Leadership Insights 

Published in September 2018.

Leadership Insights is all about helping you to be the best leader you can be and therefore increase your team's engagement, productivity, and overall wellbeing. Each month we'll come to you with tips for developing your skills as someone who oversees the work of others, resources to help take your leadership to the next level, and expert advice.

Feature Insight

The Six Keys to Effective Onboarding

First impressions are made in 100 milliseconds. Translated to the professional arena: It only takes one-tenth of a second for a new faculty or staff member to make a judgment about their new workplace.

A good first impression, followed by more positive experiences, means a new employee is more likely to:

  • quickly learn new skills and knowledge and gain expertise that will help them contribute to your department's work
  • form a positive work attitude
  • retain their position at the University long-term
  • Ensuring a new employee gets started out right is the essence of the onboarding process.

Create an Onboarding Plan

Onboarding is more than filling out paperwork and meeting new colleagues. Onboarding is the process of transforming a new faculty or staff member into a fully functioning member of your team. When done effectively, it's a powerful employee engagement strategy that helps cultivate long-term relationships, promote an understanding of organizational culture, and foster a sense of belonging.

An effective onboarding plan can be broken down into six elements.

  1. Communication. Start making a good impression before the faculty or staff member's first day of work by sending a welcome email. Let them know that you're excited for their arrival and include information about their first day such as where to park, their work hours, and dress code.
  2. Resources. Gather the materials and resources the employee will need in order to be productive right away. This might include a desk or work area, computer and phone access, or other supplies like a notebook and pens. Check with your college's HR team for details and help finding these resources.
  3. Compliance. Make sure that your new employee is aware of the policies and procedures that all University employees follow, such as completing the I-9 form. Check out the policy library to determine which policies, procedures, and safety guidelines they need to know about. Be sure to check with your HR team if you have questions.
  4. Culture. Help your new employee learn about your department's culture and norms by talking with them about the college's strategic priorities and how their position can contribute. Also, introduce them to jargon terms and acronyms your colleagues use. You can even explain the dynamics of team or project meetings and office space norms. Making sure a new employee adjusts to your department's culture is more important than learning the job itself.
  5. Expectations. Clarify expectations about the new employee's role, performance, and development right away. Start by reviewing their job description and then create goals. Follow up with regular check-ins to help them succeed.
  6. Relationships. Think about the key partners your new employee will need to know. Then make introductions via email or in-person. Be sure to include the person's name, role, and how they can help the new employee.

LTD consultants have expertise in leadership development, engagement, and supervisory development. If you have questions about the onboarding process and helping new employees become productive members of your team, send us an email. We'll do our best to respond and may even feature it in the next newsletter. Here's this month's featured question:

How can we continue the onboarding process after the initial introductions and review of skills and work?

One of the most important ways to continue the onboarding process is to establish regular check-ins at least one per month. Ongoing check-ins are the key to on-the-job learning, which is the best way to improve and grow at work. After the first 90 days, most employees begin to feel like they know the scope of their job and can accomplish routine work with little supervision. During this time period, help them think about long-term contributions to your department and work with them to set goals that connect with the University's mission.