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Your employees' first year in the disability sector

A woman leans over a senior woman using a wheelchair. They both smile at eachother.

Key benefits

  • To encourage a thorough onboarding process for new employees and volunteers to forge connections and increase engagement
  • To encourage opportunities to discuss future career pathways with employees and how they can be supported. Increased quality of workforce management leading to increased worker retention

Who is this for?

HR Managers, Team Leaders, People and Culture Leads, Senior Managers and CEOs in Disability Services. 

Your employees first year in the disability sector

Prior to starting

Contact new employees before they start work to get administrative issues organised. Provide them with information about location, start time and what to expect on the first day. HR paperwork to request:

  • Working with Children Check, if applicable
  • NDIS Clearance Check (if needed, attend the workplace for support to complete the NDIS Check)
  • Other paperwork such as tax file number, bank details, police check etc. that your organisation may require

Before the first day

  • Send an e-mail to everyone in the workplace so they can welcome new recruits
  • Set up an ergonomic workspace
  • Ensure all IT equipment working (provide contact information for IT support)
  • Provide induction materials and training resources
  • Ensure access to intranet, email, databases and shared drives
  • Access to relevant software, e.g. MS Office Suites

The first week

A thorough onboarding process can go a long way to having new employees forge connections and increase engagement. It can make them feel welcome as they integrate into organisation culture and contribute to their work and teams.

  • Meet and greet (online and/or in person)
  • Provide an overview of the workplace culture to set the tone of the organisation, e.g., mission and goals, social gatherings, team building opportunities.
  • Provide clear lines of support, line management and supervision structures
    • Assign a buddy from the same team for first 3 months – discuss common challenges people face in their roles and how to manage them.

Consider how this may look if onboarding is being undertaken remotely:

Month One to Two

Build a network:

Networking helps employees gain a better understanding of what types of roles are available within an organisation and possible career advancement opportunities. It makes them feel welcome and increases overall engagement and productivity.

  • Provide informal and formal networking opportunities to learn names and roles of colleagues, particular their immediate team. Particularly where they normally work one off and off site
  • Consider staff training days where your team comes together for in-house training and team building for core staff

Questions to explore with your new employees over one to two months:

  • Do you feel supported in your position? What else could be done to support you?
  • Do you have any questions about the hierarchy or function of the organisation?
  • Do you have any questions about what is expected of you in your role?
  • Encouraging workers to provide feedback to their supervisor and raise things where they have questions or concerns
  • Is there anything else we could have done to better support you in since you joined the organisation?
  • Review the onboarding process with them and make adjustments for the future new staff if required

Month Three to Six

At this point the probation period is likely completed. When you conduct the probation review, you have the opportunity to set the tone for their next 12 months and learn what is important to them. Things that you will likely want to cover:

  • Seeking feedback from your employees about how they are going and continue to work on progressing and supporting their goals, and whether they want to make any new ones
  • Consider on-the-job training opportunities to further strengthen your employees’ skills which could also help them progress within the organisation. This is an opportunity to discuss strengths and future career pathways, remembering that continuing in a job you enjoy is one option in a career path
  • Check in to see if they feel like they still need their buddy (if yes, consider reducing frequency)
  • Any other support or guidance they would find useful

Month Six to Twelve

  • Check on whether employment benefits are being utilised and they aware of the EAP program.
  • Encourage team building with both formal and informal activities where possible
  • Encourage each manager schedules regular check-ins with their team members
  • Have a career conversation and record so the supervisor and worker can come back to it as a reminder. Conversation starters:
    • What do you love about your work
    • What do you not enjoy doing or find difficult
    • Thinking ahead two years, where would you like to see yourself
    • What can be both do to help you achieve this goal
  • Now they have a years’ experience, explore whether they would be interested in becoming buddies themselves
Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Lourdes Zamanillo, Senior Policy and Project Officer, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number