Employee Onboarding


We have an obligation as leaders to grow and support our employees by all means possible.  We want a successful and engaged workforce.  We value engagement and achievement.


Setting employees up for success through an onboarding program will reap rewards for both the individual, department, and University as a whole.  Employees will have increased confidence and satisfaction in their work and departments will function more efficiently.


Onboarding is a formal process of welcoming and integrating an employee into an organization and their position, as well as, providing the employee with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed and reach productivity more quickly (Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton, 2008, p. 2).  Onboarding programs can be simple, clear, and focused programs.  Onboarding makes an effort to increase productivity and reduce turnover by improving employee confidence and engagement.  If successful, these outcomes should save the University money by preventing costs associated with overtime and employee turnover.


  1. Analyze staff training perception survey results by November 30th to determine if training is seen as a need by other staff members. Staff survey questions can be found here.
  2. Create high employee satisfaction and confidence in performing roles and responsibilities.
  3. Observe task productivity and proficiency, based on the timeline established for each task.  A task analysis can be found here.
  4. Retention of employee in position for at least three years.

Step-by-step Model

Check When CompletedOnboarding To-Do List  (A spreadsheet version can be found here)
After Hire but Before First Day:
·         Contact new employee to address any questions and set stage for day one
·         Have computer, phone, financial system account, network account, keys, and e-mail set up (this may involve the new hire signing some forms before day one
·         Ensure workspace is clean and ready for new employee
·         Try to have nameplate and business cards printed
·         Truman memento and/or apparel item for Purple Fridays
Day One:
·         Do something thoughtful and personal for new employee (welcome sign/note, flowers, etc.)
·         Introduce new employee to peers and other staff within the Business Office
·         Ensure employee has completed the necessary Human Resource forms, received parking sticker, and ID card, confidentiality agreement, etc. if not obtained before
·         Take new employee to lunch and/or have a “goody” day where coworkers bring treats
·         Discuss the University’s mission and vision and how the employee’s department and position supports mission and vision
·         If time permits, discuss roles and responsibilities timeline
Week One:
·         Continue roles and responsibilities discussion
·         Discuss employee’s preferred communication and learning styles; try to do a personality test, even if it is a less formal version of the MBTI, such as the test offered online through HumanMetrics.
·         Provide a copy of the employee’s performance review and work with employee to set some performance goals.  The performance appraisal form can be found here.
·         Provide a list of contacts the employee can reach out to with questions
·         Begin training through reading written materials and incorporating on-the-job training with practice and feedback; on-the-job training involves a coworker or supervisor demonstrating the task, allowing the employee to perform/practice the task, and the coworker or supervisor providing feedback to the employee regarding their performance; part of this training might need to include customer service training if employee has not been properly trained-supervisor will need to assess the level of customer service abilities.  Go to AP Staff website here.
·         Integrate periodic posttests with training
·         Request employee feedback at end of week one.  Sample employee feedback form here.
First Three Months:
·         Make any necessary adjustments based on feedback received at end of week one and subsequent feedback from employee
·         Employee continues training
·         Integrate periodic posttests with training.  Sample posttest for fund accounting training.
·         Supervisor provides frequent feedback to employee   Sample supervisor feedback form.
·         Conduct a performance appraisal at 90 days; if needed sooner, conduct appraisal at 30 days
Six Months
·         Continue, as needed, with the same procedures during first three months
·         Conduct employee performance at six months
Some to-do list ideas came from Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton (2008, p. 19).

Considerations and Suggestions for Success

Excuses-forget about them.  All of the steps are clear, simple, and realistic.  A primary reason people will offer for not implementing an onboarding program is they do not have enough time.  It’s better to make the time now and create a successful team rather than all parties being frustrated and having to take the time to hire someone and retrain a new employee due to employee turnover.  Be proactive, not reactive.

Training! Training! Training!  The importance of training cannot be overstated in this model.  Not just any training will work though.  The individual(s) selected to train the employee, preferably through formal and structured training such as on-the-job training, must understand how to train employees.  If possible, take a training course.  It will be well worth the time and investment.  The training method chosen should be tailored to meet the desired learning objectives and should ensure the employee is able to apply the training to their job.

Support the initiative.  Ensure that all parties involved support the onboarding program.  Remember to ask for the employee’s feedback and input.  They will likely appreciate being part of the process and have more invested in it.  It is important that supervisors encourage and motivate all of their other employees during this process, too, and create unity and understanding within the department.

90% of employees make their decision to stay or leave an employer within the first six months, but an onboarding program can make a 25% difference in employee retention and increase productivity by a couple months (Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton, 2008, p. 2-3)


Developing a road map for new employee success by utilizing a customized onboarding model should result in increased employee engagement, satisfaction, confidence, and hopefully, result in a decreased risk of turnover.  Planned and methodical training should also increase transfer of training and lead to more productive employees.

Future Areas of Opportunity and Growth

A well-rounded human resources model entails more than the onboarding model identified here.  An onboarding program is only successful if the right people are selected for positions.  There are several steps and techniques during the recruiting and hiring process that can be utilized to try to find the best fit for a position.  Beyond the hiring and onboarding processes, efforts should also be taken to implement knowledge management techniques, in order to preserve the tacit knowledge of current employees and assist future employees with their transition to new positions.  In addition, succession planning strategies should be considered to ensure a seamless continuation of operations as employees leave an organization.


HumanMetrics (2012). Jung Typology TestTM .

Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton (2008). Getting on Board: A Model for Integrating and Engaging New Employees.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (Why-How-What) to 8:15
Sinek, S. (2010, May 4). Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action. [Video file].