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Workforce Management

Why you Need an HR Process Checklist (Template Included)

Get Free HR Process Checklist

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One Minute Takeaway

  • With increased workloads for HR leaders, checklists ensure essential tasks are completed
  • Checklists can help other departments understand what’s required to complete certain HR processes
  • Spend time building a checklist that makes it easier to complete crucial tasks in a logical order 

With the job market heating up, it’s a busy time for HR professionals. You’ve got new hires to train, resignations to figure out and let’s not forget to mention all the various new pandemic back-to-work processes to manage. And, the work is essential for business. Many of the routine tasks HR professionals do each day are essential to complying with federal, state and local laws, and to ensure the overall satisfaction of employees across the organization.

It’s clear that you’re facing a huge volume of work, but the good news is that there are tools that can help. For instance, using checklists can help you manage tasks, delegate work and make processes more efficient. 

Why have a checklist for HR processes? 

HR leaders who have spent years in similar roles may have a checklist in their head or written on a Post-it note on their desk. But as companies grow and add additional HR staff, or as processes change, a written checklist can provide a consistent experience from employee to employee, reducing the mental load on HR leaders. Having a checklist ensures every employee moves through the same steps regardless of which HR person goes through the process. A checklist also makes it easier to execute HR processes, creating a workflow to make sure steps are completed in the necessary order. 

For colleagues outside of HR, a checklist can offer some details on steps that need to be completed before an action is completed. For example, a hiring manager might want a new hire to start immediately but isn’t aware of the onboarding steps required. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, an HR checklist can ensure your company complies with applicable laws, with all required forms and documentation completed and filed. The checklist also can provide a record of steps being completed for future reference. 

Building a better HR process

As you start to build a checklist, consider how it will be used. Is it a linear process where one item needs to happen before the next or is it a list of things that can be completed in any order? Once this is determined, the next step is to simply think of every item that should be covered in the checklist. Work with your team to do a “brain dump” of tasks and get them captured. Make this list comprehensive without worrying about what order the tasks fall. Once you’ve completed the exercise, it’s time to organize your checklist. Here are some tips: 

  • Split up large projects into component tasks. For example, if part of the new hire process is reading and signing acknowledgments about company policies, make each of those documents an item on the checklist. 
  • If your checklist needs to be completed in a particular order, you (obviously) should organize your list in that fashion. If the order isn’t important but some tasks should take priority, note that. For instance, if it takes up to three days to get a pre-employment screening completed, put that toward the top of the list to get that moving while other tasks on the checklist are completed. 
  • Put tasks and subtasks into logical groupings and have a logical flow to items makes it easier to work through a list. For example, if items A, B, and C need to be downloaded from the HR server and printed before a new hire starts, have those items together. 
  • Add a person or department responsible for each task when applicable. For example, your corporate communication department may be responsible for doing a new-hire announcement on your intranet as part of onboarding. 

Finally, make sure the checklist is documented. In a pinch, you can save it in a paper file along with other employee records. Ideally, it’s securely recorded through HR software. However you do it, the goal is to have documentation in place that gets everyone on the same page and accountable.

What should be on an HR checklist?

Checklists can outline key HR processes, including:

  • Open positions (how to request and fill an open or new position)
  • Onboarding new employees (identifying paperwork that needs to be completed) 
  • Offboarding/exit interview process
  • Annual benefits enrollment
  • Workplace culture activities 
  • Timesheet setup and workflows
  • Ongoing training activities
  • Performance review processes
  • Vacation/PTO/leave approval
  • Corporate travel approval
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Annual salary increases or bonuses

Sample Checklist for Human Resources Teams

Check out our sample checklist. It’s got everything you need to get started and can be customized as needed. Fill out the form at the top of the page to get your free download.