I think it's an incredibly clunky term, but it's the term HR folks seem to use. It's the big picture practice of bringing someone new to work in your area.
For us, we're replacing our administration staff person. As I mentioned here and here, our former administrative staff person, the person we hired over the summer, left in December.
Our new person is starting today. I'm very hopeful. They've worked elsewhere on campus, and has a stellar reputation, the sort of reputation where, when someone hears about our hire, they immediately say how lucky we are, and what a great person they are.
Part of the reason I'm hopeful, and even know about "onboarding" is that one of the programs I signed up for after I got the mandate to sign up for "leadership training" was a campus-specific program on hiring. Part of it wasn't that new to me, but part was about "onboarding," and that was super helpful. (I was pretty cynical about this programming going in, but now I'm quite hopeful about the campus specific programs. If they're half as helpful as this one was, I'll be pretty darned happy with them.)
Not only was the program helpful, but at the end, the HR person in charge sent us an "onboarding toolkit for managers" with lists of things to take are of on my end, things to talk about with the new person (like asking what training they need for various duties), and things to put together to ask them to do early on that will give them a sense of success.
So, I put together a couple of folders yesterday: one has several documents that might be helpful, the recently retired administrative staffer's to do list for the year, the chair's duty list and calendar, lists of department members by rank, area, and offices and such. Another has copies of all the stuff our new person will need for scheduling (a major part of this person's duties has to do with scheduling). And the third has a list of relatively easy tasks that they can take care of fairly soon. There was a little bit of filing, and then signing up for a procurement card, and stuff.
Some of all this is easier because the new person has been a campus employee already. So I didn't need to arrange for a campus ID or anything.
What with the hiring, and all the reappointment letters for tenure track colleagues, and so forth, I've been incredibly busy these past few weeks.
Now, I'm a bit behind on grading, but might be able to catch up on that today. And if so, then I'm almost caught up with all the things I should be caught up with.
With no spring break this semester (the administration effort to keep students from traveling to party destinations even though most of our students usually spend spring break pulling extra shifts at their workplace to try to make money, or visiting family, because most of them can't afford a trip to some sunny beach to party), we're all running on empty, on the rivet, or whatever other metaphor you can think of.
I'm hoping to be able to catch my breath a bit on Thursday...