Employee Onboarding – On Campus and Remote

Introduction to Employee Onboarding

Why Onboard?

A new team member’s onboarding experience is an influential factor in employee experience and employee engagement. It plays a critical role in a new team member’s success by ensuring they feel welcomed and happy about their choice to join the university. It also creates opportunities for co-worker connections and socialization which provides a sense of being valuable to the institution earlier and has an impact on productivity and retention.

With effective onboarding, the time it takes for a team member to be fully trained should be shorter, enabling them to quickly deliver valuable work and perform successfully, and, therefore meeting departmental goals.  From a financial perspective, it would be costly not to onboard optimally as it plays a factor in new hire productivity and premature exits which impacts the return on investment of a new hire.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating a new hire into their new work environment, including the social and performance aspects of their new job and environment. The onboarding process could span from 2 weeks to 3 months to 1 year, depending on the role. During onboarding, a new team member will:

  • Learn about the university
  • Engage in a series of activities to get to know the team, learn about the university’s culture, attitudes, methods, rules and rituals
  • Learn about the departmental structures and operations and “who’s who”
  • Understand tools and information needed for success such as procedures, systems and workflows
  • Be trained for them to be successful in their role

A robust onboarding process provides opportunities for a new team member to feel connected in their new working environment, while providing opportunities for leaders and team mates to share all of the elements that will contribute to success. Onboarding includes the welcome to the university environment but goes beyond the “first day/week” introductions and is tailored to the specific role.

Why is Onboarding Critical for New Hires who are Working Remotely?

Remote workers have less opportunities to naturally integrate into the organization’s processes and culture so it will take longer for them to feel part of the university if onboarding isn’t effective.

New hires need to be provided with opportunities to make connections to ensure they feel like they are part of the team and to gain comfort and confidence in their new role and not feel disconnected.

Remote employees will not have the same opportunities to ask questions in the same way as those who work in the office (i.e. quick hallway discussions, asking their office-mate), therefore having the right technology resources in place, having standardize processes and good file sharing practices are necessary, as proper documentation is more heavily relied on.

What is an Onboarding Peer?

An Onboarding Peer is a team mate whose role in the onboarding process is to support a new team member through their first several weeks by providing information and offering encouragement and guidance to ease them into SFU’s workplace culture. When selecting an onboarding peer for your new team member, be sure to choose someone who is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable about university processes/norms. Connecting your new team member with a designated onboarding peer allows them to easily ask questions and become comfortable in their new work environment either in person or virtually.

Employee Onboarding Framework

Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding  (Prior to the New Hire’s First Day) 

Phase 2: Welcome  (First Week)

             New Employee Onboarding Canvas Course (Employee will receive a link through Taleo)

Phase 3: Small Projects/Assignments  (First 3 Months)

Phase 4: Ongoing Guidance and Support  (The First Year and Beyond)

Onboarding Checklist and Resources

1. Onboarding Checklists and Tools

  • General Onboarding Checklist (Hiring Managers will receive these checklists directly from the Taleo Recruitment System)
    • Department Policies & Procedures
    • Work Schedule
    • Introductions
    • Department Information
    • Job Duties & Responsibilties
    • Facilities

2. Reference Guides and Resources

3. Supports/Best Channels for Seeking Information 

4. FAQ's