The first few days and weeks at a new job can lay the foundation for a positive work experience, with lasting effects on your employee’s engagement, retention, and productivity. “On-boarding” is an initiative aimed at creating a positive foundation for new employees as they enter into the organization and launch relationships with their managers and colleagues, and it is designed for the whole employee. Throughout this process, it is important to maintain awareness of the employee’s needs in the context of his/her new work environment. Here are some on-boarding steps that will help you to ensure that your new employee performs better, sooner, and is able to integrate into our unique culture and way of doing things at BWH.
This is the time for you to make preparations that will enable a smooth entry. Some items, such as arranging for equipment and systems access, require lead time; taking steps prior to the start date will help ensure that your new employee will have access to the resources, people, and information that will help him or her to be comfortable, stabilized, and productive as soon as possible.
Print this checklist for your reference.
Coordinate office, phone, computer and systems access. Verify that all equipment is in good working order and instructions and user manuals are handy and up to date.
Contact the new employee to make sure he/she knows where and when to report on the first day of work for New Employee Orientation and the exact location of his/ her office and department.
Clean the new employee’s work area and furnish it with the basic desk supplies. Include a printed list of Emergency and frequently-called phone numbers, including key departmental phone numbers (office, cell, and home). Prepare a welcome card, to be placed where the employee will see it, and ask department members to sign it.
Send out a department-wide announcement, as appropriate. It is good to include the new employee's start date, what the job will be, and a brief employee bio. Be sure to copy the new employee on the e-mail.
Review the BWH New Employee Checklist, which your new employee may be following during his/her on-boarding. This will give you a view into his/ her expectations and plans for this period.
Set up meetings with critical people for the employee’s first few weeks. Add these meetings to his/her calendar.
Create an agenda for the employee’s first week; print out a copy to give the employee upon his/her arrival.
Consider assigning a “buddy” for the new employee -- a “go to” person who will be available to answer questions and occasionally check in with the new employee to see how he/she is doing. Meet with the buddy to discuss activities he/she might do with the new employee, such as taking a tour of the hospital or having lunch together.
Order business cards, if appropriate.
Arrange pertinent trainings required for the job (examples: HIPAA, PeopleSoft, Kronos).
Print out the new employee’s job description, and prepare a list of your expectations relating to his /her position, if this is not included in the job description. You will review these materials with your new employee during his/her on-boarding.
Allow the new employee time to become familiar with his/her new equipment, systems, processes, and colleagues. Make it clear that you are available to answer any questions or concerns.
Be present to welcome the new employee upon his/her arrival. Provide an overview of the first day and week, including a printed agenda.
Ensure that the new employee has an ID badge and card swipe access to all appropriate areas.
Introduce the new employee to other members of the team, and discuss the department’s functions and organizational structure. Ask each staff member to explain his/her role and responsibilities on the team. Discuss staff meetings and other recurring meetings the employee should attend (i.e., schedule, frequency, and agenda items).
Arrange for either you or another person in your office (such as a volunteer “buddy,” if you have appointed one) to give the new employee a tour of the office. Consider visiting other departments/areas and making introductions, if relevant to the new employee’s job and if time permits.
Provide thorough instructions on how to use systems such as Kronos and PeopleSoft, and give the new employee time to become familiar with his/her computer, phone, voice mail, and any other equipment.
Set aside time to discuss the following:
How BWH’s culture, mission, vision, and values are reflected by your department; and share your department’s mission, vision, values, and goals, if available
Overview of BWH and the Partners Healthcare System
Job description and expectations (provide printed job description); aspects of the job that are considered most important; deadlines (including any required reports or records, and timeframe for completing these); current job and departmental goals and priorities
Policies, procedures, and rules such as work hours; dress code; use of telephone, e-mail, Internet, and office resources; security and safety rules and concerns
Service standards for the department (for example, the importance of customer service, to internal and external customers)
Arrange to have lunch with the new employee and include other staff, if possible.
Give the new employee a small, doable assignment, so that at the end of the day he/she will feel as though he/she has already accomplished and contributed something.
Encourage the new employee to explore the New Employee website, and give him/ her time to do so.
Initially, a key consideration for each day is to provide the employee with a few tasks, so as not to overwhelm him/her. If the time seems limited, set aside an item or two to address another day, and let the new employee know your plans (for example: “Let’s meet at 10:00 tomorrow morning to go over some department procedures and to visit some other staff you’ll be interacting with.”).
Show the new employee the training schedule you have set up for him/her.
Check in daily to answer questions and inquire how the first week is going. Explain your work style and discuss how it will fit with the style of the new employee. (For example, do you prefer to communicate by phone or email? Are there certain times you do not wish to be disturbed? Would you prefer that the employee ask you questions as they come up, or maintain a list of questions to ask you at the end of the day or at other times you may set aside to meet?).
Inquire if the employee has questions on benefits or pay.
Provide feedback frequently.
Discuss your methods for evaluating the new employee’s performance, learning plan, and performance standards; how feedback will be given; and the 90-day probationary period. Point out the job expectations you have described, and inform the employee that expectations and behaviors will be measured at evaluation time.
As the first month proceeds, reduce the frequency of your check-ins with the new employee, while continuing to be available to him/her. Focus on building a solid relationship with the new employee, as this relationship with you is one of the most significant in his/her work life. His/her productivity, loyalty, and commitment begin at this personal level. At the same time, your focus should turn, increasingly, to the employee’s performance. You may find it helpful to review the 90-day Performance Evaluation Form to help you assess his/her performance.
Continue to have weekly or bi-weekly meetings.
Discuss the process for performance reviews. Before meeting with the employee, refresh your own understanding of the performance evaluation process.
Review performance standards with the employee.
If you have assigned a buddy to the new employee, check in with both of them to see how things are going and to evaluate the buddy relationship, if appropriate.
Check in with other stakeholders such as the new employee’s teammates and customers in other departments, to assess their satisfaction with his /her performance, or concerns they may have.
Catch the employee doing something right, and provide feedback. Provide immediate feedback, too, if behaviors do not meet expectations.
Throughout the remainder of the new employee’s 90-day probationary period, be aware of the strengths and challenges reflected in his/her performance and work product.
Continue to check in with the employee from time to time to let him/her know how he/she is doing.
Determine and discuss performance goals, both short and long term.