or the new hire’s manager may do this. Either way, helping your new hire make this connection can help them feel like an important part of the team from the beginning.

Retention starts early

The cost of replacing employees - Bersin

Following these guidelines when you create your new-hire checklist – or adding them to your existing checklist – can help ensure new hires experience a first day that makes them excited to work for your company for the long haul.

For more guidance on how your onboarding activities can contribute to increased retention, download our executive summary, “Why Retaining Great Employees Starts With Onboarding.”

To learn more about Paycom’s Document and Task Management software, request a demo.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


by Lauren Rogers

Author Bio: As a communications specialist at Paycom, Lauren Rogers keeps employees abreast of company news and events, and provides insight to industry leaders regarding issues affecting human capital management. With experience in marketing and communications, Lauren has written blogs and other materials for a variety of businesses and nonprofits. Outside the office, she enjoys gardening, testing new recipes and sipping something caffeinated with her nose in a book.

NCAA Tournament

Swish! 5 Talent Lessons I’ve Already Learned From the NCAA Tournament This March

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If you’re like me, you’re involved in the NCAA Tournament in some form or fashion. If you’re not actively watching the games, you are connected to the spectacle in one of two ways:

You filled out a bracket.

It’s team-building 101 in many organizations and goes something like this:

  • You complete your bracket.
  • It gets busted in the first weekend (meaning you have no chance to win after the first two rounds).
  • Then the inevitable happens: Someone with zero knowledge of basketball leads your office pool and just gives you a shrug when you ask about their secret. (Their secret, by the way, is that they don’t overestimate their knowledge of college basketball.)


You connected to the tournament via the inevitable Cinderella story.

This year’s Cinderella stories in are many, but none are better than history’s first No. 16 seed, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, knocking off a No. 1 seed, University of Virginia. If you didn’t hear about that upset, chances are you live under a rock and consume no media whatsoever. The upset was so perfect that Final Four legend turned color commentator Chris Weber noted that UMBC could stand for “U Must Be Cinderella.” Corny? Yes. Perfect? Also yes.

Swish! 8 Engagement Strategies to Drive Game Winning Performance, a bracketology webinar for management styles! 

Watercooler chat about basketball is hard to avoid in the month of March, and it’s also hard for HR pros like me to avoid turning it into a learning opportunity. With that in mind, here are five talent lessons I learned from the first weekend of The Big Dance:

1. Uniqueness wins because it’s hard to prepare for.

Whether it’s hoops or business, being different from others means you’re hard to prepare for. Syracuse deploys a defensive scheme called the 2-3 zone, while most other schools use a man-to-man approach. That means they are hard to prepare for, which was key when knocking off one of the tourney favorites, Michigan State. When you have a strategic plan that’s different than your competitors and the talent to pull it off, your organization will get unexpected wins – simply because you look and feel different from others.

2. Conservative approaches decrease your margin for error.

UMBC’s aforementioned upset of Virginia is a great example of this truth. The UMBC Retrievers play a conservative style on both offense and defense; they aren’t incredibly talented, but they execute their base strategy very well. That conservative approach wins a lot, but in a “lose one game and you’re out” type of environment, it can be deadly. The other team gets hot, and suddenly, you’re out.

The moral of the story? Even if you have a great team, never stop trying to upgrade the talent you have. Conservative approaches in basketball (the “grinding out wins” mentality) are used because they are the best way to win with average talent. The same thing is true in business.

3. Great individual talent can overcome huge disadvantages in company size and resources.

If you ever find yourself going up against Microsoft, Google or whoever the 800-pound gorilla is in your industry, never forget that a key hire with high talent can help you win more than your share, regardless of the product or service you’re providing. This is shown to be true time and time again in this month’s tournament. Whether it’s UMBC beating Virginia, or Buffalo taking down Arizona, once you step onto the court, only five players can play. Get yourself some great talent and unbelievable things can happen.

4. Matchups matter a lot – whether you’re competing on the court or responding to an RFP.

Every project, implementation or sales pitch is different. The most successful companies have managers who know how to get the most out of human capital – and tweak their approach based on the client or prospect in front of them. The most successful coaches do the same thing: Create new plans for each game, based on the challenges that are presented.

5. Great leadership is easy when you win, but more valuable when you lose.

It’s easy to look great as a coach when you win. But take a look at this compelling video of Virginia coach Tony Bennett after the UMBC loss. Being able to console your team members and show them the way forward after a crushing defeat, layoff or other negative event is key. Bennett does this with grace, which means he’s teaching and supporting in a way that transcends the game at hand. Your best managers do the same.

Every year, I’m reminded how much commonality there is between the NCAA Tourney and our lives as talent professionals.

I just wish my bracket weren’t busted after the first weekend.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

by Kris Dunn

Author Bio: Kris Dunn is a partner and CHRO at the Atlanta-based Kinetix, a national recruitment process outsourcing firm for growth companies. He is the founder of two industry-leading blogs – Fistful of Talent and The HR Capitalist – and has written more than 70 feature columns for Workforce Management magazine. He previously served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular.

How to Build a Harassment-Free Workplace Culture

How to Build a Harassment-Free Workplace Culture

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Sexual harassment quickly can deteriorate – and even derail – any organization, making anti-harassment training vital. However, most companies address the issue with employees by pushing training that is routine, which is often ineffective on its own. Effective prevention of harassment in the workplace starts with creating a culture that identifies and rejects unacceptable behaviors.

Although an HR department’s role is primarily to protect the interests of the company, adopting policies and procedures for harassment and discrimination can help align the interest of both the organization and its employees. What steps can businesses take to balance both interests?

Accountability from the top down

Workplace culture is the reflection of an organization’s values, behaviors and attitudes. A healthy culture is critical to attracting top talent, driving employee engagement and retention and improving performance.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s June 2016 report, “Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace,” leaders can take several steps to improve workplace culture surrounding harassment:

  1. Emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion. Harassment prevention based solely on a compliance mindset is unlikely to be successful.
  2. Conduct surveys to determine whether employees experience harassment in the workplace. The results should determine whether employees feel harassment – if it exists – is tolerated.
  3. Implement effective policies and procedures, then conduct trainings on them.
  4. Support the policies, procedures and training with resources, whether time or money. There is no better way to convey to employees that efforts are authentic and credible than by dedicating sufficient company resources.
  5. Vest any department, team or task force charged with creating and maintaining a harassment-free workplace with the authority to make decisions.


Training that does not simply check a box

A healthy culture of equality starts with the tone from leadership. Organizational leadership must take an active role in defining acceptable workplace behavior, ensuring these behaviors are part of the company’s stated values, and investing in programs to promote a positive environment.

Although most people could identify blatant harassment such as “quid pro quo” – that is, offering to give an employee something in return for the employee’s satisfaction of a sexual demand – not all forms of harassment are universally recognized.

Anywhere from 25% to 85% of men and women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the EEOC. The wide divergence in the percentage is due, in part, to a knowledge gap of what actually constitutes sex-based harassment. When asked whether they have experienced unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion at work, the percentage of women claiming harassment was much lower. However, when explained that sex-based harassment includes “gender harassment,” which are hostile behaviors without sexual interest, the percentage increased dramatically. Gender harassment differs from unwanted sexual advances in that the behavior aims to insult and reject a person based on gender stereotypes.

To create an environment free of harassment, employees throughout the organization must understand clearly conduct that is acceptable and that is not. Implementing interactive training on reporting procedures, unacceptable conduct and, more importantly, applying policies consistently – regardless of position within the organization – can dramatically improve culture.

A compelling business case

Put simply, employers should invest in preventing harassment not only because it is wrong, but because they have a legal obligation to do so. However, a deeper dive reveals organizations have an incentive beyond moral and legal to mitigate harassment: a financial one.

The direct costs to an organization are staggering. According to the EEOC, since 2010, employers have paid $698.7 million to employees alleging harassment through the agency’s administrative enforcement pre-litigation process. If a claim advances to litigation, the impact tends to grow even more substantial; for example, according to eBossWatch’s review of all harassment litigation in 2012, employers paid more than $356 million for workplace harassment complaints.

Although less measureable, the indirect costs can be considerable. Reports of pervasive sexual misconduct within high-profile organizations have dominated the headlines for months. Allowing – or in some cases, encouraging – a culture of harassment and discrimination has caused substantial reputational damage to those organizations.

More importantly, the human toll is significant. Employees subject to a hostile work environment can experience mental and physical harm. Depression, anxiety, chronic headaches and sleep, respiratory and cardiovascular problems have been linked to those experiencing harassment. When employees experience these conditions, companies suffer from decreased productivity and increased turnover.

When organizational leadership prioritizes creating a harassment-free workplace culture by emphasizing values of diversity and inclusion, implementing effective training, allocating sufficient resources and applying policies and procedures consistently, the interests of the company begin to align with those of its employees.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Matthew Paque

by Matthew Paque

Author Bio: Matthew A. Paque is Paycom’s Director of Legal and Compliance. In this role, he is responsible for Paycom’s legal affairs including compliance and risk management. He has served in a variety of leadership and legal positions in both the private sector and in government. Before joining Paycom, Paque was an attorney at the law firm of McAfee & Taft and previously was Assistant General Counsel at Tronox a global mining and chemical company. He holds a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. from Oklahoma City University. Paque is also an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.

Unconscious Bias

3 Steps to Prevent Unconscious Bias in the Interview Process

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You do it. I do it. We all do it.

No, I’m not talking about converting oxygen into carbon dioxide – although you may need to take a deep breath before reading further. I’m talking about that unquestionably human habit of prejudging someone or something, whether in a positive or negative light.

That little prejudge is known as unconscious bias. Most people harbor some bias, although they may not realize it. For employers, unconscious bias can cause big trouble if interviewers unfairly favor or dismiss a candidate during the hiring process.

According to Harvard Business Review, when interviewers without standardized questions are left to decide which candidate to hire, their decisions tend to be subjective and unconsciously influenced by fixed thoughts on race, gender and ethnicity. Considering the strict regulations set forth by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), interviewers can get into hot water quickly, without even realizing they’re doing something wrong.

Discover How to Hire a Diverse, Inclusive and Effective Team 

To help avoid risk, empower your hiring managers to follow these three steps.

Introduce performance-based questions

As the great equalizers, performance-based questions center on what employees must do to be successful in their roles. This includes questions to assess how they have addressed challenges in other roles, and hypothetical questions to judge how candidates would approach the challenges your company faces. The trick is to ask each candidate the same questions so you have a fair assessment.

If you’re wondering what a performance-based question sounds like, here’s an example: “Thinking about a time in which a project didn’t go as planned, what actions did you take to correct it as quickly as possible?”

Measure applicants’ answers

Performance-based questions are worth nothing unless you have a system to compare applicants’ answers. Next, you’ll want to compare their responses with something called a standardized rubric. Using a rubric means everyone involved in the hiring process agrees on what the important questions are and what an excellent answer would be. Without it, comparisons simply are not apples-to-apples. You easily can create a rubric by asking those who already perform the role what success looks like.

Train your staff

Finally, train your staff to recognize and counter biases during the hiring process. This is especially important when multiple interviewers screen for an open position. Make sure everyone knows to take good notes so they can compare candidates’ answers with the rubric. It’s important that everyone involved is on the same page, especially with which elements indicate future success.

Eliminating unconscious bias in the interview process is hard, especially when multiple parties are involved. That’s why it’s critical to factor performance-based questions into the equation, making it much easier to focus on candidates who possess the right skill set for the position at hand.

Learn more by downloading our free e-book, Discover What Your Front-Line Managers Need to Know About Hiring, Diversity Inclusion and EEOC Compliance.

Related articles:

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Monica Johnson

by Monica Johnson

Author Bio: As Paycom’s client marketing specialist, Monica Johnson utilizes a mixture of marketing and human capital management knowledge gained from years of industry experience. A graduate from the University of Central Oklahoma, Johnson has been with Paycom since 2013 and has served in numerous roles during her career with the company. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, exploring Oklahoma City and sipping coffee, while reading a good book, at one of her favorite local shops.


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