What are some creative ways you have been able to conduct new employee onboarding during COVID-19?


With all the changes associated with COVID-19 and the guidelines that have been set by the CDC as well as county health departments, we recognize that new staff onboarding will be a challenge in the next few months. AASPA wanted to reach out to a few of our members to ask the question of how they are creatively working through many of these challenges. We hope will enjoy their responses. 

Dr. Dale Fisher, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Deerfield Public School District 109, Deerfield, IL

Due to the COVID-19 situation, we adjusted our onboarding paperwork completion process to include a virtual meeting to walk people through the forms that need to be completed since we've been unable to connect with our new hires physically through any aspect of the hiring protocols as of late.  The hand holding required to get people through the various digital interview levels has carried over into a final Zoom meeting in which departmental personnel are now sharing screens with new hires and intensely guiding them through the various pieces of our paperless onboarding components.  In the past, we would simply provide them with an email that explained the steps they needed to do.  What has resulted is a meaningful and helpful connection with new hires because of the guidance they are receiving.  We've moved away from "here, complete these forms" to "I'm here to support you and I'd like to help you complete these forms."

Ellen Gengler, HR Coordinator, Tukwila School District, Tukwila, WA

I've got new administrators that have started and who need to get acclimated quickly. This week I onboarded our new Director of Special Education. I created a shared Google Drive (we are a Google district) and uploaded Forms, CBA's, Salary Schedules, HR hiring process, job descriptions and other resources that I believe she would need. I also created a spreadsheet showing her staff (both indirect and direct) and their status. Although all these resources are available to all our administrators, I wanted to assemble them in one space for her as a "gentle entry" into the district.
I created an Agenda and scheduled a Google Meeting (1.5 hours) with both the new Director and her admin person and we went over the resources using Google Meetings and sharing my screen.

Michele Stephens, Director of Human Resources, Rockdale County Public Schools, Conyers, GA 

This is the first year that we used electronic contracts, including an electronic signature via Adobe Megasign. We have also participated, and hosted one, virtual job fair.  Those have not been as fruitful as the face to face job fairs, but we have met a few strong candidates that way.

We sent new hires links to schedule meetings via Microsoft Bookings, links to YouTube videos to address some housekeeping issues (i.e. certification), salary and benefits. We also changed almost all of our “onboarding packet” to forms that we could send out to new hires digitally.  The candidates’ information was already there, and it really simplified things to send out this packet once we nailed down what needed to be in there.

Shay Williamson, Director of Human Resources, Madison County Schools, Madison, MS

Our team had a sound process for onboarding employees, and then Covid19 occurred. Our HR team members were anxious about receiving our new employees to complete their application process; specifically, the close proximity that is required for conducting background checks. We also did not want to effect the safety or the operations of our District Office. My assistant director, Allison Rhodes, and I began to walk the grounds of our facility and talked about how we could think outside of the box to accomplish our department goals. We walked through the District Office warehouse and rediscovered a space that could be accessed easily by visitors and ensure the safety of everyone. We asked our maintenance department to help design and create Plexiglas barriers, ordered touchless thermometers, and transformed our process. After watching an AASPA webinar conducted by the Gallup group, I knew that ensuring trust would be a huge factor for this success of this effort. At the bottom of our agenda I posted a note reassuring our guests that we also were “Fever Free” and had not been ill prior to attending onboarding. On our exit tickets I requested specific feedback on how we did. To date, ALL of the feedback has been positive. Additionally, I strongly believe that by my staff selecting the role they felt most comfortable fulfilling, they felt empowered by becoming part of the solution. This process has made all the difference in our approach to a safe return.

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Be sure to check out AASPA members benefits for onboarding/offboarding checklists as apart of our resource bank. Not a member? Go to https://www.aaspa.org/member-benefits for a full list of benefits and join today.