Onboarding: The How and the Why

March 08, 2018

Congratulations! You’ve hired the perfect candidate! The process was exhausting. Writing the perfect job description, advertising, reviewing resumes, interviewing, referencing, and extending an offer takes significant staff time and resources. But you can’t relax yet!

The onboarding process will be central to your great hire becoming a great employee. According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees who benefit from a strong onboarding process are 50% more productive as new hires and are more likely to still be with the organization after three years.

A robust onboarding process moves beyond a paperwork checklist, getting a key made, and having computer passwords ready (though those things are important too!). Strong onboarding will introduce the employee to the people, expectations, and culture of your organization. Onboarding is more than just training someone how to do the job—it should also include the why. For nonprofits, ensuring that your new employees understand the mission—and can see the mission in action whenever possible—is important.

The onboarding process does not end after the first week or two of employment. MissionBox outlines an orientation in which a small nonprofit will take three months to onboard a new employee. For a nonprofit undergoing an executive transition, board members should build a robust onboarding process for the new Executive Director—including welcoming the new leader, and protecting time and space for them to learn about the organization and community they are leading.

Looking for more information? SHRM has published a thorough guide to the onboarding process and OpportunityKnocks.org provides a comprehensive approach to engaging nonprofit employees. CNE members can access curated lists of other online resources related to recruiting and hiring, creating employee handbooks, and managing employees through CNE’s virtual Resources Database.