Onboarding New Employees

Having a system in place to orient new employees does several important things for your business. First, it ensures each employee hears the important information and completes all the necessary forms. This saves you from problems down the road when an important form is missing or some important policy does not get communicated. Second, having a system in place saves you from having to reinvent the wheel each time a new employee comes onboard—a checklist will save you time and give your business a professional, organized feel. Finally, in the event that you are unable to do the orientation yourself, having a system in place will help someone else step into your shoes and get the job done. 

Below are topics to include in your checklist for new employee orientation. You can scroll through the list below or download the "Sample Checklist for New Employee Orientation" pdf.

Initial welcome

____        Introductions to supervisor(s) and key personnel

____        Clarification of the name the employee prefers to be known by

____        Brief history of your farm


General information and procedures

____        Reference document stating terms of employment, including the nature of the position (fixed term or at-will) and other company information

____        Location of restrooms, personal storage areas, bulletin boards, emergency supplies, and phones

____        Policy on personal cell phone use, company equipment, and facilities

____        Disciplinary, suggestion, and complaint procedures

____        Special policies or procedures that are unique to particular positions (ex. Rain policy for field crews)


Work time and pay

___           Work days and hours and variability of the schedule

___           Meal and break periods

___           Overtime requirements or options

____        Means of notification in case of changes

___           Call-in procedures when unable to show up for work when expected

___           Tardiness and absenteeism policy

___           Time card or time-keeping procedures

___           Paycheck distribution – where, where, how

___           What to do and who to ask about pay discrepancies

___           Starting pay rate, including any incentive wages or bonuses

___           Relation of future pay increases to merit, longevity, or other factors

___           Fringe benefits available

___           Procedures for use of vacation, sick or personal leave

___           Performance review and appraisal procedures


The job

___           Tour of farm operation and specific areas where employees will be working

___           Introduction to other crew members

___           Organizational structure and chain of command 

___           Systems, tools, and procedures

___           Job duties and scope

___           Relation of the employee’s job to the end product and consumers

___           Specific performance expectations and work standards

___           Product quality requirements

___           Any promotional opportunities and anticipated time to achieve them



___           All elements of the company injury and illness prevention program

___           Pesticide safety training and equipment as required 

___           Use and care of work equipment

___           Identification and location of workplace hazards

___           Use, storage, and disposal of solvents and hazardous chemicals

___           Use of personal protective equipment including clothes, footwear, respiratory, eye and hearing protection.

___           Symptoms of pesticide illness, heat stress, sunstroke and sun exposure

___           Lifting techniques and ergonomic best practices

___           Location and use of fire extinguishers and emergency procedures

___           Location of first-aid and medical supplies

___           How to report accidents and illness

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