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Mel Gravely

What is Your Organization’s Employee Onboarding Practice?

employee onboardingOnboarding 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 personnel. Generally, on-boarding encompasses activities from pre-program year through the end of the organizations first year.

Effective employee onboarding serves an important purpose in helping ensure that the new hire feels welcomed, comfortable, prepared, and supported. These feelings increase the new hire’s ability to make an impact within the organization, both immediately and over time. Finally, employee success leads to satisfaction and retention, which allows the organization to continue to meet its mission.

Preparing for a new hire’s start date is the first step. Start by completing an agenda for the employee’s first week on the job. Schedule times for the new hire to meet with key staff members. This is also a good time to assign a mentor or buddy to the new hire as an immediate resource for any questions, help him or her build a network, educate the new employee about resources, and give him or her key information about organizational culture and goals.

The first day of a new job can rattle the nerves of even the most experienced professional. The better prepared you are to welcome the new hire on his or her first day, the easier this transition will be for everyone. Schedule a particular staff member to be available to greet the new employee and give an office tour. During the office tour, introduce the new hire to all staff members as well as point out the copy machine, mail room, employee mailboxes, lunch room, and restrooms. Remember that new hires are asked to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time, so they will likely have questions about these things later.

After 90 days, have the supervisor provide formal feedback on the new hire’s performance and also solicit feedback from the employee. During this meeting, any issues of concern should be addressed and accomplishments noted. Allow employee onboarding to be an iterative process, one that evolves with your organization’s growth.

Although all of these steps require an investment of time and resources, it is an investment that will pay enormous dividends for your early learning program for years to come.

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