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Employee onboarding: identification of best practices in ACRL libraries

Jolie O. Graybill (DISC, University of Nebraska‐Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)
Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter (Somerville Public Libraries, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA)
Jerome Offord Jr (Library Services, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, USA)
Mary Piorun (Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
Gary Shaffer (Tulsa City‐County Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 22 February 2013




The purpose of this paper is to identify best practices of employee onboarding, the process by which a new employee is introduced to an organization and its vision, mission, and values.


Researchers requested that members of the Personnel Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) share documents related to employee onboarding and three researchers independently reviewed the documents. The collected documents were compared to the socialization model proposed by Raymond Noe, including the detailed aspects of the organizational phase and the key components identified in the best practices literature.


In total, 17 institutions submitted documentation for review. All institutions discussed at least one or more of the key areas identified in the socialization process. Every institution in the study included a discussion of job expectations and evaluation criteria (100 percent); ten (59 percent) discuss mission, vision, and values; however, topics such as culture (five or 29 percent) and politics (one or 6 percent) were infrequently covered. Onboarding programs varied in length (one week to more than six months). Check lists were the most common tool used to manage the onboarding process. Other notable topics covered include dealing with change, understanding the team‐based environment, diversity, library awards and library fundraising.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the limited number of documents examined in this study, the research results may lack generalisability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further.

Practical implications

Moving from a traditional new employee orientation model to a best‐practices onboarding model will require HR professionals to conduct an internal assessment of the current program.


Due to the high cost associated with recruiting new employees, the need for new employees to be fully functional and engaged as soon as possible, and the need to communicate performance indicators, the need to share best practices is important.



Graybill, J.O., Taesil Hudson Carpenter, M., Offord, J., Piorun, M. and Shaffer, G. (2013), "Employee onboarding: identification of best practices in ACRL libraries", Library Management, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 200-218.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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