Helping Staff Bloom: “Onboarding” New Employees

A former colleague of mine vented recently about how tough it is for new employees when the manager is too busy to help. As she put it, “One of the biggest beefs that I have as an employee at my current organization, and several I have worked for in the past, is that there is essentially no process for onboarding and training new employees.”

You have just hired a terrific new employee and you want him to build a social media presence for your non-profit. Or maybe she is building the foundation for a huge capital campaign. You breathe a huge sigh of relief because your new employee has experience, talent, and energy. Your part is done, right? Yet just because I am qualified to do the work required in my new position, doesn’t mean I know who to call when the copier is down, or where the printer paper is kept! I don’t even know yet what questions to ask!

There are five areas that it is important for me to find out about if I am that new employee. And– no coincidence–these same five areas are important if I am bringing a new staff person on board! I present them in the form of a checklist:

  • Office Set up (Communications)
  • Office Space Layout (Organization)
  • Meetings
  • Managing
  • Personal

I’d love your feedback: What is on your list?

New Employee Checklist 1: Office Set up

Some of these are more or less important given the role of the new employee. Managers and professional staff have needs that are different from administrative or technical staff. Make your list fit your needs!

______Does my phone have caller ID? (nice to know who is calling!)

______Do I have a private line? (this is important as a potential source of embarrassment)

______Is my phone mail greeting set up? (also embarrassing to have someone else’s old message on your phone!)

______Do I have a directory of frequently called numbers with contact names? (what is the boss’s number, anyway?)

______Have I changed/updated my email signature? (This is another frequent one after the promotion)!

______Do I have my copy codes and long-distance access codes? (working late or on the weekend and no one to ask?)

______Have I been given appropriate access to the organization’s information system? (so annoying to not have access to your email and calendar!)

______Have business cards been ordered? (you may have to represent the organization to external audiences—or in a large organization, you may need them at your first meeting!)

______Do I have access to letterhead stationery, both paper and electronic? (you want to present yourself professionally!)

______ What keys do I have and what do they open? (maybe the elevator is locked between 6pm and 8 am?)

Yes, these might seem pretty banal–until you are locked in on the 7th floor! I’d love to know what your list would look like!

Next time, I’ll write about #2: Office Space Layout (Organization)