Onboarding & Orientation

New Employee Orientation

Information on New Employee Orientation can be found here,

Orientation Partners

For a new employee, it may take a while to fully integrate into a new work unit. One way to assist the new employee through the initial adjustment period is to provide them with an "orientation partner." The orientation partner is an established colleague of the new employee who is knowledgeable about the job duties they will be asked to perform. The role of the partner is to serve as an informal point of contact for information about the new employee's position and department procedures and social norms. The orientation partner supplements, not substitutes, regular interaction with the employee's supervisor. The affiliation with the orientation partner helps the new employee to feel connected to the work team and to create a sense of inclusion, while providing them with support as they learn their new job.

Selection Criteria

  • Has been employed more than one year
  • Has time or is given time to be accessible to the new employee
  • Has a good performance history
  • Is skilled in the new employee’s job
  • Is proud of the organization
  • Is a peer of the new employee
  • Has patience, good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Is willing to be an orientation partner
  • Is a positive role model and is liked/respected by other employees

Orientation Partner Functions

  • Serve as an information source for the new employee on policies, procedures, expectations, norms
  • Help the new employee clarify assignments
  • Identify resources
  • Provide opportunities for the new employee to socialize with others
  • Be a lunch companion
  • Be a tour guide
  • Provide feedback and encouragement
  • Provide introductions

Managing an Effective Department Orientation

Do you remember your first day on the job? Were you confident or anxious? Were you introduced around? Did you feel welcomed and informed? Did you feel you had all the information necessary to perform your job satisfactorily? Did you understand what was expected of you? Chances are, your early experiences help shaped your impressions and perceptions about your work, colleagues and the University in general.

Most employees begin their new job feeling a bit anxious. They worry about how their supervisor and colleagues will receive them and they worry about measuring up to their new job duties and expectations. They have many questions about their work environment, university policies and procedures, benefits and services and the overall culture and climate of the University.

Effectively orienting new employees does take considerable time and effort, but the time invested will pay huge dividends. A positive transition can leave a lasting impression with a new employee for years to come, but negative impressions brought about by bad experiences with colleagues, unclear expectations and an unpleasant work environment are next to impossible to undo.

Additionally, employees tend to establish either good or bad patterns early in their employment. Once bad work habits or unacceptable job performance are tolerated or become ingrained, they are hard to change. University orientation programs and resources can help with the transition, but steering employees onto desirable paths is the primary responsibility of supervisors and managers.

An Effective Departmental Orientation:

  • Creates a favorable impression of the University and the employee’s work environment.
  • Introduces the employee to departmental goals, policies, procedures and protocols.
  • Conveys the supervisor or manager’s expectations.
  • Assists employees in developing quality working relationships with colleagues, supervisors and students.
  • Addresses the anxieties and uncertainties of the new employee’s experience in the early stages of employment.
  • Provides employees access to information and resources necessary to ease their transition into the workplace.
  • Introduces employees to the benefits and support services available to help them maintain a high quality of life.
  • Forges a "partnership" between the employee, the hiring department and other service units to help the employee become an effective member of the university community.

Orientation Checklist

Before the New Employee Arrives (well in advance of the start date)

  • Notify everyone in your unit that a new person is starting and what the person's job will be
  • Ask the other staff members to welcome the new employee and encourage their support
  • Identify a staff member to act as an orientation partner for the first week
  • Enroll the employee in New Employee Orientation
  • Set up an e-mail account, phone and voice mail (if hiring documents are complete)
  • Send the new employee:
    • A welcome letter
    • Parking information
    • Schedule for the first week
    • Brief information about the department
    • The Tucson Book of Lists, Chamber of Commerce materials and information about relocation services if employee is relocating (Above & Beyond Relocation Services)
    • A position description
    • The phone number within his/her workspace
    • The employee benefits web site address
  • Call the employee to discuss:
    • How pleased you are that he/she will be joining you
    • Whether the employee has a special request for office supplies or a calendar
    • Any concerns that he/she might have
  • Clear your calendar, your new employee needs access to you during the first week
  • Set up the employee’s workstation (computer, phone, office supplies)
  • Plan a meaningful work assignment for the first week

During the First Day

  • Create a comfortable environment and remember not to overwhelm the employee
  • Arrive before the new employee
  • Give a warm welcome and discuss the plan for the first day
  • Hold a welcome reception
  • Tour the employee's assigned work space
  • Explain where rest rooms, refreshments, and break areas are located
  • Complete required hiring documents( if needed)
  • Provide required keys
  • Arrange to have lunch with the new employee
  • Tour the building and immediate area and introduce the new employee to other staff members
  • Introduce the new employee to the orientation partner (if appropriate)
  • Review the department's (or office's) organizational chart and explain its relationship to campus
  • Review your office's policies and procedures including:
    • Working hours, breaks, sick and annual leave
    • Reporting injuries
    • Pay dates and compensatory time
    • Telephone, e-mail, and Internet use
    • Office organization (files, supplies, etc.)
    • Office resources (directories, protocol manuals, computer program manuals)
    • Staff meetings
    • Customer service philosophy (phone call response time, etc.)
    • Confidentiality

During the First Week

  • Ensure needed equipment is in place
  • Review the week’s activities
  • Request feedback from the assigned orientation partner
  • Set up a brief meeting with the employee and the orientation partner to review the first week’s activities
  • After-hours and weekend office access
  • Review with the employee:
    • Travel and reimbursement policies and procedures
    • Purchasing policies and procedures
    • Employment search policies (if employee has hiring responsibilities)
    • Campus mail services
    • Office supplies use and ordering
    • Copy machine and fax use
    • Office safety issues
    • How to use the University’s web site to find resources
    • Software piracy issues
    • File servers
    • Time reporting

During the First - Six Months

  • Within the First Month
    • Meet with employee to review:
      • Position description
      • Performance standards
      • Work rules
      • His/her concerns
    • Send employee to New Employee Orientation
    • Request feedback from other employees about the new employee’s performance and acculturation
    • Schedule employee for required training
  • Within the First Six Months
    • Revisit performance standards and work rules
    • Schedule performance appraisal meeting
    • Provide opportunities for the new employee to meet people from other departments