Onboarding & Orientation
Table of Contents
New employees may be feeling a bit anxious. They worry about how their colleagues will receive them and about meeting their new job duties. They have many questions about their work environment, policies and procedures, benefits and University culture.
A positive transition can leave a lasting impression with a new employee. But bad experiences are difficult to undo. Guiding new employees is a key responsibility of supervisors and managers.
Create a favorable impression of the University and work environment.
Introduce departmental goals, policies, procedures and protocols.
Convey the supervisor's or manager’s expectations.
Assist new employee in developing quality working relationships with colleagues.
Address the anxieties of the new employee’s experience.
Provide access to information and resources necessary for the job.
Introduce benefits and support services.
Forge a partnership between the employee, the hiring department and other service units.
The Division of Human Resources conducts Benefits Orientation sessions online as Zoom videoconferences. To learn about retirement, health benefits, educational benefits and more, please enroll in a session below. Once you register, you will receive a Zoom link.
Well in advance of start date
Inform your unit about the new person and their role. Encourage them to welcome the new employee.
Identify a staff member to act as an orientation partner for the first week.
Enroll the employee in Benefits Orientation.
Set up an email account, phone and voice mail (Once hiring documents are complete).
Send the new employee:
- A welcome letter.
- Parking information.
- Schedule for the first week.
- Brief information about the department.
- A position description.
- The employee's work phone number.
- The New to the UA page.
- If employee is relocating, information about relocation services.
Call the employee to discuss:
- How pleased you are that they are joining you.
- Whether the employee has a special request for office supplies or a calendar.
- Any concerns that they might have.
Clear your calendar during their first week so that your new employee has access to you.
Set up the employee’s workstation (computer, phone, office supplies)
Plan a meaningful work assignment.
On First Day
Arrive before the new employee.
Don't overwhelm them.
Give a warm welcome and discuss the day's plan.
Hold a welcome reception.
Tour the employee's workspace. Explain where restrooms, refreshments, and break areas are located.
Complete outstanding hiring documents
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 your office's organizational chart.
Review your office's policies and procedures including:
- Working hours, breaks and leave.
- Reporting injuries.
- Pay dates and compensatory time.
- Telephone, email, 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.).
In First Week
Ensure needed equipment is in place.
Review the week’s activities.
Set up a brief meeting with the employee and the orientation partner to review the first week’s activities.
Request feedback from the assigned orientation partner.
Discuss 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 website to find resources.
- Software piracy issues.
- File servers.
- Time reporting.
In First Six Months
Within the First Month
Meet with employee to review:
- Position description.
- Performance standards.
- Work rules.
- Their concerns.
Confirm employee attends Benefits 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.
One way to assist the new employee through the initial adjustment period is to provide them with an orientation partner. 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. They help create a sense of inclusion and provide support.
The orientation partner supplements, not substitutes, regular interaction with the employee's supervisor.
- Employed more than one year.
- Has time (or is given time) and is willing to be accessible to the new employee.
- Good performance history.
- Skilled in the new employee’s job.
- Proud of the organization.
- Peer of the new employee.
- Patient with good communication and interpersonal skills.
- Positive role model.
- Liked/respected by other employees.
Orientation Partner Functions
- Serve as an information source for the new employee on policies, procedures, expectations and norms.
- 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.