Congratulations on hiring your new employee! As a supervisor, you play an important role in guiding your new employees into a fulfilling career at Capital Region ESD 113.
This toolkit helps you prepare to welcome and engage your new employee as you introduce the policies, processes, culture, expectations, and day-to-day responsibilities of your program.
Think creatively about which tools you need to welcome your employees. A thorough "onboarding" program increases the likelihood that new employees will become productive more quickly, become more engaged with the agency, and stay for a longer time.
Work with the Human Resources team to ensure you follow the required procedures.
What Is "Onboarding"?
Onboarding is a process for assimilating an employee into the workplace and providing them the information they need to achieve success. Research shows that a well-organized onboarding experience greatly increases employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. The process begins when the employee is hired and continues through their first year of employment. It's your opportunity, as the supervisor, to set goals and expectations, train, and develop your employee.
- Communicates the mission of Capital Region ESD 113.
- Helps employees see themselves as a part of the whole.
- Facilitates an understanding of job expectations and the performance development plan (PDP) process.
- Improves customer service.
- Ensures consistency across the agency.
- Promotes employee engagement.
- Reduces employee turnover.
Onboarding is a partnership between you, your new employee, Human Resources, and agency leaders. It is broken into phases to address the employee’s evolving needs.
Making a Good First Impression
Confirm with the Human Resources team that your top candidate has accepted an employment offer and a start date has been determined. HR will email Pre-employment Paperwork to the new hire. As the supervisor, communicate regularly with your new employee via email or phone during the period between their acceptance and their actual first day of work.
Making a great first impression reinforces all the reasons your new employee chose the position and helps prevent possible feelings of buyer’s remorse! Contact them before they come to work to let them know you are excited they are coming to work with us. Give them an idea of what their first day will be like. Ask if they have any questions or needs for their first day. If they have job-specific paperwork to complete before their first day, send it to them.
Let them know things like:
- Their work schedule and what time to arrive their first day
- Where to meet you or your designee on their first day
- First-day lunch plans — expect to take them out their first day
- Where to park
- Dress guidelines
- What to expect their first week
- Information that is nice to know (Local coffee shop, dress in layers, etc.)
Preparing for Arrival
Pre-arrival is a perfect time to identify, clean, and arrange a desk location. Contact IT Help to arrange a computer and phone set-up (with login information, access to shared drives, special programs, employee access, etc.). Make their area “move-in” ready (clean keyboard, monitor screens, desk) and make sure it has office supplies. It should appear as though you have been anticipating their arrival.
Reach out to the rest of your team to support your preparations:
- Have your team sign a welcome card.
- Assign a "buddy" — an experienced coworker who can be a go-to resource for your new employee during the first few months.
- Announce the hiring of your new employee via email. Let them know when they are starting and what their role will be. Include information about the employee’s background. Ask others to welcome and show support for your employee. If the new employee’s work location is the Tyee building send the email to all Tyee Staff.
Develop an itinerary for the first week so your employee can hit the ground running. Arrange meetings for your new employee with key staff with whom they will be working. Print out the Supervisor Checklist to track the onboarding process.
This is the day your team and new employee have been waiting for. Everything that happens on this day and the following few days will shape the employee’s perception of Capital Region ESD 113, their job, their coworkers, and you as their supervisor.
Greet your employee when they arrive. Help them with getting acquainted with their surroundings and discuss the plan for the first day.
- Staff introductions
- Office "buddy" introduction
- A copy of the New Employee Checklist
- A tour of the office and/or building
- A copy of their itinerary for the week
You may also want to include a meeting with you to review job expectations, work schedules, and departmental procedures.
New employees are eager to show you they can be productive. Handing them stacks of papers or manuals is not a good beginning. Assign your new employee meaningful work to support and empower them. Meaningful work may be as simple as using the computer, reviewing files from the previous staff member, or observing someone doing a task the new employee will be performing.
Every day, your new employee should experience more self-assurance, comfort, and productivity. At this point, focus on the unique aspects of the job. It can be difficult to make yourself available, but remember: Hours invested this week may save hundreds of hours in the weeks and years to come.
The new employee will never be more attentive than they are the first week. It's a good time to review policies and procedures. Start with the most important ones and introduce new ones when the employee is ready. Make them relevant. Make sure the employee understands your expectations, his or her role and responsibilities, and policies related to your department.
Build upon the foundation you established the first day. Ensuring two-way communication is a priority. Providing them with a clear understanding of how things work and your management style will support the employee's autonomy. Sharing the agency's goals, mission, and vision and providing an opportunity to read our Employee Handbook and any other mandatory training is also helpful.
Begin a conversation with your new employee about our performance management process. Explain that their first Professional Development Plan (PDP) review will happen in about three months.
This conversation should include:
- Ensuring a mutual understanding of job duties by reviewing their position description.
- Communicating your expectations.
- Establishing a routine for check-in meetings.
- Discussing a probationary period (if applicable).
- Introducing the PDP process.
Try to structure an assignment that will allow your employee to demonstrate their competence, prior knowledge, or their ability to learn quickly within the first week. If possible, have your employee attend meetings with other staff as a way to get to know the organization, how it operates, and get to know key players. Help your employee learn the organization culture, discuss performance expectations, and begin sharing philosophy and values.
Set up regular “check-in” meetings with your new employee to monitor their progress as they acclimate to their new job. Remember: Be available and approachable.
Begin to celebrate your new employee's success. Encourage and praise your new employee for how well they have done. Your feedback has a considerable impact on whether or not they see themselves having a successful career at the ESD. We want to support their achievements early and often. New employees should be hitting their milestones and marking off their New Employee Checklist.
Review the checklist with them and schedule a future date for their PDP review. Double check with the employee that they were able to complete their benefits packet and turn it in, and that they have received their first direct deposit accurately.
You may find that your employee needs additional, job-specific training. Establish a training and development plan with them and let them know you it will be reflected in their PDP. If you have any probationary concerns, connect with the HR team early. Document your concerns and reflected them in the PDP.
Check that your new employee is registered for the WeAreESD113 Orientation. This is an exciting event that new employees are required to attend.
1st 90 Days
By the end of the first 90 days, you have either given or are about to have a PDP conversation. You have been monitoring performance against your expectations and making sure your employee is progressing and their performance is improving. They have gained confidence and feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Increase the complexity and scope of the work you give them so you can assess their ability to perform the full range of duties within the scope of their duty statement.
What does it mean to work at Capital Region ESD 113? How am I doing? Does your employee feel like a valued member of your team? During the first six months, new employees can extend within their involvement in their department, in Capital Region ESD 113, and they should be receiving clear performance feedback from you. Supervisors are wise to ask for feedback from the new employee, as well as identify any opportunities to ensure a mutually successful relationship.
Remember to ensure that necessary training is completed. Ensure your new employee is gaining exposure to the variety of the work we do. Consider taking them on a field trip to meet some of our partners and promote networking opportunities.
Continue coaching them and exposing them to more people they will be working with both inside and outside the department. If they have been assigned a lead or mentor, consult with that person to get feedback regarding performance and training needs.
If they are progressing successfully, the employee may need less time with you, but you must stay engaged and monitor the performance for continuing development and success.
At this point, if your employee is not progressing, you should be in contact with staff in your Human Resources Office to discuss options available to you.
At this point in the onboarding process, you begin to work with your employee for sustained, long-term success. Celebrate contributions—be creative. Are they working to their full capacity, seeing themselves making a difference? Explore opportunities with them for greater employee involvement. Here are some potential talking points to discuss with your employee:
- Is the job what you expected; how or how not?
- Are you having enough opportunities to learn and grow?
- Are you running into any obstacles? What are they, and how do they affect you?
- What’s the best thing that’s happened to you here this year?
- What suggestions for improvements do you have?
- Are you being provided appropriate support and feedback to learn your job?
This may be an appropriate time for you to discuss career development and plans for the future as well as offering professional development opportunities.