05 March 2014

Onboarding Begins Before Day One

By Elizabeth Borton

This week, we’re excited to announce the addition of a new project coordinator
to the Write On Target team, Brittney Lunsford. She is in the process of finishing
her bachelor’s degree from Wright State University, with a double major in HR management and business management and a minor in psychology (the latter
should come in handy when dealing with our group).

Adding a new team member is an important step in any organization. I have to
admit that I have not always done a great job of assisting new employees through the onboarding process. Unless you consider giving them a desk, some office supplies and a long list of client projects with a pat on the back to “go for it” as an onboarding process. But times change, organizations evolve and even old dogs like me can learn
a new trick or two. This time we’re doing it right.

Our Onboarding Checklist:

  • Provide information/paperwork in advance
    About two weeks prior to her first day, we gave Brittney all her “day one” paperwork so she could take her time filling it out and determine any questions
    in advance.
  • Prepare workspace and tools in advance
    Our IT guy came in a week prior to Brittney’s arrival to set up her computer,
    test email, etc. Our phone guy came in a few days prior to make sure her extension was set up properly. On the day before, her workspace was stocked with initial supplies.
  • Set a schedule for the first day
    The first day on a job can be overwhelming. We set up a schedule and assigned different employees to work with Brittney one-on-one to teach her the basics. She not only was introduced to our processes, but also got to spend some time with each of her new coworkers.
  • Create and follow a 90-day training plan
    We developed a 90-day training program based on our project coordinator job description. The key job skills were divided into three, 30-day increments. In this way, we’ll be able to help Brittney focus on learning one set of skills before moving on to the next (although there will be some overlap).
  • Schedule regular check-in meetings
    At the end of each 30-day increment in her training program, we will have a
    check-in meeting with Brittney to review her progress in learning that segment’s key skills. We’ll talk about what’s going well and what may need to be improved before moving on to the next segment. The check-in will also give Brittney an opportunity to let us know where we may be falling short on providing
    proper training.

Our onboarding checklist may not be perfect, but it’s a good starting point. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all works out for Brittney and getting her feedback for future hires as we continue to grow. As with all HR systems, it’s a work in progress.