Having new employees join your staff should be an energizing time. New staff members bring fresh ideas, different experiences, new perspectives on processes and personalities that will hopefully easily integrate into the organization. A time consuming but necessary part of welcoming new employees is making sure they are educated, trained and made aware of how your organization operates.
The ASAE Handbook of Professional Practices in Association Management defines onboarding as a process that “exposes [the] new employee to the skills, knowledge and behaviors that will help him or her acclimate to the new organization and serves as the foundation for understanding the values that shape the organization’s culture and its mission.”
Below are a few tips that have helped my organization, Sigma Kappa Sorority, train new staff members and quickly bring them up to speed on our culture, environment and expectations.
- Create an onboarding/training agenda template to be used for all new hires. The agenda will need to be updated with specific roles and responsibilities but it’s nice to have a framework to go off of to ensure everyone is trained on the basics of the organization. I have found this helps to get everyone started with the same basic information and expectations.
- Expectations should be given to current staff members on what they are to train the new staff member on. Onboarding and welcoming a new staff member is the responsibility of the entire staff, not just those in leadership/HR roles.
- The onboarding agenda should include a short meeting with each of the team directors. The team/director should give a brief explanation of the role of the team and how they will work with the new staff member.
- Create written policies and procedures for all staff to utilize. These are not only beneficial to new staff members but are always nice to refer to for those projects that only come up a few times a year.
- Schedule regular check-ins with the new staff member. This may be quick daily touch-points for the first week or so, and then you could move to weekly, and eventually regularly, scheduled meeting times.
If you do onboarding well in the first few months, it will make your job and your new hire’s much easier as time goes.
Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D. mentions in her publication “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success” that “research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.” Although time consuming, it’s best to invest the bulk of time to onboarding when a staff member is first hired so he or she can quickly become a contributing member of your team.
The 10 Commandments of Employee Onboarding is also a great resource for information on onboarding your staff and the first 90 days.