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It’s Time to get Onboard?. Techniques for Onboarding. Shashanta S. James Associate Director, Student Financial Aid Western Michigan University. Longevity within the workforce of Financial Aid Most senior management have between 25-40 years of service.

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Techniques for Onboarding

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It’s Time to get Onboard?

Techniques for Onboarding

Shashanta S. James

Associate Director, Student Financial Aid

Western Michigan University

Longevitywithin the workforce of Financial Aid

  • Most senior management have between 25-40 years of service.

  • Advisors and Processing staff exceeds 22 years of service

    Complacency has prevented our offices from maintaining an effective workplace learning and performance environment

How did we get to this point….

  • Identifying how many years of service exist in your office

  • The CHANGE Factor – how does it effect you?

  • Who will lead to the next level ?

  • Effective Onboarding Experience

Session goals

In 2010 imagine having 7 staff with an equivalent of 113 years of service

You wake up in June 2012 with 7 staff with a little over 43.5 years of service

Let’s Talk About CHANGE

Years of Service….you do the math.

Are you prepared to conduct the necessary change process to get your office on track for an Onboarding experience


What learning interventions do you facilitate in your office?

The change factor

  • How many of your staff are eligible to retire within the next 2-4 years?

    • How many of your colleagues are contemplating retirement?

      • When are you thinking of retiring?

Why do leaders need to change…

Or Make Change Happen

  • What change could impact your office?

    • Next Month

    • Next Year

      Are you prepared if major change occurred upon your return to the office?

What does change mean to you?

What does change affect?

  • John Kotter is a known Professor of Leadership from Harvard Business School

    • Six Groups

      • Discuss the Quote for your group

      • Review groups answers

Quote-o-logy on Change

I need help to get through the change process

Step One

  • Establish a Sense of Urgency

    • Examine the market and competitive realities

    • Identify and discuss crisis, potential crisis or major opportunities

Eight-Step process of change

Step Two

  • Create the Guiding Coalition

    • Putting together a group with enough power to lead the change

    • Getting the group to work together like a team

Eight-Step process of change

Step Three

  • Developing a Vision and Strategy

    • Creating a vision to help direct the change effort

    • Developing strategies for achieving that vision

Eight-Step process of change

Step Four

  • Communicating the Change Vision

    • Using every vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision and strategies

    • Having the guiding coalition role model the behavior expected of employees

Eight-Step process of change

Step Five

  • Empowering Broad-Based Action

    • Getting rid of Obstacles

    • Changing systems or structures that undermine the change vision

    • Encouraging risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities and actions

Eight-Step process of change

Step Six

  • Generating Short-Term Wins

    • Planning for visible improvements in performance, or “wins”

    • Creating those wins

    • Visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made the wins possible

Eight-Step process of change

Step Seven

  • Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change

    • Using increased credibility to change all systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit together and don’t fit the transformation vision

    • Hiring, promoting and developing people who can implement the change vision

    • Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents

Eight-Step process of change

Step Eight

  • Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

    • Creating better performance through customer-and productivity-oriented behavior, more and better leadership, and more effective management

    • Articulating the connections between new behaviors and organizational success

    • Developing means to ensure leadership development and succession.

Eight-Step process of change

  • Do you have a succession management plan developed in your office?

    • Formally or Informally –who would replace the Director, Associate Director or Assistant Director if you received a resignation next week.

      • Is this decision supported from the top-down?

      • Is this employee prepared for this position?

        • KSA’s,

Who will lead to the next level


refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.Characteristics used in this process include meetings [formal and non-formal], lectures, videos, printed materials, computer-based orientations, games, and peer mentoring to introduce newcomers to their new jobs and organizations. It is also known as organizational socialization or assimilation

It’s Time to get Onboard?

An effective onboarding experience

The Onboarding process is about orienting a new employee which can last up to or beyond a year depending on the new employee’s job and their prior work experience.

The first few weeks establish the foundation for the new employee and the supervisor as well as the office culture

The idea of this session is to educate on the importance of change and present a best practice of an Onboarding experience utilized by the Financial Aid office of WMU

It’s Time to get Onboard?

What impact will Onboarding make to your new employees?

Will the information be successfully transferred?

Is there a clear “line of sight” in your process?

It’s Time to get Onboard?

This Onboarding Checklist has been created to be successful in most Financial Aid Offices or One Stop [FAO, Bursar, Registrar] cross trained departments

In developing an Onboarding process you also need to be involved with your Human Resources department

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • Benefits of Onboarding

    • New employees feel valuable to the office and a sense of security and comfort

    • Based on the nature of our business, new employees have to learn why decisions are made to better understand the culture of our offices…they need to understand why things are the way they are. That is usually generated within the detail of federal, state and institutional policies.

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • Benefits of Onboarding cont.

    • New employees that come to Financial Aid without experience have a LARGE learning curve.

    • Up front learning interventions can shorten that curve significantly

    • Onboarding provides for a productive, aligned, intentional learning process

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • An effective process could have 5 stages:

    • Before the New Employee Arrives

    • The New Employee’s First Day

    • The New Employee’s First Month

    • The New Employee’s First Six Month

    • The New Employee’s First Year

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • Before the New Employee Arrives

    • The immediate manager or supervisor is an integral part of an effective Onboarding Process.

    • The relationship that is initially developed between the new hire and the supervisor has the most impact on retaining the new employee.

    • The supervisor must be prepared before the arrival of the new hire. Consider these pre-arrival steps :

It’s Time to get Onboard?

Please refer to your Onboarding Checklist resource – page 1

The Supervisor’s Pre-arrival Checklist

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • The Employee’s First Day

    • It is crucial to be prepared for the new team member. Remember this is your “first impression”,

      This will be an overwhelming experience…be kind.

      Refer to pages 2-3

It’s Time to get Onboard?

The Employee’s First Week – see pages 4-6

Will I fit in? Is this the right job for me?

The first week is the time to establish the office culture, to communicate your expectations of the employee and begin the relationship between employee and supervisor

It’s Time to get Onboard?

  • The Employee’s Second Week – Passport activity

    • Can we go out and play?

  • Lets play…..WMU Passport

  • It’s Time to get Onboard?

    • The Employee’s Second Week – see pages 7-8

    • Communication

      • Introduce how Performance Management is handled in your office

      • Continue to talk about the experiences, concerns or challenges that exist working in FAO

      • How is the employee adjusting with the team

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    The Employee’s Third Week 3 – see pages 9-10

    Depending on the functions of your office and set-up the learning interventions may begin to differ from WMU’s process

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    • New Employees First Few Months

    • Communication and Performance Management should incorporate the following discussions

      • Probationary reviews

      • Successful completion of learning goals

      • Constructive Feedback

      • Review the Onboarding process for improvements

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    • First few months continued…

      • Is the employee engaged in the campus culture

        • Encourage involvement in campus events, learning of organizations (they may become involved after the probationary period)

        • The employee can partner with colleagues to participate in FAO presentations

        • REVIEW the materials from the Onboarding process

          Refer to pages 11-12

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    Probationary Review

    Know your institution’s policy

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    2, 4, and 6 months

    • The employee’s months 2-6

      • Peer mentoring is encouraged during this time.

        • This encourages the camaraderie and moral amongst the team.

        • The KSA’s are tested

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    • Use Resources that support FAO

      • Training and Development opportunities

      • Online tools

        • IFAP, FSA Coach, MSFAA, NASFAA, Webinars

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    • The employee’s first year

      • Successful completion of your Onboarding process

    It’s Time to get Onboard?

    It’s Time to get Onboard?


    This is a separate learning process from the Onboarding Activities

    Refresher on procedures/processes

    New system updates

    New regulations

    Customer Service trainings

    Cross-training for staff


    Staff is your greatest asset

    Staff has KSA’s to perform their job

    Staff empowered to do job

    Helps office to do more with less

    Diminished Compliance issues

    Increased professional development and growth


    Succession planning

    Student satisfaction

    It’s Time to get Onboard?


    Compliance Issues

    Audit Findings

    Decreased Moral

    High Turn-over

    Customer Service Suffers

    As this session was delivered as a best practice workshop, it is safe to utilize the C.A.S.E. Method Process when producing this information to your staff.

    It is okay to Copy And Steal Everything

    Borrowed from Bill Quiseng

    Thank You

    You are onboard

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