This research project focussed on the onboarding experiences of newly appointed staff at academic libraries of the following institutions: University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology (Pretoria West Campus), and Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.
The main aim of the study was to investigate the experiences of librarians with regard to the onboarding programmes that they have attended at their respective institutions. The key finding of the research was that newly appointed librarians had different experiences. In spite of the differences there was significant evidence that new librarians can benefit from proper introduction and orientation in their new jobs. The need for onboarding arises from a variety of circumstances ranging from inadequate graduate training to rapidly advancing technology.
The study also recognised the current trend of new generation librarians’ short stay in the job and eventually leaving the profession. Factors contributing to librarians’ perception of onboarding programmes were also studied. It was found that much of the common factors that shape onboarding practices arise from the planning and implementation of the programme. A similar approach is used by the selected libraries
The study used the survey method. An online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were data gathering tools. The study adopted the qualitative research method with close ended questions, ranking scales as well as open ended questions. An online questionnaire was distributed to the 30 potential participants. Twenty-three (23) responses were received, which means a response rate of 76% was obtained.
An important finding in this regard was that the onboarding programme was not evaluated by parties involved in the instruction and feedback on the success of the programme was not received by participants. In addition participants were not assessed prior to the programme so that their input could be used to inform the relevance of the contents of the programme. Based on the findings the researcher made some recommendations to enhance the planning of the programme in future. The study concludes with directions for future research to contribute to the implementation of onboarding as part of the practice of employee development.