Secrets to Successfully Onboarding New Staff

Everyone wants to get new employees onboard and working effectively with youth as quickly as possible. What does it really take to prepare a new employee to work in out-of-school time programs?

First, let's think of onboarding as a journey, not an event. Research from business tells us that successful onboarding programs are a continuous process that identifies the skills and tools that help employees need to be successful and makes sure everyone on your team has access to these resources. Effective onboarding programs reduce employee turnover and increase program impact.

The first step of the onboarding journey usually involves forms, workplace expectations, and rules – but it doesn't have to stop there. Using technology can make this step easier and give you more time for the important stuff. To really be effective, new staff need to understand the mission of your program, develop their skills, and be coached.

Understanding the Program Mission

OST programs need all their staff to be advocates for their program with parents, teachers, and in the community. You can help your new staff understand your mission by focusing on the impact your program has on youth and families. If you can, share your impact data with new employees – make them your advocates. Let them know that they matter, and their behavior at work impacts participants. The Prepping for Learning staff development guide is a great hands-on experience to help staff understand their role and how they can prepare for learning.

Skills for Out-of-School Time

Even after staff have completed all the required forms, and understand your program mission and their role, there are skills they will need to be successful. Click2SciencePD is all about building the skills that help staff have a positive impact on young people. Consider our web lessons as an easy way for individuals to develop the skills they need. Positive opportunities to bring everyone together for hands-on learning are also important in developing skills. The Everyday STEM staff development guide is a great resource for introducing new, and experienced, staff to why STEM is important and to build their skills in talking to youth about STEM.


Research shows how coaching in out-of-school time programs help staff develop skills that can really only be learned on the job. There are also great strategies for creating your own coaching program that can help your staff reach their full potential. Click2SciencePD has more than twenty coaching resources that help staff develop their skills and tips to help prepare coaches for this new way of learning.

This year, make the onboarding journey for your staff unforgettable with Click2SciencePD.