Making the Case for Meaningful Employee Onboarding
Moving from an event to an experience
The Brief Case 📚→💼→📈→📊
“Belonging helps us to be fully human. It gives us permission to share our talents and express our life force. It enables cooperation, collaboration, and the ability to work across difference. It emboldens our creativity and our problem solving abilities. When people feel like they belong, they are able to be their best and do their best.”
—Susie Wise, Design for Belonging: How to Build Inclusion and Collaboration in Your Communities
From the moment a new colleague is appointed, school leaders have an opportunity to seed the ground for that individual’s success by designing an inclusive and effective onboarding process.
For new faculty and staff, onboarding often begins with an orientation to the school’s physical and philosophical scope: a tour of buildings and grounds plus some intellectual engagement with the school’s mission and values. Additionally, new colleagues need to understand key school policies, to fulfill mandatory trainings, and to sit with a member of the business office to learn about the mechanics of payroll, retirement plans, benefits, and so on.
That’s just the beginning, or should be. Onboarding should only be considered complete when a new colleague is willing and able to share the full extent of their professional talent with a particular school in an ongoing, predictable, and sustainable way. In business terms, it should also ensure that they are willing to make a reasonably long term commitment to the school.
It is unlikely, of course, that movement from orientation to such flourishing and stability can take place in a mere few days. Onboarding should instead be considered at least a full-year process and ideally a two-year (or more) process.
Viewed in this light, it is an investment, for sure; as we will unpack, onboarding is also the protection of an investment.
📚 The Learning Case for Meaningful Employee Onboarding
Orientation is an event, easily checked off a list; onboarding, on the other hand, is a process, one that requires ongoing attention and management. Scholars have described onboarding as something that encompasses learning and adaptation,