Masterclass Recap: Onboarding, Part Two

HINGE’s all-star team, Kathy Ligon and Kathe Petchel, were back at it again for July’s THRIVE Masterclass—continuing our conversation on staff retention and onboarding practices.


After sharing a quick recap of June’s Onboarding: Part One webinar, Kathe shared her recommended reading for the month: Workplace Wellness that Works by Laura Putnam. The book speaks about bringing positivity into the workplace and encouraging wellness as a perk for your staff. Some great ideas Kathe brought to the discussion—inspired by fellow childcare business owners—included hosting an essential oils party for staff, encouraging the use of oils to reduce staff stress or alleviate headaches, and gifting Fitbits to staff while hosting a step challenge at your center. Another great idea was hosting an activities week or sports day and videoing the event as a marketing tool to show off the staff culture at your school. All great and affordable ideas to improve staff retention—especially when the cost of turnover ranges between $5,000 to $8,000.

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After covering pre-start to day 7 in June’s webinar, Kathe picked up where she left off with the Four Stages of a Team (see right-hand graphic).

Days 8 to 21: Possible Storming Beginning to Develop
Your new hire should be developing their work habits at this point. It is important to mentor and evaluate them constantly to make sure they’re being put to their best use and are being placed in the correct classroom. Pay attention to their sign-out logs (as introduced in Part One) daily and be responsive to any day ranked at a 7 or below. It is important that the new hire know you are engaged in his/her wellbeing at work. At your Day 21 check-up meeting, you may notice storming attitudes starting to reveal themselves. This just means it is time to cement the relationship.

Days 22 to 30: Storming Stage and Continued Training
Entering into the STORM stage, it is important to keep the new hire busy and continue their training—making sure competencies are progressing. If progress is slow, consider switching out trainer and/or mentor. Continuous check-ins are key to seeing how the new hire is doing and feeling—and always ask what you can do to help. This is also a great time to check their ‘willing and able’ meter, especially when more complaints and negativity are revealed in the Storming stage. By the Day 30 check-in session, any issues from the Day 21 meeting should be resolved. If not, this is a good time to coach up or coach out.

Days 31 to 60: Competencies are Developing and We’ve Entered the Norming Stage
After fine-tuning issues from your Day 30 meeting (pay rate, expanded duties, work schedule, etc.), it is important to begin giving constructive feedback using short or long evaluations. Kathe recommends a 360 Feedback system wherein the new hire receives confidential, anonymous feedback from the staff working around them—including their peers and managers. Kathe also recommends regular staff meetings to let the new staff member know that you care about their input and opinions. More personal, one-on-one meetings should also take place at this stage as well to pick the hire’s brain for their career goals and individual dreams—this shows them that you care about them as a person as well as an employee.

Days 61 to 90 – Becoming a Contributing Team Member in the PERFORM Stage
The new hire’s probationary period is now complete. Depending on their growth and progress, you can gift them with a small raise or added benefit. Their job role and responsibilities should now be well-defined and you can begin career ladder meetings with them as well as begin to keep track of their quarterly goals.

For more tips and tricks, watch the entire, one-hour recording of the Onboarding, Part Two THRIVE Masterclass here.

Meredith Martin