How Digital Onboarding Helps You Retain Your Teachers: Onboarding Best Practices for K-12

Caroline Chessia | August 29, 2023

You hired a group of great new teachers, but now the school year is coming up and you have to onboard them. You know that effective onboarding programs can increase teacher retention rates up to 93%, so you want to make sure you’re using the best practices for onboarding new teachers. 

The best onboarding process is a smooth and easy process that welcomes new teachers at the same time as you collect paperwork and feedback. Combining new onboarding technologies and old traditions (like a mentor program) helps you onboard effectively so you can retain all those amazing teachers for your students.

What’s Wrong with New Hire Onboarding?

Your onboarding and orientation process is the first impression (beyond the interview) that new teachers will have of your school. Current onboarding practices are manual, leaving opportunities for important tasks to fall through the cracks. In some schools, it requires new teachers to shuttle back and forth between their school and the central district or school board building. 

US school districts lose $8.5 billion annually on teacher turnover. And part of those billions can be salvaged with a good onboarding program. But before you can improve your onboarding process, let’s see common pain points:

  • Manual paperwork processing. Gathering new teachers in a room to fill out their paperwork is a waste of onboarding time. If your school only has a few onboarding days before the term starts, try remote onboarding.
  • Time spent collecting and reviewing paperwork. Administrators spend a lot of time tracking, collecting, and processing paperwork. Many schools use a manual process for this – documenting all information on an Excel spreadsheet, but this can lead to long processing times and the possibility for human error.
  • Disconnect: The lack of centralized information makes it challenging for new teachers to feel connected to the district’s mission and culture. It can also be isolating completing paperwork and trying to plan for classes without a mentor.

Teacher Onboarding Best Practices

Here are a few ways you can embrace flexibility in onboarding while fostering connection and making sure you aren’t letting any required paperwork fall through the cracks.

Improve the paperwork process with digital onboarding

Digital platforms offer a centralized repository for all documents, reducing the chance for error. Administrators and teachers alike benefit from streamlined access to documents. Having a central platform for documentation saves valuable time that can be redirected towards more meaningful tasks.

Use on demand videos to collect feedback post-onboarding

On demand video interviews provide a channel for new teachers to share their experiences, concerns, and insights. Using video interviewing software makes it easier for larger school boards & school districts to collect feedback. HR administrators can review all new teacher feedback and respond in a timely manner, without having to coordinate times to visit each school. 

Show your school culture through your onboarding materials

Recorded videos featuring school leaders, students, and the district’s values offer new teachers an immersive introduction to their new environment. Hiring for new teachers begins in the spring, and those new hires sometimes won’t visit the school again until they begin professional development. 

The visual connection through recorded videos of the school, fellow teachers, and students helps new teachers resonate with the school’s culture, making them feel more integrated and motivated to contribute positively.

One school district uses interviewstream’s recorded videos to introduce point people to new teachers. They create different “teacher/administrator spotlights” to show new hires what a day in the life at their school looks like. 

Cultivate connections between new teachers and experienced teachers

Create a mentor system within your school. Pair new teachers with experienced colleagues who can provide guidance, support, and a safe space to ask questions. Having a point person eases the transition, reduces feelings of isolation, and helps as new teachers navigate a new work environment.

Automate communication leading up to onboarding

The power of an organized and simple onboarding process can’t be overstated. Automated workflows ensure that tasks, forms, and checklists progress seamlessly through the onboarding process. With due dates and auto-reminders, new teachers can confidently submit required documentation on time, without administrative nudging.

Your Digital Onboarding Checklist

To address the challenges of traditional onboarding, schools can use these solutions in their onboarding process:

  • Record videos of school principals, teachers, and students to welcome new hires to the school and show them your school culture. When: a few weeks after they’ve accepted the offer
  • A digital hiring platform so you can collect all paperwork and have it readily available anytime you need to reference it. When: year round – a digital hiring platform helps you with hiring as well as onboarding
  • Automated messaging to keep on top of paperwork and notifications. When: year round – you can automate messages to candidates, new hires, and continuing teachers that might need to update paperwork
  • A mentorship program so that new teachers will have someone to guide them during their first year and beyond. When: always – and talk to teachers early and often about their interest in becoming mentors
  • On demand videos to collect feedback after 30-60-90 days. When: After their first, second, or third month. And then at the end of the year–schools use on demand interviews to collect end of the year feedback and nominate teachers for teacher awards.

By weaving these digital solutions into your onboarding strategy, schools can pave the way for engaging onboarding experience that addresses the pain points of traditional onboarding while ushering in a new era of efficiency.

Using interviewstream To Onboard New Teachers

In the realm of teacher recruitment and retention, successful onboarding plays a pivotal role. By embracing digital solutions, schools can create a seamless and engaging experience for new teachers. 

One such solution is interviewstream, a video interviewing platform that enhances every step of the onboarding journey. From simplifying paperwork to fostering connection and engagement, interviewstream empowers schools to provide a state-of-the-art onboarding experience. See how you can improve onboarding with interviewstream – schedule a chat with us.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.


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