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I'm just a girl in the world.. that kind of likes to write. Mom of 2 teen girls & work as Talent Attraction & Marketing professional. Oh, & I'm addicted to my phone, Social Media, HR/Talent Marketing & Caffeine... you can learn more about me at www.linkedin.com/in/theonecrystal

Adoption at #Work Checklist & #SmallBizSat

It was National Adoption Day last Saturday and it got me thinking.  Many people don’t even know there is such a day; of course, if they’re not adopted or are in someway connected to adoption… why would they?  As someone who was adopted and have recently formed a relationship with a biological sister who was also adopted into another family; it’s a day I do know.  I spent this past Saturday with her and it got me thinking about another kind of adoption – one we all go through – at work, with new hires.  You can read more about the back-story in that blog here.

But it led me to think about the reasons why the on-boarding experience can be such a mess for some newly adopted employees & their ‘parent’ companies.  I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of a checklist.  When you go to adopt a child, there’s a process involved.. a timeline that first preps you for the decided need.  In fact, you actually don’t get the ‘new addition’ until somewhere in the middle of the timeline; and then there’s more work to do afterward.   While larger companies often have at least a decent process for bringing on new hires to the company; over the years I’ve seen that its something that often gets put on the “B” or “C” priority list with  smaller companies.  Good intentions, but tends to get pushed aside to deal with more “pressing” issues.   A common sentiment I hear from Clients during our assessment consultation has been, “We didn’t really think there was just that much to it.  You need a person, you find a person, they start working and we all get back to business.”   If only it were just that simple, right??

Managing the Talent within your Company,  in all phases of the employee life-cycle, is a business within itself.  That’s why we have HR Departments; with many functions within that… such as  Recruiting & Talent Management…  to manage those processes.  But, in what’s my “HR Nod” to Small Business Saturday; you don’t have to have a large, highly-matrixed organization to create a process to ensure that your newest “Adoptees” don’t end up wondering if they really just became ‘wards of the state.’  If you already have a process in place and are diligently following it for the betterment of your business; that’s fantastic!  If not, here’s a template you can use, modeled after the timeline used for family adoptions; albeit on a shorter timeline.  After all, our employees ARE our work family, right??

Adoption at Work

Within each Time Block, We Will Cover Expected Objective & Financial Impact


  • Analyze Workforce Production Needs:  This may include doing some workforce planning.  Minimal Cost unless an external OD/TM Consultant is needed.
  • Analyze Current Departmental/Team Needs:  Look at Personalities, determine skills  gaps, & make-up of existing EEs.
  • Needs Profile:  Use data from analyzing production & team needs to create profile of needs & create/adjust job description as needed.
  • Set Salary Band/Range for Position:  What’s the budget for this position (salary & benefits) & how does it compare to market compensation?   Costs:  Potentially Cost for Competitive Compensation Survey; up to $3500 depending on service used & detail of data in report.
  • Determine Hire Type:  Also, talk w/ other departments to look for internal talent for internal mobility.  Cost:  Replacement Fill cost if internal transfer is made.


  • Choose Recruiting Partners:  Align w/ your overall Recruitment Strategy.  Costs can be significant.
  • Create any necessary Talent Marketing Collateral:  Costs can be modest- to- significant.
  • Determine Internal/External  Communication Process:  Choose 1-2 partners if working w/ external firms to minimize message confusion & employment brand dilution. Advertising Costs ($0-$1k)
  • Set Feedback system & Create Interview Time Slots:  Gain commitment to “set-in-stone” from Interview Participants.  Nothing can spoil a Candidate’s excitement level faster than feeling like you believe your time is more important than theirs & standing them up on an interview.  Much like missing a Court-appointed Home Study? This is something you don’t get away with more than maybe once without significant repercussions.    Cost:  Potential Search Fee (0%-30% of salary; potential retainer payment schedule or engagement fee to initiate search)


  • Begin Recruiting Process:   Source Candidates-  Identify, Attract, Evaluate  – Cost:  Fee for Sourcing Tools Used (0-$3500/mo)

WEEKS 10-12

  • Conduct 1st Round Interviews & Continue Sourcing.  Cost:   Minimal;  Cost of Video Interviews if applicable.
  • Provide Post-Interview Follow-Up.  Just as we tell Candidates to send a “Thank You Note” after interviews?  At a minimum, the primary Hiring Manager or someone from the Hiring Team should thank the candidate, as well.  HR should make a point of engaging candidate in Talent Pool/Community as applicable.  Cost:  Minimal; Potentially Postage Costs if Mailed.

WEEKS 12-15

  • Refine Recruiting Pipeline:  Conduct 2nd Round Interviews for Candidates Advancing from 1st Round Interviews.  Cost:  Minimal; Cost of Video Interviews if appl.
  • Conduct 1st & 2nd Round Interviews for Candidates Identified Late in Sourcing Timeline.  Cost:   Minimal; Cost of Video Interviews if appl.
  • Assess Candidates’ Interview Performance:   Evaluate, Offer Conduct Testing (behavioral, skills, drug, background checks, etc) Nominal ($35-$500) per candidate
  • Provide Feedback to All Candidates who have participated in Interviews.   If lengthy interview process, provide updates every 5-10 days.  Cost:  Minimal, Potential Postage if Mailed.
  • Formulate Offers for Top 3 Candidates.  In an ideal world and with proper fact-finding through the recruiting process; our “Top Candidate” will ideally accept an offer.  But, you don’t want to be back to square one  if for whatever reason the offer is rejected.  Cost:  Minimal; Potentially FedEx costs
  • Offer Extension Start w/ Top Candidate:   Should be a “Once & Done” Event; but if rejected, move to Second Candidate & so on. Studies have shown Counter-Offer Candidates have higher-turnover; so I tend to recommend leading w/ your best & final offer.

WEEKS 13-15

  • Resignation/Retention Period:  The “Time Between” Offer & Start – Keep Contact w/ New “Adoptee” of your Company.
  • Help w/ resignation letter (suggest sites, templates, resources).  Have Manager call the night before resignation & at end of work day when resignation is given to Candidate’s soon-to-be former Employer.  Cost:   None
  • Order New Business Cards & Send Email Confirmation to Candidate; Send Flowers/Candy/Welcome Gift to Home to Engage Candidate’s Family/Further Strengthen Candidate Relationship.  THIS IS BEFORE START DATE OCCURS.  Nominal ($0-$250)
  • Order Desk Supplies & Set Up New Workspace/Office  before Candidate’s First Day.  Cost:  Varies by Company & Workspace
WEEKS 15-20
  • Placement / 1st Day:   Assign an “Office Buddy”  to help acclimate new hire. This is not a supervisor.  Cost:  Nominal, $100  coffee/lunch
  • Orientation:  Spend time orienting your new “work family member” with the Office.  This means the team, where things are located, how things are done w/in the dept… as well as any team schedules and/or “quirks” the new hire should be aware of.  Cost:  Depends on orientation program.  Varies from no cost to cost to create “gamified” orientation; this is an excellent time to bring a little fun to the on-boarding process by using a QR or AR program for your employees (1).
  •  Training:  Explain any training program and associated schedule.  Set expectations of the new hire’s work-flow & what they will be doing in the first 30 days.  Cost:   Any Formalized Program Cost
  • Set Feedback/Coaching Sessions w/ Management; barring emergency, ensure that these meetings will be kept by management.  This should be dedicated time to focus on your new Employee & how you treat these meetings will send a clear message of how important you deem this member of your team.  Try to minimize distractions & interruptions if at all possible & leave each meeting with action steps to do before next meeting.  Cost:  Minimal, potentially lunch or coffee depending on meeting time.
  • Receive invoice for & Pay any applicable Search Fees.      Cost:  Established in Weeks 4-5
  • Feedback:  At the end of 30 days, conduct a 2-layer feedback session w/ new hire.   1st layer Manager; 2nd layer HR.  Cost:  Minimal; cost of any formal  feedback program.
  • Review Training Progress, Schedule Con’t Training if needed for next 30 days.  Repeat process until new hire is completely integrated & check for fit at day 45 and 75.  Cost:  Minimal.

While not all steps will apply for each search & some organizations will be able to move through this general timeline at quicker paces than what’s been laid out above; regardless of how quickly you’re able to achieve the hire?  As the timeline shows, this process continues on well past a “new adoptee’s” start date.  And just like when a new child joins a family; there’s a frequent care schedule that must be observed to ensure there’s a well-adjusted environment in place so an employee can thrive.   But, just like when you adopt a child, if you’re committed to the process & keep the end in mind; then your new “adoption” should be a positive event for your ‘Work Family.’

(1) If this is a program that you’d like to utilize for your employees, let’s talk & I can refer appropriate providers.

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3 Comments on “Adoption at #Work Checklist & #SmallBizSat”

  1. Mike Kunkle (@Mike_Kunkle) 11/26/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Crystal, that’s a phenomenal primer for anyone who wants to do this important work well. And sadly, so many are missing the mark. Kudos for laying it all out there. Mike

  2. TheOneCrystal 11/27/2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Mike, thanks – a lot! It’s funny, I read back through it and think “Oh, what about this? Or, oh what about that?” But, it’s a good starting ground, I think… 🙂

  3. David Lee 11/28/2011 at 6:15 pm #


    Love the concept. I did a fellowship with a company in 2006 and my introduction was short and sweet. I knew very little about the business but at least had a sponsor I could ask questions. It was apparent though that the company did very little to welcome new members to their family and you offer a great concept.

    The Army had a problem with retention in the late 90s and early 2000s. In informal survey’s I have done with veterans throughout the years I have found a high correlation to retention and those who had a positive experience in their first assignment. As a result, when I was in charge of a 625 Soldier unit I ran a 10 day orientation program to teach new officers things they hadn’t learned in their officer basic training program. They were not assigned to a unit with Soldiers until it was complete…no matter what. If we had to do field training, they did the program in the field. This kept them from embarrassing themselves. Did it keep more in the Army? I don’t know. Did they appreciate it? Yes.

    What made our program a success? I had other junior officers with a year in the unit develop the program. My only guidance. Include everything you wish you had known before you stepped in front of a group of Soldiers. We continuously updated the program based on feedback from those who attended and those who worked with the new officers.

    To make this “adoption” process successful, in my opinion, it is best to develop as a committee.


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