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February 8, 2023, The Association

Tips from your colleagues for an efficient (& maybe even fun) onboarding process

Recent studies indicate that nearly 70% of employees will stay for 3 years if there is a good onboarding program. Knowing there’s often a high turnover rate in the animal welfare profession, particularly for frontline staff, what are some things your organization can do? How can you retain new hires and set them (and yourself) up for success?

The questions were posed to your colleagues at the recent Round Table, Not-So-Secret Ways to Retain Your Staff. Here’s some of their advice and first-hand experience:

Let’s Get It Started

“Onboarding of new employees begins before the first day on the job,” shares Cristie Kamiya, DVM, MBA, Chief of Shelter Medicine at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV). “Think of it starting at your very first contact with them.” Often this is during the interview process, so be sure to make yours as efficient and pleasant as possible for the applicant.

It’s also important to make the process as quick as possible, and to continue the engagement until that first day. “It’s likely they’re applying elsewhere,” says Kamiya, “so you want to get them before they change their mind.”

 Agenda, Day One

The HR team at HSSV prepares a full day of orientation for each new employee, while the hiring manager creates an on-boarding plan for the first week—and beyond. “We know what’s in store for the first week or two,” says Kamiya, “as well as the next thirty, sixty, and ninety days.” The plans are created with learning outcomes, so from the get-go new employees understand their responsibilities and what they’re accountable for.  

Getting To Know You

At Arizona Humane Society, onboarding is done in cohorts every 2-3 weeks. “It’s the same structured process each time,” says AHS Pres & CEO, Steven Hansen, DVM, CAWA. The first day begins with a thorough introduction to the organization, including mission, history, and important changes over the last decade or so, and ends with a tour.

But not just any old tour.

As a great way to introduce new employees to their coworkers, AHS sends them on a scavenger hunt. “It forces them to get out and about and meet new people,” explains Hansen. Not to mention they’ve got to be resourceful while they’re at it.

What’s your onboarding process?

About The Association
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is a cohort of leaders on a mission to champion, advance, and unify the animal welfare profession.

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