Case Study: Sam Houston State University

August 2019

Sam Houston State University LogoGoal

To explore the root cause of employee turnover and develop an effective onboarding and retention plan for new employees.


Sam Houston State University's director of financial aid, Lydia Hall, requested help with entry level staff onboarding and retention. Hall reported high turnover in their entry level and counseling positions and wanted help determining the causes. She also wanted assistance with developing an effective onboarding plan for new employees.


Blue Icon Advisors provided Hall with four weeks of group coaching for Hall and her management team. Prior to the coaching sessions, the Blue Icon consultant spent time learning about the institution and division by meeting with key staff, conducting staff surveys and focus groups, and reviewing existing onboarding documents. All meetings were held off-site by phone or video conference. Once the initial research was complete, the consultant and the management team met via video conference call one hour a week for four weeks to address the observations and discuss the recommendations.


"The use of online video calls to conduct our leadership coaching was brilliant," stated Hall. "The time we invested was time well spent." By the third week of coaching, Hall reported, "Our three new hires told us they feel like they are being set up for success and that the office culture is positive." 

SHSU hired new entry-level staff in July, and we checked back in February 2020 to see how the onboarding process was working. Hall reported, "I feel we have had great success with our new on-boarding plan." Lisa Namken, Assistant Director, stated, "Knowing that they [the July hires] have all received the same training through the onboarding process, consist information is being given to students and parents over the phone." They also hired four new employees in January, using the newly developed onboarding plan, which the new employees described as "proficient and professional." Namken commented, "I feel that the atmosphere of the office has improved since implementing our onboarding process because it is not only helpful for new staff, but seasoned staff feels as if we are working to better equip everyone and take into consideration their ideas as well."

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Publication Date: 10/16/2019

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