Six Missed Opportunities in Faculty and Staff Onboarding

Colleges and universities are beginning to put greater focus on onboarding and orientation processes. With the high cost of turnover and the need to retain faculty and staff in a highly competitive environment, orientation programs that address the “employee value proposition” for working at an institution have gained increasing attention.

Some of the key opportunities that can be missed without a comprehensive onboarding program include:

  1. Opportunities to learn about the institution, its mission, and goals from institutional leadership. Don’t miss this key opportunity for in-person welcomes from top leadership. Powerpoint slides won’t have the same effect as hearing in person from the president or chancellor, provost, or other leaders. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
  2. Sharing the employee value proposition. The onboarding experience provides an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the institution and why it is a great place to work. You can share information on indirect compensation including benefits and leave programs as well opportunities for professional development, tuition reimbursement programs, mentoring resources, and rewards and recognition events.
  3. Networking with colleagues. Think back to your own campus orientation. The people you met represented your first connection, one that you probably have not forgotten. Onboarding programs link you with individuals outside your department whom you might not meet otherwise and to share common experiences with during you first months on campus.
  4. Information about resources including policies and procedures. One of the advantages to new faculty and staff of orientation programs is an introduction to important resources that include policies and procedures and employee handbooks with information relating to appointment, promotion, compensation, and related employment matters. These resources help new faculty and staff navigate the institution and provide a framework for understanding the career journey.
  5. Introduction to specific offices. Orientation programs typically include representatives from offices and support services such as Information Technology, Teaching and Learning Center, Human Resources Benefits and Professional Development, Sports and Recreation, Parking, and the Library among others to give an overview of services offered.
  6. Meeting compliance requirements. Orientation programs provide an opportunity to introduce faculty and staff to required compliance programs such as Title IX, Sexual Harassment Prevention, Ethics Reporting requirements, and regulations to protect student information.

Successful onboarding programs capitalize on the time that new faculty and staff have with administrative and academic leadership by developing a tight knit and varied program that may incorporate a shared meal in a campus venue, a bus tour or walk, interactive activities, and other ways of solidifying the important, early sense of welcoming connection with the institution.