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Tapping Outside Allies for New Employee Onboarding

By: Casey Czarnowski, BA, CRCST, CSPDT, CIS, CER

July 22, 2020

When I began my new position as educator, I was responsible for all aspects of onboarding new employees. From badging to email access to parking, I had to have it all in place by their first day on campus. I assumed no one else could handle these tasks – or at least give me the confidence that they would be done correctly and completely. But I was wrong.

In any enterprise, there are many tasks that must be done before a new hire can start. In my first job as shift supervisor, I created a list and I still use it in my current role (modified, of course, as I learned the ropes of a new workplace). For my first Educator posting, I tried to do all the background onboarding tasks myself, which was essentially piecemeal from new hire to new hire. To request what I needed from the Information Technology or Human Resources departments, I would send my “request emails” to their general inbox (with many follow-ups, until I had tested the system and was sure that everything was in place). It was frustrating and took time away from my other duties.

This changed when I realized that all the people I needed to provide access for new hires (and all the people at the receiving end of those general inquiry inboxes) were just a phone call away or even a short walk down the hall! I learned the names associated with the required tasks and introduced myself – in person, whenever possible, or by phone, when necessary. With the prevalence of video conferencing, I now request virtual face-to-face meetings to better learn about a person whom I have the opportunity to work with. Sending a message to a specific person or letting them know in person about the needs of a new hire is much easier than sending system messages to anonymous email addresses. It’s also more personally satisfying. People who have a part in onboarding want to do their jobs well and help new employees feel welcomed at the facility. Speaking with them directly is the most effective way for all parties to have that sense of satisfaction.

As a result of my desire to get to know the folks who worked upstream from me on the onboarding process, fewer tasks were dropped, onboarding became seamless, and I made many new work friends. My anxiety level also dropped, knowing that I had competent individuals working with me and more time to devote to other aspects of my work.

I encourage everyone reading this who is the departmental point person for onboarding to reach out to those who take care of the “background work” for new hires. Learning about the challenges and time constraints of those upstream from you will give you new perspective and working more as a team through the onboarding process will make your work more efficient and the new hire’s experience that much better as well. Plus, you’ll get to meet your dedicated colleagues and share with them the consistent success of your onboarding program.

Casey Czarnowski, BA, CRCST, CSPDT, CIS, CER, is the Sterile Processing Educator at Stanford Health Care in the San Francisco Bay area. He also teaches the Central Services Technology program at Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif.