On-boarding Staff Process

As a hiring manager or leader, there are two reasons you might need to review this post:

1.) You don’t hire new employees often, so you have no system and can’t easily remember all the steps that need to take place each time you do have an opportunity to hire someone.

2.) You’re hiring a lot of new employees, so you need a system and documentation to keep the on-boarding steps consistent.

The goal is to make sure everyone is doing their part to welcome and prepare for new employees. Being prepared on day one and having an orientation in place says a lot to the new employee about your church or organization.

On and Off-Boarding 

On-boarding and Orientation Task sheets need to have the tasks a new employee will need in the first six months. On ones I’ve created I have headings of: Before they arrive;  First day; Week one; First month; and 120 days. (At the bottom of this post I’ve listed examples of tasks to include on yours.)

The goals is for those we assign these tasks to is to  complete the task in the time frame (“before they arrive, first day,” etc). You need to determine which key departments and/or persons need to receive the first e-mail, alerting the staff of a new employee’s anticipated arrival. Then, those people review it to see what they’re responsible for making happen.

This document can be online shared document o so the person responsible can easily see and then mark off what they’ve done. and can be as simple as the person in charge keeping a document and emailing out assignments.

I think it’s also helpful to show the new employee the actual on-boarding sheet. This way they can see what will be done for them, or downloaded to them, and they also can see who they’ll be interacting with for the task.

An on-boarding document can be very simple and only have a few tasks, or it can scale to a very complex matrix of all that a new employee will need to be exposed to as they begin at your church. Start simple, and as you discover more needed and repetitive tasks, add to it.

I’m also a fan of an off-boarding document. It serves the church and the person leaving. It can include things like “Remove them from website,” “return keys and church credit card,” “complete exit interview,” and of course, “host a party.”

A good on and off boarding system will allow your church to not miss any important details, be consistent from employee to employee, and help a supervisor to not have to start at ground zero each time (“what do I have to do with a new employee?”

Sample on-boarding tasks:

  • Communicate to church the new arrival
  • Order needed tools for them (business cards, computer, furniture, etc)
  • Prepare personnel paperwork for them to complete on day one
  • Make buildings keys
  • Provide key dates for them to be involved in for first 60 days
  • Add them to New Member Class invite
  • Set-up key meetings (1:1 with pastor, ministry leaders)
  • Take picture and write bio for website
  • Establish goals for day 60 and 120
  • Order church credit card
  • Provide them access and training for Church Management System
  • Provide tour of buildings


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Problem Solvers Need Not Apply

We don’t need more problem solvers. What we do need are more problem avoiders.

As a leader, what if you were effective enough to solve problems before they even presented themselves?

Like many leaders, in an interview for my current position, I remarked that I was a “problem solver.” I thought this was a good skill. However, I’ve come to find out that my supervisor (Jim Baker @sacredstructure) believes that problem avoiders are more valuable than problem solvers. And I’ve come to that same belief.

Problem-avoidance begins with asking the what, where, when, why, who, and how questions (5 W’s) in advance of initiatives.

Doing the five things below, in a systematic, strategic, and preventive way, will lead to problem-avoidance:

  1. Get perspective from others.
  2. Consider possible problems in the planning stage.
  3. Consider the pitfall possibilities in the initiative’s implementation.
  4. Ask the “5 W” interrogative questions at each stage of initiative roll-out.
  5. Always evaluate (post-mortem autopsy) your work and ministries.

Regularly engaging these five simple exercises will lessen the amount of time you spend problem-solving and improve your leadership skills in problem-avoidance.


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The Best Kind of Encouragement

“I was talking to Nancy the other day, and she was bragging about how well you’ve been ministering to the Smith family through their crisis. Well done!”

Third-party encouragement can be the best kind of encouragement.

Typically, triangulation has a negative connotation. But when you can triangulate someone in encouragement, you can actually multiply the compliment.

As a leader, this requires you to listen for those times when people are bragging on others. This can happen by waiting on coffee in the break room, skimming social media updates, or asking your direct supervisors who’s doing exceptional work.

Then, it takes some personal initiative. Make a point to send those people notes, or stop by their offices and compliment them.  Telling them you’ve heard others complimenting their work is a central part of the third-party encouragement only you can provide.

To the recipients, it communicates that their bosses (or others) are proud enough of their work to discuss it openly, and that the “big boss” thought it was important enough to repeat back to them.

Multiply the blessing.

Praise with collateral impact.

Third-party encouragement will make your employees’ or volunteers’ day, and maybe even their week.

Long live encouragement-triangulation.

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