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Mel Gravely

Using Onboarding as an Effective Program Management Technique

onboarding program managementOnboarding is the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization. As Head Start makes adjustments with new Grantees and Delegate agencies, Onboarding is the perfect concept to use when introducing Head Start concepts to new organizations. Generally, on-boarding encompasses activities from pre-program year through the end of the organizations first year.

However, since Head Start believes in continuous improvement, we believe that this process will continue through the five year grant period. In this instance we will discuss training for new delegates for Pre-Service. Here are some important points that need to be covered when onboarding new delegate agencies:

Review and Grasp the Performance Standards and the Head Start Act:

To ensure that all programs are in compliance, the performance standards have to be in the forefront when introducing Head Start programming to new agencies. The most critical information program leaders need is found in the law that authorizes Head Start and the regulations and clarifications that explain how to implement the law. Understanding the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, the Head Start Program performance Standards (HSPPS), and associated fiscal management regulations provides your Head Start program with a foundation to identify and meet the expectations for strong program management. If training does not begin with these recommendations, continuation of Federal funding will be at risk.

Roles and Responsibilities between Grantee Agencies and Delegate Agencies:

Who is accountable to whom? How do we get our program trained? How do we stay on the same page? Open and honest communication is a fundamental theme when Onboarding new programs. This is the Grantees’ chance to build a new successful team. Sharing organizational structures and staffing patterns support an open door policy.

The strength of your Program Governance content area:

Program Governance systems include a governance structure, strong communications, and regular reporting that supports shared decision-making. Governance in Head Start is complex. Head Start programs have found that many governing bodies, especially those that are new to Head Start, find their oversight role to be challenging. Training in this area is essential for a strong system management.

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