If you have an onboarding routine that works, it probably is on automatic right now. Since we’re opening school in a pandemic this is a great time to redesign your onboarding process.
We know who it’s for — new employees.
Okay, but what do you want onboarding to do?
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I also encourage you to consider how do you want a new employee to feel?
Once you identify that, backwards-design the experience to deliver on your promise.
At Kenwood Academy in Chicago, I loved how they integrated a student panel to create an authentic experience. This was real talk from a variety of current students. There were the typical overachievers and jocks, but the school also invited students who represented all kinds of kids.
Speaking of panels, what if you invited parents to speak with new hires? What might they tell new staff? What would they identify as important to success within your community?
Same question as above, but now do it with a variety of teachers.
Technology like Zoom makes it possible to run a number of breakout rooms in a row so staff could meet as many new hires as possible.
Will you have a digital or physical school swag bag to share?
With major and repetitive tasks, it would be helpful to create process documents and videos for new hires. The process doc outlines what needs to get done and how to do it, including any helpful links. The video demonstrates how to do the task. The shorter the better.
Send a mass email to the entire staff welcoming new hires. Ask some meaningful questions to them all and share their answers with the community.
My friend Nick creates a staff directory and identifies each educator’s “go-to strength.” What an incredible resource to build and send out!
Where do you need to add culturally responsive and inclusive elements? These can be major steps like official policy and bringing in consultants, but some lifts are small and easy. My Zoom profile and social profiles include my pronouns (he/him). It’s a small touch and communicates to everyone, “I see you.”
Up to now, these ideas are really for the beginning of the year’s onboarding process. A truly robust onboarding process will include activities throughout the year and intentionally identify one-on-one touchpoints with new hires. This can include tea/coffee/lunch/dinner/walks.
This personal time isn’t so much about the work, but more about getting to know the individual you brought on the team. What are their dreams and aspirations?