Colleagues working together during onboarding

Onboarding New Team Members to Live Your Values and Contribute to Organizational Success

The first 90 days of a new employee’s journey can be pivotal. It’s during this time that habits are formed, and a sense of belonging is established within an organization. However, as research suggests, many new hires decide to leave a position within this critical period due to their onboarding experience. Recognizing this challenge, the El Dorado County Office of Education embarked on a transformative journey to revamp its onboarding process, ensuring that every new team member not only feels welcomed but also equipped to contribute to organizational success.

We were utilizing rounding to identify needs, but it’s when we had hardwired that rounding that our [employees] felt empowered to recognize problems, suggest strategies to solve…then over time, they saw their voice matters in the organizational change. Ultimately, they started to see that the changes they were identifying and the suggestions and strategies they were making to improve them had an impact on our entire organization. So, that’s how we got here. We didn’t magically have a team of human resource professionals that felt confident in this. It was through rounding and hardwiring it that they were able to have that confidence.
Amy Andersen, Executive Director of Human Resources • El Dorado County Office of Education, California

The journey began with a commitment from top leadership to prioritize employee onboarding. Led by County Superintendent Dr. Ed Manansala, Deputy Superintendent of Administrative Services Wendy Frederickson, and Executive Director of Human Resources Amy Andersen, the team embarked on a journey of continuous improvement, guided by the principles of engagement, alignment, and accountability.

As the El Dorado County team emphasized in their session at What’s Right in Education, the journey was not about a quick fix but about building habits that become ingrained in the organization’s DNA. With this mindset, the team started by identifying key obstacles through rounding for feedback and engagement with employees. These obstacles ranged from limited initial communication with new hires to a lack of consistent organizational training and an absence of data on employee retention.

Armed with this understanding, the team developed a comprehensive roadmap to address these challenges. Central to their approach was the creation of a warm welcome packet for new hires, providing essential information and resources to ease their transition into the organization. This packet, meticulously crafted with input from HR technicians, aimed to streamline the onboarding process and reduce the burden on new employees’ lone lifeline—the HR department.

However, the transformation didn’t stop there. Recognizing the need for consistent leadership involvement, the team engaged department leaders in the process, empowering them to take ownership of the onboarding experience within their respective departments. Through collaborative efforts and structured training sessions, leaders were equipped with the tools and resources needed to ensure a seamless onboarding process for every new team member.

The impact of these initiatives was tangible. Employee feedback and engagement surveys reflected a significant increase in confidence and preparedness among new hires. Moreover, data from the transportation department showcased a remarkable improvement in employee satisfaction and retention rates, underscoring the effectiveness of the revamped onboarding process.

But the journey continues. With a commitment to continuous improvement, the team is poised to build on their successes, with plans to implement desk manuals for every department and further analyze survey results to identify areas for enhancement. By centralizing themes surrounding engagement and accountability, the organization aims to cultivate a culture where every employee feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.

The transformation of El Dorado County Office of Education’s onboarding process is a testament to the power of continuous improvement and collaborative leadership. By prioritizing engagement, alignment, and accountability, the organization has laid the foundation for sustained success, ensuring that every new team member embarks on a journey of growth, contribution, and excellence.


Think differently.

Reimagining onboarding as a journey of relationship-building and cultural integration sets the stage for employee success from day one.

Plan differently.

Crafting an effective onboarding strategy involves aligning processes with organizational values, fostering adaptability, and prioritizing ongoing training and feedback mechanisms.

Act differently.

Transforming onboarding into a strategic initiative requires implementing concrete measures such as welcome packets, training schedules, and exit interviews, while fostering a culture of continuous improvement and leadership commitment.

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Parents, teachers, and students interacting as part of the strategic planning process