Steps for a Successful Department Orientation
Once the candidate has accepted the offer of employment with the University it is time to think about on-boarding initiatives both department wide and University wide. On-boarding is both the responsibility of the department/hiring manager and Human Resources. A well thought out and organized department orientation is the most important step in welcoming and quickly transitioning a new employee into Loyola, and it is critical to the success of the employee, department, and university. Benefits of a successful department orientation include:
- Expediting the employee's ability to learn the department's culture, position goals and responsibilities, allowing him or her to perform and contribute quickly.
- Increasing employee, department and university satisfaction.
- Reducing employee and department turnover.
- Encouraging strong employee, department and university performance.
The Department Orientation can take place in three phases: pre arrival, arrival and long-term activities.
A new staff or faculty members first impressions of a department are formed during the hiring process. Departments and Human Resources must ensure that their interactions during this period are positive and consistent. The following are pre-arrival tasks that will help department's achieve this goal.
Prepare for the new hire's arrival.
- Call the faculty or staff member to confirm the start date, time, location, parking or other transportation options and dress code.
- Send an email announcement to notify department staff of arrival.
- Select and train a "Department Orientation Buddy" so that they can provide great support for new employees.
- Assemble a department orientation packet and schedule.
- Prepare the work area; clean desk.
- Provide appropriate key(s) for office, department and files access.
- Submit system access request for department/job specific systems as necessary.
- Contact telecommunications to request long-distance access code, if appropriate.
- Purchase any necessary equipment (computer, printer, cell phone, PDA, etc.) as approved by department supervisor.
- Provide other training, as needed
- Order necessary office supplies as approved by supervisor.
- Schedule other orientation meetings as needed:
- Prepare a folder of helpful department information: names and titles of colleagues and people with whom the new staff or faculty member will commonly interact with as they carry out their role responsibilities. In addition, provide a summary of where to find frequently used information/forms; etc.
The arrival phase begins on the employee's first day. One of the most lasting impressions employees have of their departments and the university is how they are treated during their first several weeks on the job. Based on these experiences, new hires learn how the department and the university value their employees. The following are arrival tasks that will help achieve these goals.
During the first day:
- Greet the new staff or faculty member and introduce him/her to co-workers and work areas.
- Introduce the employee to her/his "Department Orientation Buddy."
- Review information provided in the department's orientation.
- Review the job responsibilities.
- Change voice-mail greeting.
- Ask him/her to visit their local Human Resources office in order to complete new-hire paperwork.
- Once new hire paperwork is completed, employees can move through the onboarding process by reviewing Loyola 101 and the Benefits presentation to learn more about benefits provided at Loyola.
During the first week:
- Tour of campus(es)
- Review first week of activities with a supervisor or manager.
- Review assignments for the first 90 days and schedule feedback sessions.
- Review the department goals, programs and activities.
- Ensure the employee understands the relationship between his/her job, the department and the institution.
- Review the faculty or staff members 90-day, six-month and one-year assignments and projects.
- Explain applicable department policies, work rules, schedules and time-away-from-work procedures.
- Review pay policies, schedules and Kronos time card access; also review the paper timecard used in the first two pay periods.
During the first month:
- Meet regularly with the employee to answer questions and ensure that he/she is becoming acclimated to the department, position responsibilities and projects.
- Establish performance goals.
Department orientation does not end after the first month of employment; it's an ongoing process that can last from three months to one year. To achieve orientation success, departments must use strategies that focus on the long-term assimilation of an employee. These are long-term tasks will help achieve these goals.
- Celebrate the completion of the 90-day probationary period.
- Regularly meet with your employees and review progress.
- Encourage employee feedback.