Employee Onboarding
March 2022 - December 2022

Sponsor: Institutional Effectiveness Council

Project Background and Need (Why is the project necessary?)

American River College has embarked upon a holistic redesign intended to transform the student experience.  This experience is highly dependent upon the expertise, abilities, and soft skills displayed by all employees of the college.  Regardless of whether an employee is directly interacting with students (e.g., instructional faculty and front-line staff) or indirectly influencing those interactions (e.g., maintenance and back office staff), each employee contributes to the overall experience.  In light of this reality, ARC Strategic Goal #3 calls for “comprehensive and integrated professional development” in order to “create the best conditions for teaching and learning.”  Additionally, the institution has developed its first institutional equity plan which highlights employee development needs in support of the ARC commitment to social justice and equity.


This project is proposed to provide a venue for immediate employee onboarding planning and as a means to document recommendations that align with the Professional Development and Training Plan .  As a whole, this type of plan recognizes a college’s employee base as a valuable resource and is intended to determine how to best foster an environment that promotes employee onboarding as a necessary initial component of employee development and retention in support of the college mission.

Project Purpose and Scope (What is the project expected to encompass? What are the boundaries?)

This project will consider employee onboarding as a strategic mechanism to enable the college to achieve its strategic goals. The project team is expected to carefully consider how the college might best create a comprehensive, integrated, and intentionally sequenced employee onboarding model in support of the following goals:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Students First
  • Strategic Goal 3: Exemplary Working and Learning Environment
  • Strategic Goal 4: Vibrancy and Resiliency

Underlying all of these goals is the institutional imperative: a commitment to social justice and equity that strives to uphold the dignity and humanity of every student and employee.

The project will consider questions such as:

  • How can institutional employee onboarding be structured to foster growth of employees in different locations, different career stages, different job functions, different racial, tribal, and intersectional identities, different constituencies, and who have different learning preferences?
  • How can new employee training ensure that incoming hires are not only prepared for their individual job function, but also are prepared to effectively support ARC goals and participate effectively in the ARC college environment? 
  • How can recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan related to professional development and the Professional Development and Training Plan be brought to life?
  • How can we ensure that training occurs as needed for employees across constituencies? 
  • Which resources (internal and external) are available and needed to provide a comprehensive, integrated program of professional development?

The charge of the project team is limited to the planning process including steps such as assessment, analysis, strategy design, and developing recommendations.  Actual implementation of an employee onboarding model and strategies are beyond the scope of work. 

Project Objectives (What is the project expected to achieve?)

Successful completion of this project is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Gather resources to inform the planning process such as initial insights from the Institutional Equity Plan , input from members of disproportionately impacted communities, disproportionate impact data, promising practices from other institutions, and other relevant research
  2. Assess the recent history and current state of ARC and LRCCD practices related to employee onboarding, such as the New Faculty Academy
  3. Consider the employee onboarding process in alignment with the recommendations of the Professional Development and Training plan
  4. Assess practices and efforts at the College that pose barriers to an effective employee onboarding model
  5. Project the future needs of an employee onboarding model considering the ARC Redesign, the current and future demographics of our students, disproportionate impact data and current and historical equity gaps, and the rapidly changing environment
  6. Identify clear priorities for employee onboarding designed to close equity gaps for Black, African American, Latinx/e, Native American, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ students at ARC
  7. Develop recommendations that are actionable

Project Deliverables (What items will be produced during the project?)

Deliverables to be completed and/or submitted for approval:

Draft a recommended employee onboarding model that will do the following:

  1. Identify clear priorities for employee onboarding at ARC designed to close equity gaps for Black, African American, Latinx/e, Native American, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ students
  2. Identify barriers to effective employee onboarding that currently exist at ARC 
  3. Develop a common set of information, skills and knowledge expected of all new employees of the college designed to close equity gaps for Black, African American, Latinx/e, Native American, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ students
  4. Develop specific sets of information, skills and knowledge required of each constituency group (e.g. classified professionals, faculty, administrators, student help).
  5. Recommend specific actions to implement onboarding for each of the constituent groups (e.g. classified professionals, faculty, administrators, student help).

Success Indicators (How will success be measured or determined?)

The project will be considered successful when:

  1. A draft report containing an employee onboarding plan has been completed
  2. Actionable recommendations are identified in the report
  3. A draft of recommendations is considered through established governance channels
  4. The adopted recommendations are available to serve as a roadmap for institutional employee onboarding efforts

All of these indicators can be thoroughly accomplished through completion of the stated project objectives.

Project Assumptions (What conditions are believed to exist?)

The project team was authorized based on the following assumptions:


  • ARC’s mission, strategic goals, and commitment to social justice and equity and the value of inclusion are central to this work.
  • Training is needed across constituency groups for the College to be able to reduce disproportionate impact on African American, Latinx, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, and LGBTQIA+ students.   
  • New training needs will accompany much of the anticipated work of the ARC Redesign.
  • The higher education environment and the world of work are both changing extremely rapidly. Coping with change is a necessary strand of community college onboarding and professional development.
  • Expertise may need to be obtained through a variety of internal and external opportunities that have varying associated costs. While it is recognized that available resources are limited, the team’s focus should be placed on designing an effective model. The team is also encouraged to provide options and alternatives that may be aligned to future resource constraints. 
  • In order to effectively realize the goals of ARC’s strategic plan, this project should consider a model appropriate for various types of employees, including the dynamics of supporting a mobile workforce.
  • Recommendations should consider an employee onboarding model that builds internal capacity (e.g., train the trainer) and provides just-in-time learning resources as well as ongoing development.
  • The proposed deliverables will be developed in a manner that supports the intent of accreditation standard III.A.14 which reads “The institution plans for and provides all personnel with appropriate opportunities for continued professional development, consistent with the institutional mission and based on evolving pedagogy, technology, and learning needs. The institution systematically evaluates professional development programs and uses the results of these evaluations as the basis for improvement.” 
  • The content, style, and format of the plan should be concise and accessible to the average person (not written for an academic audience).

Project Risks, Constraints, or Dependencies (What factors might impact the project? How might the project intersect with the internal or external environment including other projects?)

The project team should be aware of the following known risks, constraints, and/or dependencies:

  • Priorities will need to be aligned to the overarching framework of the Institutional Equity Plan
  • This project needs to align with work involving the implementation of the Professional Development and Training plan
  • The project needs to align with employee onboarding efforts provided by the District
  • The implementation of recommendations may be subject to resource constraints.

Other Considerations (What are the anticipated implications related to equity and inclusion; research and data; district policies and regulations; district and/or college-wide practices; college-wide cross-functional relationships; and resource needs such as staffing, workload, technology, and space/facilities?)

  • Various implications are likely related to equity and inclusion in response to the recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan. 
  • Various implications are likely related to district and/or existing college-wide practices related to employee onboarding.
  • Opportunities may exist to partner with HR in the development of the employee onboarding model.
  • There may be staffing, technology, and/or facility needs related to the provision of an employee onboarding model.  
  • Data collection and analysis is likely to be needed to determine the effectiveness of the recommended employee onboarding model once implemented.

Project Timeline/Key Milestones

Standard Description of Project Stages

Project Stages Description
Initiation Activities leading to the authorization and chartering of a project team
Preparation Activities which occur once a team is authorized and can be conducted independently to plan, schedule, and setup the project (project management steps)
Team-Based Work Activities which occur in a collaborative environment in which the project team works based on the scope of the charter
Formal Review Activities by which deliverables are submitted to the sponsoring council for formal approval; may involve a sequence of governance review including ELT and/or other entities; formal review may result in acceptance of the deliverables; request for the project team to revisit the design/refinement stages; or abandonment of the project
Closure Activities to celebrate the success of the project and archive the artifacts of the work completed

Planned Governance Flow of Deliverables

Project Stakeholders (Who has a vested interest in the project? Who will it impact?)

Communication Plan (How will information be shared with the stakeholders?)

Based on the previously stated stakeholder list, the general plan for sharing project information is as follows:

Conflict Resolution

Any matter of significance which cannot be resolved by the project leads may be referred to the appropriate administrator (typically the chair of the sponsoring council) or to the President's Executive Staff (PES). Any significant change in charter scope will require approval of a revised charter by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

Project Membership

Project Organization, Roles, and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Project Leads
  • Prepares, leads, and follows up on meetings (see details of the Role of the Chair in the ARC Governance Framework)
  • Communicates the project to various stakeholders, and when appropriate, solicits feedback on dradt deliverables through informal review processes
  • Submits the final deliverables to the sponsoring council for approval
Project Steward
(may be one of the leads or a separate individual)
  • Manages the project on behalf of the sponsoring council
  • Drafts the charter in consultation with the sponsoring council's chairs
  • Conducts preliminary research to gather information on promising practices, product options, or other relevant materials to inform the project
  • Develops a work plan based on the charter to organize, sequence, and schedule the work of the project team within the available time frame
  • Reports progress to the sponsoring council
  • Maintains and archives project documentation at the conclusion of the project
  • Assists the project leads as needed
Team Members
  • Participates in all project meetings and activities
  • Supplies valuable knowledge and perspective (often based on the individual's responsibilities or role at ARC)
  • May be assigned specific project tasks to complete outside of project meetings
  • Assists with the "heavy lifting" that is required to accomplish the project deliverables
External Consultant
  • Provides expertise and assistance from an external (non-ARC) perspective
Executive Sponsor
Large, high-impact projects only:
  • Champions the project from the executive level to secure buy-in and ensure viability
  • Communicates project purpose and vision
  • Allocates appropriate resources to support effective development, execution, and institutionalization
  • Maintains awareness of project status and helps mitigate risk
  • Mediates conflicts and facilitates dialogue to resolve project issues
  • Assumes other responsibilities as appropriate based on the project scope

Student Participation

The student voice contributes a diverse perspective to ARC project teams and is highly valued. As project teams have widely varied meeting schedules which can require a substantial time commitment, a flexible set of options have been defined to ensure that project dialogue and deliverables are influenced by the student perspective.
Please check one or more boxes below that indicate the methods the project lead/co-lead intend to use to facilitate student participation during this project.
Method Description Compensated?
ASB Appointment Associated Student Body (ASB) appoints two students to serve on the project team and attend all meetings. This option is considered the standard method of representation. Yes
Student Resource Panel In consultation with ASB, create a student resource panel that is called upon by the project lead/co-lead to provide student input at key points during the project. The resource panel may be an existing group of students (e.g., Sages) or a temporarily formed group assigned to the project. Yes
ASB Direct Involvement Lead/co-leads work directly with ASB to be placed on an ASB agenda, present the project concept, and solicit input from students during a regularly scheduled ASB meeting. No
Student Survey or Focus Group Project conducts a student survey or focus group through the Institutional Research Office and uses the results to inform the work of the project team. No, but incentives may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Student Forum or Gallery Walk Project holds a student forum or gallery walk during which large groups of students can provide input in response to narrative or visual prompts. ASB would be asked to assist in publicizing the date/time of the event to the student constituency. No
Other (please specify intended methods) TBD – methods for collecting input from the college as a whole (including students) are yet to be determined