Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
As a former human resources and business executive, Bev McLean understands the need for employers to have a good onboarding plan and new employee training program.
McLean, now director of career and professional development services at Saint Mary's College of California, also knows that some employers don’t have these programs. To help fill in this gap for her students, she has developed a workshop titled “First 90 Days: Congratulations, You Got the Job! Now What?” that prepares them for their first several months of employment.
“We emphasize the skills that employers are seeking and how the students can obtain those skills,” McLean says.
Employers, she explains, should be interested in developing strong onboarding and training programs.
“A well-planned onboarding program doubles as a great retention strategy,” McLean says. “Employee engagement is also tied to the bottom line. First impressions are critical to keeping new hires around. But while some onboarding and training programs are effective, most are not.”
McLean helps students create their own 90-day onboarding plan, through which they will:
- Develop a key relationship-building strategy with managers, teams, peers, and other departments;
- Uncover the “real” culture and sub-cultures of the organization;
- Talk about setting goals and expectations;
- Build a support system—inside and out; and
- Create an early “win,” which, she notes, is rapidly improving a process or system outright.
For example, the program helps students understand that the importance of communicating effectively with their boss. Early conversations may address the boss’ expectations and style, and key resources and stakeholders. To discuss expectations, McLean suggests new hires start with results by asking the boss:
- What do you absolutely need me to do during the first 90 days?
- What would you like me to do beyond those tasks?
- What would you consider exceptional performance during my first 90 days?
“Companies think of the first 90 days as a ‘probationary’ period for their new hires to see if they will make it in the company,” McLean explains. “This is the amount of time students need to learn the company’s culture and their job. Being prepared for what will happen while they are in college will help them build their brand and reputation, and get off to a successful start.”
McLean has shared the PowerPoint presentation of “First 90 Days” with NACE members through the NACE Community resource library. She encourages others to share their programs and resources through the NACE Community resource library as well.