Managing an Effective Departmental Onboarding
Do you remember your first day on the job? Were you confident or anxious? Were you introduced to others with whom you would be working? Did you feel welcomed and informed? Did you feel you had all the information necessary to perform your job satisfactorily? Did you understand what was expected of you? Chances are you, like most new employees, had your impressions and perceptions about your work, your colleagues and Rice formed by your early experiences.
Most employees begin their new job feeling a bit anxious. They worry about how their supervisor and colleagues will receive them, and they worry about measuring up to their new job duties and expectations. They have many questions about their work environment, university policies and procedures, benefits and services and the overall culture and climate of Rice.
Effectively onboarding new employees does take considerable time and effort, but the time invested will pay off in huge dividends for all. A positive transition can leave a lasting impression with a new employee for years to come, but negative impressions brought about by bad experiences with colleagues, unclear expectations and an unpleasant work environment are next to impossible to undo.
Additionally, employees tend to establish either good or bad patterns early in their employment. Once bad work habits or unacceptable job performance are tolerated or become ingrained, they are hard to change. Rice’s onboarding process and other resources can help with the transition, but steering employees onto desirable paths is the primary responsibility of the supervisors and managers.
You may view our Sample Departmental Check List for New Hires here.
- Creates a favorable impression of Rice and the employee’s department.
- Introduces the employee to departmental/school/division goals, policies, procedures and protocols.
- Conveys the supervisor’s or manager’s expectations.
- Assists employees in developing quality working relationships with colleagues, managers, students, and faculty.
- Addresses the anxieties and uncertainties of the new employee’s experience in the early stages of employment.
- Provides employees access to information and resources necessary to ease their transition into the department.
- After the job offer has been extended by HR and accepted, give the employee a warm welcome by phone. Verify the employee’s actual start date, explain the hiring process and remind the employee to bring his/her offer letter and the documents noted in the letter with him/her on the first day of work.
- Complete and end the approved Personnel Action Form (PAF) to HR (MS 92 or 26th floor, Suite 2600 of the Memorial Herman Medical Plaza at 6400 Fannin) in a timely and accurate manner so that the employee can be setup as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Identify the employee’s working space, necessary office supplies and computer needs, telephone, etc.
- Send or escort the new employee to HR (26th floor, Suite 2600 of the Memorial Herman Medical Plaza at 6400 Fannin) to complete new hire forms and receive information on benefits if benefits eligible.
- All employees (faculty and staff) must come to HR on or before their first day of work!
- Meet with the employee (even better, take them to lunch!).
- Give a brief overview of the structure and goals of the unit or department.
- Give the employee a copy of their job description.
- Give the employee a copy of the campus map (also available online).
- Discuss relevant office policies and procedures (work hours, lunch breaks, pay check procedures, requests for time off, or calling in for an emergency absence, etc.)
- Give the employee a tour of the facilities (include restrooms and break rooms).
- Introduce the employee to colleagues, key managers/supervisors, and any other individuals with which they will be working.
- Assign the new employee a work “buddy” or someone who can serve as a point of contact.
- Continue to “check in” with your new employee and see how they are doing.
- Provide consistent feedback about work duties and be available for questions and concerns.
- Openly praise and/or reward good work performance as applicable.
- Work with the employee to identify any development needs.