EKU's New Employee Orientation (NEO) process for new staff employees provides just-in-time onboarding activities that are coordinated and delivered by the Human Resources office. The HR NEO completes the employment process and introduces a broad view of the University with emphasis on mission, structure, core values and policy & procedure.
Providing an effective orientation process at the departmental (or work unit) level is a critical step in the successful onboarding of new employees. Department-level orientation activities should further support the orientation goals of creating a welcoming environment, building positive working relationships and providing information on policies, procedures and benefits.
Keys to Successful Onboarding
Effective departmental orientation supplements HR's Orientation with activities that are more specific to the employee’s job and helps the employee bridge the connection between the mission of university and team and individual performance.
The Onboarding Checklist provides specific activities to create an optimal work environment for the new employee through preparation before the employee's first day; provide understanding of roles & responsibilities and create a welcoming environment on the first day of work; and continue to define, clarify and reinforce priorities for employee success during the employee's first weeks.
Key elements to successful departmental onboarding include:
- Direct involvement of the Manager/Supervisor in the orientation
- Assigning short-term goals for the first 90 days, with long-term Performance Planning at 90 days
- Arranging early successes with several critical, achievable objectives (developing critical work relationships, demonstrating decisiveness, delivering on a short-term outcome, etc.)
- Base performance expectations on the job description
- Allow employee time to learn, study and plan for assuming responsibilities
- Assigning an effective peer coach/mentor for the employee from the start
- Identify and address any peer resentment (bypassed employees, etc.)
- Provide support without removing responsibility
- How department fits into University functions
- What department contributes to University mission
- Clarify department and/or office-specific policies & procedures
- Functional & professional standards
Work Team/Peer Factors
- Planned integration into the team
- Formal & informal introductions to peers
- Team/peers involve employee in meetings and events
- Anticipating & addressing jealous/resentful/undermining peer behaviors
Individual Performance Factors
- Job Responsibilities & Standards - clarify job duties and expectations, including any work rules
- Performance coaching and feedback
- Performance evaluation - how performance is to be measured, evaluated and rewarded
- Professional Development including expectations regarding knowledge and skill acquisition & providing access to new skills, challenges and learning
Climate & "White Space" Management
- Provide honest and realistic view of the work environment, including plans to improve - employees will discover this on their own anyway
- Communicate expectation that employee has role and stake in climate
- Management of informal politics
- Managing work relationships within formal expectations