The faster a new hire feels welcomed and prepared for their job, the faster they will become productive members of the team. After successful recruitment and selection, one of the most important ways that managers can improve the effectiveness of their recruitment efforts, is through the strategic use of onboarding.

    The Path to Successful Onboarding

    New Hire Onboarding vs. New Hire Orientation

    Onboarding is an ongoing process that includes a series of events (like new hire orientation) designed to help new employees understand what they’ll need to do in order to succeed in their new job.  The onboarding process begins when the offer is accepted and throughout the first six to twelve months of employment.

    New hire orientation is a one-time event where information is provided to new hires regarding policies, benefits, and compliance among other topics.

    New Hire Orientation Schedule and Registration

    Refer new hires to New Hire Orientation on either the Morningside or Medical Center Campus.

    Why is Onboarding So Important?

    The purpose of a new employee onboarding program is to introduce new employees to their job, colleagues, and the organization so that they have the necessary resources to succeed. It also makes good business sense and increases retention, which may save on recruitment costs given that some experts estimate the average hiring cost to be approximately twice the employee’s salary.

    Benefits of Implementing an Onboarding Program:

    • Promotes employee engagement, organizational commitment/involvement, and influences retention
    • Provides clear expectations and guidelines
    • Decreases stress associated with a new job, resulting in a more productive and team-focused employee

    Preparing for a new hire’s start date is the first step in ensuring a smooth transition and warm welcome.  An effective onboarding blueprint should help you plan and gather the resources needed for a successful onboarding experience.  Utilize this check list to set your new hire on the path to success before the first day on the job:

    One week before the start date:

    • Request a UNI in DIA
    • Set up and test computer
    • Set up an email account
    • Notify staff of the new employee's start date in-person or via email by using the New Employee Welcome Email Template
    • Assign a mentor or "buddy"
      • A buddy is a fellow employee (other than the manager) who provides advice and guidance on the different aspects of working at Columbia University. A buddy is the designated go-to person for the new employee when it comes to concerns and questions regarding the culture and operations of your department.
    • Create a training plan and a schedule for the first week that includes items such as systems to learn, policies and procedures to review, people to meet, and tasks to complete
    • Call or email the employee to confirm the start time and location
    • Create an agenda for the employee's first day on the job

    One day before the start date:

    • Call or email the employee to confirm start time and location
    • Send a follow-up welcome email to the employee using the Welcome Email Template for New Employee. Be sure to specify what to bring (identification to complete I-9 and tax forms) and who the new hire will be meeting with upon arrival

    As the old adage says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression." As the manager, you are the most influential person and hold the key to making the onboarding process a success. Laying the groundwork for the new hire’s first few days will go a long way to establishing a successful relationship which could be the difference between retaining your employee and starting a new search for their replacement. The following checklists provides activities and processes that will help your new employee feel welcome and supported.

    The First Day

    The following steps will help you lay the groundwork for building a positive relationship with your new employee.  Help create a recipe for success for your new hire. On the employee's first day, you should:

    The Work Space

    • Show the employee his or her workstation
    • Share the agenda
    • Provide computer access and account information (Activate UNI)
    • Have the employee complete new hire forms 
    • Have the employee go to an I-9 Service Center to complete Section 2 of the I-9
    • Have the employee obtain an ID card 
    • Have the employee enroll in New Hire Orientation

    Building Blocks for Success

    • Go over training plan
    • Provide schedule for next two weeks
    • Provide overview of the department
    • Introduce employee to “buddy” and to co-workers
    • Have the buddy show the employee around (break rooms, supplies, photocopy machine, restrooms, etc.)
    • Introduce employee to co-workers, department leads, and executive team

    Getting Around

    The First Week

    After an employee is acclimated to his/her space, make sure you continue to provide the tools they need to be successful at Columbia University.

    To Do's:

    • Go over policies and procedures
    • Define roles and responsibilities
    • Go over job description and expectations
    • Remind the employee to enroll in benefits and complete the Anti-Harassment, Discrimination and Title IX Training within 30 days of hire
    • Provide a department organization chart and a list of colleagues, clients, etc. for the employee to meet with
    • Discuss manager style and expectations
    • Review performance goals
    • Schedule meetings with the key “players” working with the new hire
    • Provide an overview of common programs & useful websites
    • Provide employee directory
    • Explain desk setup and how the employee can request needed items
    • Schedule weekly 1:1s
    • Add employee to regular team meetings

    The 30-60-90-Day Plan provides an onboarding roadmap for managers and new employees that ensures the proper alignment between expectations, resources, and assimilation, all of which are essential to a successful hire.

    First Thirty (30) Days

    During the first thirty (30) days, start new employees off with small projects, set goals for them to achieve and most importantly, get them acclimated to the environment. By the end of thirty (30) days, new hires should have a good idea of their responsibilities, what to expect in their role and what’s expected of them.

    To Do's:

    • Meet weekly with the employee to touch base, review and clarify performance objectives, expectations, project updates and answer questions.  
    • Discuss remaining training
    • Check on how the Buddy relationship is going
    • Follow up and answer questions
    • Assess potential to succeed

    First Sixty (60) Days

    The next thirty (30) days should involve more collaboration and handing over bigger responsibilities. This is when you should ease off on the time dedicated to training and focus more on encouraging independent thought process and problem solving. Now that your new hire is an expert on smaller projects, raise the bar and introduce bigger projects and longer-term responsibilities. At this point, they should be more comfortable with the functioning of the office and other units, so have them collaborate with other teams.

    To Do's:

    • Review the progress with the training plan and revise as necessary
    • Continue to provide regular informal feedback
    • Provide opportunities for interactions with colleagues in other units and across the university

    First Ninety (90) Days and Beyond

    The last thirty (30) days and beyond are all about empowering the employee to work more independently.  As your employee is taking on more responsibilities and accomplishing bigger tasks, they’re going to start becoming more accountable for their own work. Your new hire should be able to handle projects with limited guidance from you, and should be equipped to tackle bigger responsibilities at this point.

    To Do's:

    • Formal evaluation of performance
    • Identify and communicate action plan for developmental opportunities
    • Reiterate expectations 
    • Conduct a "Stay Interview", which helps managers understand why employees stay and what might cause them to leave. The Stay Interview Questions document provides guidelines and sample questions to ask.