Onboarding best practices

 

Students aren’t the only ones who may think the first day of school is a big deal.  It’s also a big day for new employees. For fresh talent, everything is different and exciting—the campus, the culture and their co-workers.

 

Successful onboarding smooths the transition for new employees—especially rookie educators. At a high level, onboarding for school employees includes training on:[1]

 

  • Institutional culture
  • Safety rules
  • Health and emergency procedures
  • How to access email
  • Mentorship
  • District strategy and goals
  • Performance evaluations

Why is an onboarding program necessary? School districts lose $2.2 billion yearly because of teacher turnover.[2] And, almost half of beginning teachers transfer schools or leave the classroom in their first five years.[3] Engaging team members in a school community can relieve turnover pain and keep educators in front of students. Let’s dive into other onboarding benefits.

 

The benefits of onboarding

Besides helping to retain employees, onboarding is critical because the practice:[4],[5]

  • Speeds the comfort and productivity of new hires.
  • Introduces the organization’s vision, culture and internal processes.
  • Shares performance evaluation protocol and growth opportunities.
  • Strengthens employee loyalty, improves retention and increases employee satisfaction.

What’s more, beginning teachers who receive some induction report higher student performance in their classrooms.[6] In other words, employees who get support are better equipped to accelerate student achievement.

 

How to onboard new team members

Ensure your onboarding program is preparing new talent for a successful school year—and beyond—with these best practices:[7],[8], [9],[10]

  • Introduce new team members.

    After an offer’s been accepted, announce the hire to the school team. Next, share information about the new team member with parents and students via the school’s website. Finally, make in-person introductions during orientation. Consider giving them a welcome gift, like a terra cotta planter kit to represent the growth of their students—and themselves—in the new year­.

  • Get them in the system.Introduce new hires to the technology that will help them do their work. Share orientation materials on a logo’d lanyard USB drive so they can access them in the future.
  • Get to know each other.Onboarding activities help new hires understand the culture and expectations of their new institution. Give new team members an opportunity to show their personality and ideas for their new role. Play orientation games with two-tone beach balls. Try blending mediums to accommodate different learning styles. Present onboarding information via online learning, social media, videos, classroom activities, on-the-job previews and more.
  • Invite their colleagues.
    Current employees can share their insights on what it takes to succeed at the school, along with relieving some new-job jitters. Plus, new hires will have a familiar face to look for on the first day of class. Give rookie educators free time to meet with colleagues, and assign them a mentor or coach. Face time lets team members compare notes and align curriculum. Supercharge these meetings with logo’d chalkboard paint mugs and spiral notebooks with matching mini pens.
  • Ask for ratings.Through each stage of onboarding, ask participants to be brutally honest about the process. Tell them their feedback will make life easier for future new hires—and the entire school.
  • Check in periodically.Onboarding doesn’t end with the initial orientation. Approach new hires after their first 90 days to ensure their transition has been relatively painless. Some of the most effective onboarding programs last a full year.

 

In the end, make onboarding fun—but not informal. And, don’t overload new team members. These onboarding best practices benefit more than new team members. Onboarding is an investment in students and the greater school community.

 

[1] Douglas, Emily. “8 Tips to Ensure Great Onboarding.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/k-12_talent_manager/2011/12/8_tips_to_ensure_great_onboarding.html>.

 

[2] Phillips, Owen. “Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year.” NPR. NPR, 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016. <http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/03/30/395322012/the-hidden-costs-of-teacher-turnover>.

 

[3] Ibid.

 

[4] Douglas, Emily. “8 Tips to Ensure Great Onboarding.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/k-12_talent_manager/2011/12/8_tips_to_ensure_great_onboarding.html>.

 

[5] “Improve Onboarding in 7 Easy Steps.” TalentEd K12 Strategic Talent Management. PeopleAdmin, Inc., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://talentedk12.com/7-tips-for-a-successful-teacher-onboarding-process/>.

 

[6] Phillips, Owen. “Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year.” NPR. NPR, 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016. <http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/03/30/395322012/the-hidden-costs-of-teacher-turnover>.

 

[7] “Improve Onboarding in 7 Easy Steps.” TalentEd K12 Strategic Talent Management. PeopleAdmin, Inc., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://talentedk12.com/7-tips-for-a-successful-teacher-onboarding-process/>.

 

[8] Douglas, Emily. “8 Tips to Ensure Great Onboarding.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/k-12_talent_manager/2011/12/8_tips_to_ensure_great_onboarding.html>.

 

[9] Phillips, Owen. “Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year.” NPR. NPR, 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016. <http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/03/30/395322012/the-hidden-costs-of-teacher-turnover>.

 

[10] Douglas, Emily. “8 Tips to Ensure Great Onboarding.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/k-12_talent_manager/2011/12/8_tips_to_ensure_great_onboarding.html>.

 

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