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The Manager’s Role in Onboarding New Staff. Purpose of Onboarding Onboarding Process Tools for Hiring Managers and Supervisors. Purpose of Effective Onboarding. You interview, check references, and extend an offer of employment that gets accepted; you’re so relieved the hire is done!

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the manager s role in onboarding new staff

The Manager’s Role in Onboarding New Staff

Purpose of Onboarding

Onboarding Process

Tools for Hiring Managers and Supervisors

You interview, check references, and extend an offer of employment that gets accepted; you’re so relieved the hire is done!

But please stay involved…

Your role transitions to bringing your new employee on board, requiring your oversight and involvement.

Research shows that supervisors who shepherd the new employee’s first year in the new position can expect these positive results:
anxiety is reduced
Anxiety is Reduced

The new employee feels welcomed and a sense of belonging is established

  • This increases their comfort level, allowing them to focus on learning their new duties
context is set
Context is Set

The new employee understands how the new position contributes to the group’s mission and goals

  • Role clarity facilitates less wasted “discovery time” and enhances their ability to make immediate and meaningful work contributions
attachment and pride are formed
Attachment and Pride are Formed

The new employee feels a connection to—and pride in—the work group, which reaffirms their decision to take the job

  • Greater levels of long term retention can result from this initial “bonding”
  • The individual who is connected will typically refer friends to Stanford, creating a robust applicant pool for future openings
From having a clean, equipped workspace to getting a meaningful first assignment, new employees want to feel they belong and are able to quickly contribute to their new department and work group.
current hiring situation
Current Hiring Situation

Stanford received over 100,000 employment applications in FY10!

  • There are approximately 1,100 to 1,400 new staff hired each year

These numbers suggest a thoughtful approach to onboarding is an effective strategy for our organization as a whole.

a thoughtful approach can prevent this reaction from a new staff member
A thoughtful approach can prevent this reaction from a new staff member:

“I knew my first day I wouldn’t be staying long; my workspace was messy, and there was no computer or schedule for my first day. Plus, my supervisor wasn’t around much.

I remember thinking if there’s so little attention paid to me when I’m new, the odds were against getting much attention in the future. I was so disappointed, especially after such a lengthy interview process.”

what could have been done
What could have been done?

The hiring manager in this situation could have improved the initial experience by ensuring these actions were taken, either personally or by coordinating with a department manager:

  • Arrange for the workspace to be ready and clean, with all needed equipment in place
  • Create a schedule for the employee’s first day and first week; include a welcome activity
  • Schedule time with the new employee to meet on the first day and then periodically in their first weeks and months
effective onboarding requires the hiring manager s involvement
Effective Onboarding Requires the Hiring Manager’s Involvement

Each hiring manager plays a crucial role to plan and conduct an effective orientation process for each new staff member.

Consider the differences between orientation and onboarding:

onboarding overcomes initial impressions that could be negative
Onboarding overcomes initial impressions that could be negative

The new staff member’s first experiences could result in negative perceptions if their onboarding is left to chance:

  • “They don’t really care about me or value my skills”
  • “They just wanted a warm body in this position”
  • “My boss expects me to learn everything without giving me any guidance!”
ensure positive experiences and get positive first impressions
Ensure positive experiences and get positive first impressions:

Your actions can result in very positive impressions:

  • “My talents will be valued and my new group seems happy I’m here.”
  • “They’ve planned my orientation, and I have the support I need from my new boss.”
  • “My group can’t wait for me to help the team make a difference.”
what are the right onboarding action steps to take
What are the right onboarding action steps to take?

Generally, the hiring manager or supervisor handles these initial actions:

  • A work group/department welcome event and tour of the facility
    • Set up workspace and equipment prior to their arrival
  • Information to provide context and detail about the group’s mission, goals, priorities, and procedures
  • Clarify the new staff member’s role and responsibilities by reviewing the job description, and discuss how performance will be measured
  • Identify a first meaningful (but not overwhelming) assignment for a quick success
  • Possibly set up a co-worker to be a ‘buddy’
online manager s guide to onboarding
Online: Manager’s Guide to Onboarding

That’s just the beginning, though! Stay involved throughout your new employee’s first year by taking advantage of the resources and tools available to you. The online “Manager’s Guide to Onboarding” is a reference site with:

  • Checklists, Templates
  • Information and guidance
  • A printable planner guide:
local hr support
Local HR Support

Local Human Resources staff support your onboarding efforts by:

  • Answering questions you or the new staff member may have about the hiring process (or about the school or unit)
  • Completing the hiring compliance requirements with the new staff member, such as I-9 documentation, etc.
  • Assigning system authority that is the responsibility of the HR Manager or Group; e.g., PeopleSoft, Oracle; and adding new staff to internal email distribution lists
institutional experiences provided for new staff
Institutional Experiences Provided for New Staff
  • Online information at the Stanford New Hire site:
  • New Staff Orientation (3 ½ hours) (TOD-0100)
    • SU’s mission and structure, key policies, support resources, and an overview of all benefits plans
  • Historical Walking Tour (45 minutes) (TOD-0102)
  • Campus Exploration Walking Tour (90 minutes) (TOD-0110)
    • Specific facilities by topic; e.g., recreational facilities; dining venues
  • Staff Resource Fair offered periodically, showcasing programs, facilities, and services for staff (TOD-1225)
first steps to take with your next staff member hire
First steps to take with your next staff member hire
  • Direct the person to the Stanford New Hire site when the offer is extended, or at any time before they arrive:
  • Plan for their arrival and complete initial action steps; review the “Before the New Employee Arrives” section of the Manager’s Guide to Onboarding:
as a result of your efforts you ll likely get a positive reaction like this
As a result of your efforts, you’ll likely get a positive reaction like this:

“From my first day I felt proud to be part of my new department, and really glad I decided to come to Stanford.

It made me immediately respect and admire my new manager, who obviously put a lot of effort into making sure I had a good experience joining the team.”


Produced by Stanford University Human Resources, Learning & Organizational Effectiveness

Photos on slides 7 and 9 courtesy Javier Ruiz, ‘95