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 Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity

Workers' Comp

New Employee Orientation for Civil Service/Non-Academic Guide for Departments

August 1994
Revised 05/01/96
Revised 04/10/02


UMD Human Resources Mission Statement
Equal Opportunity Statements
Orientation Objectives
Guide Organization

Section 1: Preparation and Planning for Orientation

Initial Preparation
Orientation Roles
Mentor/Buddy Assignment
Training Methods
Retention of Information
Communicating Expectations
First Impressions
Written Materials
Employees with Disabilities
Work Area and First Assignment
Other Orientations
Arrival Announcement

Section 2: Conducting the Employee Orientation

Where to Start
Part-time and Temporary Employees
Ways of Communicating
Job Specific
First Job Assignment
First Day Activities
Continuing the Orientation

Section 3: Attachments and Support Materials

Planning for the New Employee
Suggested Orientation Timetable
Orientation Checklist
Orientation Overview


To: University of Minnesota Duluth Supervisors

Part of our department's Mission Statement reads: "Our mission is to assist the University of Minnesota Duluth in achieving its goals and objectives by recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse productive non-academic workforce."

We will provide services and information which balances the unique needs of employees and employing units and is consistent with the University's policies and procedures, laws and regulations, and collective bargaining agreements.

This is your copy of our new Civil Service/Non-Academic New Employee Orientation Guide. Our hope is that it will be a good first step in helping you welcome new employees. We encourage you to review it and use it. This document is based on a similar document developed by the University's CEE Staff Development Committee.

We are very grateful to them for allowing us to adapt their document to meet our campus needs. Though these materials are designed specifically to be used for civil service employees (including non-faculty bargaining unit members), you will see that they could be easily adapted for use with both academic and student employees as well.

I encourage you to use it in any way you find helpful. Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for improvement of this guide. As always, we look forward to hearing from you.



The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

In adhering to this policy, the University abides by the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minnesota Statute Ch. 363; by the Federal Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e; by the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; by Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; by Executive Order 11246, as amended; by 38 U.S.C. 2012, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972, as amended; and by other applicable statutes and regulations relating to equality of opportunity.

Questions on disability accommodations for job applicants and employees can be addressed to the UMD Department of Human Resources at (218) 726-7161, or TDD (218) 726-8251.


This guide is intended to be a handy reference for your use in orienting new employees. Helping a new employee feel comfortable and welcome on the first day on the job is one of the keys to a successful orientation. Your role in informing the employee about his or her job responsibilities, work rules, your department's mission and goals is extremely important. And the way in which you present the information will make a lasting impression on the new employee.

The information contained in this guide is only a blueprint for orientation. Adapt the information to fit your own particular situation and training needs. Don't hesitate to call on other resources to make your orientation complete. Our department also offers a New Employee Orientation to civil service employees with 50% or more appointment. We welcome your suggestions and those of your new employees about how to improve this guide and the orientation process.


The material included in this guide is a compilation and adaptation of numerous materials and information collected from various books, articles, workshops, seminars, meetings. etc. Of special mention are the New Employee Orientation: A Practical Guide for Supervisors by Charles M. Cadwell and How to Train and Orient Employees from KEYE Productivity Center. We adapted these materials from a document developed by the University's CEE Staff Development Committee.

The UMD Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity is very grateful to them for allowing us to share this valuable information with our campus.


"Oh, is that how it's done? ... I wish someone would have told me that!"... Does this sound familiar? Did you ever wish employees could be trained faster and with increased retention of the information? One of the best ways to accomplish this task is to provide an effective orientation. In fact, orienting a new employee is one of the most important responsibilities that a supervisor and trainer can perform!

According to a recent study conducted by training experts, when employees are trained effectively, there is a higher degree of productivity and job satisfaction. The study indicated that a properly trained employee could be 30% more productive. Conversely, poorly trained employees tend to make more mistakes, which means a loss of time and effort. The cost of hiring, orienting, and training new employees has been estimated from $5,000 to $30,000 per person, depending on the position. One of the concrete benefits of a thorough orientation is cost savings. Effective training can motivate an employee to do a good job, increase job satisfaction, and reduce staff turnover, a cost saving measure for the future.

This guide will assist supervisors and other staff to conduct a logical, comprehensive, and positive orientation for a new employee. The guide can be used regardless of the employee's personnel classification (academic, professional and administrative, civil service, or bargaining unit) or term of employment (regular, part-time, or temporary). It is not intended to serve as a handbook on how to develop an employee manual, though it may assist in what materials to consider. A copy of this guide (and an employee information packet) should be maintained in each department. Each supervisor should also have a copy of this guide.

The lists and forms are intended to facilitate the orientation process. This process will be a concentrated effort the first day or two of employment. The Orientation Checklist, in particular, outlines the most common areas typically covered during the first couple of days of a new employee orientation. It includes a series of statements and questions and should be used to generate discussion with the new employee. Supervisors should have the expertise to respond to these questions, delegate training to others, or search out the answers in order to conduct the orientation. Responses are strongly dependent on the specific position for which the person was hired and the goals and objectives of the department/unit. The overall time frame is dependent on the amount of information required to train the employee to be at a satisfactory level of productivity.

TIP #1
Question: When does orientation begin?
Answer: At the interview.

If this guide is being read prior to the interview process, remember that as questions are asked at the interview, potential employees are also gathering information to develop an impression of the interviewer, the office, and the surrounding environment. These first impressions will have an impact on whether the person even accepts the job offer.

Orientation Objectives

What are some of the reasons for this guide and for providing a comprehensive orientation? Initially it is to present information for orienting employees faster, more effectively, and efficiently. Ultimately the expected outcome is to increase communication and to lessen the time needed for retraining. More explicitly, some of the objectives of an orientation and this guide are to:

  • Provide a warm welcome to the new employee and to put the employee at ease
  • Assist the supervisor in identifying which areas to cover with the employee
  • Give information on work environment, policies, and practices
  • Familiarize the employee with the University, department, etc.
  • Work toward uniformity of information relayed across UMD departments
  • Be proactive in providing packets of information to employees in a more timely manner
  • Formalize the orientation process

Since the assumption can be made that a smart, hard-working, and competent employee has been hired, the orientation process should not only assist supervisors and staff to more readily establish a foundation with the new employee, but also provide a vehicle for the new employee to assimilate into the work place and to quickly understand the job-specific tasks at hand.

The amount of time and careful priority setting of the information are critical to the early success of the employee. An effective orientation includes a policy and procedural handbook. However, the most important aspect in any orientation is personal contact.

Guide Organization

The supervisor should feel free to share any and all of the information in this guide with the new employee. Subsequent pages of this guide are organized into several sections:

Section 1 is on preparation and planning,

Section 2 provides information on conducting the employee orientation, and

Section 3 includes a listing of attachments and support materials as well as comments on the various packets.

Section 1: Preparation and Planning for Orientation

Preparation and planning are key elements to a successful orientation. By providing positive perspectives and teaching the fundamentals that each new employee should know, the employee will be made to feel welcome, learn the basics quickly, and become an integral part of the organization. Keep in mind that a poorly planned and implemented orientation will reverse all the efforts made during recruitment to match the needs of the position with the right skills and abilities of an employee. A thorough and well-planned orientation is the first step in providing a successful experience for all.

Initial Preparation

Review the Planning for the New Employee and the Suggested Orientation Timetable. They will provide the basis for preparation and will assist the supervisor and trainers in deciding what information to cover. Read through the Orientation Checklist and mark-off those items that the supervisor will discuss, pre-assign items to trainers, and add others that are pertinent. Once the planning is complete, the outcome will be an action plan and schedule of activities. Appropriate paperwork and materials will be gathered, staff will be aware of their role in orientation, and a first job assignment will be designated. Subsequent information in this section expands on these preparatory elements.

Orientation Roles

Who should be involved in the orientation? The supervisor has a significant role in setting the stage, creating training plans that follow clear-cut learning objectives, directing the overall flow of information, and meeting one-on-one with the new employee. The supervisor should make it known to staff involved in training specifically what items have been pre-assigned to them, what they should discuss with the new employee, and the depth to which it should be relayed. Familiarize other staff with the new employee's background. If possible, cross-training should be conducted by the person currently holding the position or with someone who has a similar position. When considering staff to help conduct an orientation, the following strengths or traits will be particularly useful for an effective orientation:

  • Someone who knows the organization and/or the information for an orientation
  • A person who can explain pertinent information clearly and comfortably
  • An individual who can present information in an interesting, creative way
  • A mentor/buddy who will listen, evaluate, and provide an encouraging learning environment

Mentor/Buddy Assignment

In addition to training from the supervisor, the new employee should be paired with another staff member who is a veteran employee and is interested in being a mentor. This person should be a superior performer in his or her own right and have good people skills. An element of the mentor's responsibility is to help establish a sense of belonging for the new employee. The mentor should have a personal presence that will impress and persuade the new employee that the staff member is someone the employee can trust. Part of this role is to allow for a comfortable, more informal environment in which the employee can ask and receive information about the office culture and norms, those everyday, mostly unwritten, procedures and policies that help to explain how things really work.

Training Methods

Once it has been decided what the employee needs to know, and who can provide that information, the next question is: What is the best training method to relay that information? The training method chosen to relay information should be based on the skills and style of the trainer and, if known, the individual learning style of the new employee. Keep it simple and specific, and to the point; don't assume anything. Weigh the Orientation Checklist items in importance and complexity; group for similarity. Also, to avoid misconceptions, don't oversell the job, responsibilities, etc. The reality and expectations of the job should closely match.

Retention of Information

The supervisor and trainer should ask employees what their preferred learning style is for each area of the orientation, especially job responsibilities. The easiest way to do this is to ask: "Would you prefer to read this first or discuss it before you read the materials? "The presentation of materials and information should then be adapted to that person's style whenever possible. Studies have shown that over a period of three days, the retention of learning is as follows:


10% of what is read

50% of what is seen and heard


20% of what is heard

70% of what is said


30% of what is seen

90% of what is said and done



It is known that learning takes place by reading, listening, and watching. It also is known that people learn better if they are actively involved in the learning process. Think about this when orienting a new employee.

Communicating Expectations

Question: How can we help new employees feel welcome?
Answer: Smile

Communicating expectations to employees enthusiastically, with a smile and a positive attitude, will affect the employees' interpretation as well. To enhance communication, relate a personal experience, or perhaps let the individual know what stimulates individuals to work here by giving examples.

First Impressions

Having a planned and organized orientation will help to facilitate positive first impressions. Secondary information gathered through observation when visiting the work area is also very important to the initial perceptions of the new employee. Consider the following

  • The work area is neat and organized
  • The whereabouts of staff members are known
  • Normal work continues when supervisors are out of the office
  • Staff appear to be doing productive work
  • It has a friendly and outgoing atmosphere
  • Interruptions are dealt with positively
  • Positive things are said about the work

If most of the statements can be answered affirmatively, then positive perceptions are being created. If these basic statements are generally not positive, then there may be a need to review these items with the staff. Positive perceptions are especially important to new employees and to the long-term job satisfaction of all staff.

Written Materials

The UMD Department of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity, University Employee Benefits, and individual departments have each developed packets of materials which are mailed to new employees within the first few weeks of employment. The packets can be shared during the interview
process and/or given to the new employee the day of his or her arrival.

Review the attachment, New Employee Information: From the Supervisor. Check to make sure that the materials listed are on hand or will be developed for use during the orientation.

Make sure to evaluate the current orientation material and modify it as appropriate.

A large portion of the training time for the new employee will be expended on the functions and responsibilities of the job itself. The job description and procedural manual are key elements in assimilating the employee. The written material, as indicated earlier, is not a substitute for personal contact. Any written materials should be reviewed with the employee for understanding. Responses can be customized to fit the particular needs of the new employee.

Most of the typical orientation materials such as the job description and standards are easily accessible. Some of the materials that are more specific to the office that may need to be updated or developed are the following:

  • Layout of the office (if there's a large number of staff in various locations)
  • Office directory of names, telephone numbers
  • List of commonly used acronyms
  • Summary of other staff job tasks, and/or job descriptions
  • Biographies and photos of staff

Providing photographs and biographies of staff is extremely helpful to new employees to identify ther staff and facilitate communication through common interests and experiences. The biographies should be a mix of professional and personal information. Another element that will enhance clear communication is writing down and explaining acronyms and other buzzwords which are used with a special meaning other than how a dictionary may define them.

Employees with Disabilities

You may or may not know if your new employee has a disability since an employee may have an invisible or hidden disability. Individuals with a disability want to be as successful at their job as employees without a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment practices and employment related activities. This includes orientation, training, job assignments, etc. Whether you know or do not know if the employee has a disability, don't make assumptions. The simplest way to find out is to ask: Is there a need to accommodate you in any way? If so, how? How can this be made more accessible to you? How can this orientation experience be made the most beneficial to you? The key is to ask and involve the person in the planning process.

Work Area and First Assignment

The new employee should be taken to a space that is neat, orderly, and ready for work to begin. It should contain a desk, chair, telephone, and other equipment such as a computer, typewriter, or calculator as appropriate to the position. Office keys should be on hand.

The first job assignment is an essential component in allowing the employee to have a sense of achievement. The supervisor should prepare a first task that will allow the employee to display newly explained job skills. The assignment should be measurable and achievable within a given time frame. Completing and assessing this first assignment will set the stage for future performance appraisals.

Other Orientations

The UMD Department of Human Resources holds new employee orientation sessions on a periodic basis. Check with this office to find out what current new employee information is available and to schedule an orientation meeting.

Arrival Announcement

A memo should be sent to departmental staff announcing the arrival of the new employee and the orientation timetable. Make a copy of it and give it to the new employee as well. It should include the employee's name and nickname (if appropriate), starting date, office telephone number, and a brief description of the employee's background and other relevant
information. Ask staff to introduce themselves and to mention how they will be working with the new employee. It is also beneficial to include some personal element (i.e., hobbies) to help remember who is who and to help put the new employee more at ease. This also will assist in establishing a sense of place and meaning between employees.


Before meeting with the new employee, the supervisor and trainers should have read this guide, reviewed the appropriate attachments, and gathered the required forms and documentation to be discussed with the new employee. Most importantly, the supervisor and staff should be able to answer the questions pertinent to the office and the position. It is recommended that brief answers be formulated and written down, either as part of the employee's job procedural manual or formulated in the order in which they will be covered with the employee. Encourage the employee to take notes in order to review the material at a later date.

Section 2: Conducting the Employee Orientation

The employee is enthusiastic about being hired and the orientation will be an opportunity to confirm the employee's decision to join your department. Nurture the employee's thirst for knowledge. New employees are willing and eager to learn. Orientation need not be difficult nor time consuming. In fact, a successful orientation will save time in the long run. Avoid compressing everything into the first day.

How long will it take? That will depend on the complexity of the position and the ability of the new employee and the trainer to interface. Orientation is not a one-day event. It normally is a process that continues for several days or a week with subsequent follow-up meetings. In addition to being enthusiastic, the new employee may also be nervous. Give the employee sufficient time to assimilate the new information in a way that is meaningful. Essential information, plus the items the employee is most interested in, can be covered the first day and the rest can be discussed later. There may never be another chance to make a good impression. The first day is always remembered.


Depending on the size of the immediate staff and out of consideration for the new employee, it may be helpful to have the staff wear name tags the first day. Inform the employee of what is going to happen. Give the new employee an orientation schedule and a folder in which to place additional material. Show the employee his or her workspace and offer refreshments. Make initial introductions either by walking the person around or having staff members meet in a group at a specified time and location.

Where to Start

The supervisor's role during orientation must be an active one. Calendars should be open to devote as much time as possible on the first day to the new employee. Exactly what is covered from the Orientation Checklist and when it is discussed is based on what the supervisor wants the employee to know the first day. A good way to set priorities for those items from the Orientation Checklist not included the first day is to ask the employee: What would you like to discuss next? What projects or information are you most interested in knowing about? A few employees will want the big picture first; most will want to start simply and build to the more complex. This allows the employee's individual preference to shape the formulation of theorientation. It also is a way to have the employee add other items.

The best way to provide a new employee with the orientation information is in a one-on-one meeting. However, it can be accomplished in a group meeting as long as the group is small (three to five at most) and stays on task. Groups also provide different perspectives about how the organization functions. New employees should not be forced to learn on their own, as the new employee may interpret information in a way other than what is intended. The one-on-one setting helps reinforce clear direction and that individual help is available when there are questions. If several meetings with various staff are needed in order to help the new employee understand relationships and job functions, no more than four meetings should be scheduled in one day. This permits the employee to review the information and not be overwhelmed with meeting many new people. In addition, involving all attendees in presenting information will make the meeting more interesting and distribute the work load.

TIP #3
Question: How much orientation is needed for a temporary employee?
Answer: As much as is needed to be productive. Start with the checklist.

Part-time and Temporary Employees

What, if any, orientation process differentiation should there be for a part-time or temporary employee compared to a regular employee? The part-time employee with an on-going appointment should have the same orientation as an employee with a regular on-going appointment. The temporary employee, on the other hand, usually has the unique distinction of fulfilling a need for a specified period of time.

The length of time for an orientation will be determined by the depth of information needed for that employee to be productive. In general, the shorter the length of employment, the less time needed for orientation. Some of the crucial items to cover include payroll information, crucial office policies, details of the job, and expectations of a job done well. As the items on the Orientation Checklist are reviewed, the following question should be kept in mind: Could the employee start without having to know or be concerned about this item? If the answer is no, then it should be included. Remember to include any item that, if not explained, would inhibit an employee's ability to complete a task in a timely manner.

Ways of Communicating

What can a supervisor or trainer do to provide a learning environment that helps an employee retain the information and maintain interest during orientation? These two areas are critical in reducing the amount of information needing to be repeated during and after initial training has taken place. The following is a list of ways that will enhance the employee's ability to retain information and keep his or her attention focused:

* Vary the training method, be friendly and natural
* Ask and allow questions and feedback
* Use personal experiences and stories
* Inject humor

TIP #4
Question: How can you tell when the new employee is experiencing information overload?
Answer: Changes in the employee's body language will tell you.

Information overload, too much, too fast, is a common occurrence during orientation Body language such as less verbal interaction, detachment, and inability to sit still can be obvious signals. One of the ways to be proactive and head off information overload is to practice the
orientation information on others prior to giving it to the new employee. If it seems to be too much, it probably is. Once the orientation is in progress, taking breaks through various means (moving the location, changing the trainer, taking an actual break) is the best way to combat information overload.


Relaying pride in the University and its traditions will reinforce the employee's choice to work here. Focus on why people choose to be involved with UMD and emphasize the importance of the services provided by UMD to the community. Relay how much the staff are valued by your department and the impact staff have in accomplishing the department's mission and goals. Have the new employee complete a staff biography to add to the office directory or to be used for the arrival announcement. Providing an organizational history and a personal biography will help to establish a sense of purpose and belonging.

Job Specific

Explain how this position fits in the office, department, and UMD. Use the department packet of information and the organizational charts to explain how the employee's position and work group fits into the total structure. Outline the reporting lines. This allows the employee to see at-a-glance where he or she fits and the relationships among various groups and departments.

Clarify the importance of the position. What is the history of the position, have there been any recent changes in funding or responsibilities? Are there any opportunities for advancement in the position, in the office, etc.

Describe the job. This is the area of training where the most time will be scheduled in the first day, and in the weeks and months to come. Be as specific about tasks and responsibilities as possible. Describe a typical day on the job. Use the job description to review the primary job responsibilities, outline the critical skills needed to perform the job, and establish task priorities. Discuss standards and include how performance will be monitored. Explain how general skills in problem-solving, organizational, and inter-personal skills affect the job. Give examples of the important concepts of the job with practical applications.

There will be a better understanding and a greater application of the information in the future if the important facts are restated and questions are invited for discussion. It may be relevant to give the employee a chance to use this new knowledge by applying it to some activity the first day.

A simple example of how the office functions for telephone training is outlined below:

How are calls handled? Does the person take his or her own calls, or for others?

How is the telephone answered? (Hello, this is .... ?)

Within how many rings?

When and how do calls get transferred?

When do messages get taken? Where are they placed?

How are long distance and fax calls handled? Is there a log?

Is a long distance calling card available?

The degree to which the employee engages in sustained communication, discussion, active listening, etc., will determine the degree to which information will be remembered. Encourage the employee to keep notes. Schedule the orientation in a meeting room or enclosed space to maintain privacy. This will keep outside distractions to a minimum.

First Job Assignment

New employees are eager to demonstrate their skills and create a good impression. The supervisor should recognize this and actively involve the employee in a task or current project as soon as possible. The first job assignment should have distinct parameters and steps for completion within a given time frame. The essential ingredient of the task is to provide a sense of achievement for the employee and a means to appraise the work by the supervisor. As noted earlier, this will set the stage for future performance appraisals.

First Day Activities

The first day of orientation should include a luncheon and an end of the day activity, such as a meeting with the supervisor or mentor. Lunch should be informal and as relaxed as possible. The location of the luncheon should be either on-campus or close to campus to familiarize the new employee with local food service. The way in which the first day ends is just as important as the way it began. The supervisor should spend the end of the day with the new employee discussing how the first day went and communicating the next step in the orientation plan. End on a positive note, perhaps to the point of walking the employee to the door at the end of the work day.

Continuing the Orientation

At the end of the first week of orientation, the supervisor should discuss the Orientation Review form with the employee. The Orientation Review form is another part of the orientation process that will assist the supervisor and the employee in communicating effectively. As the overview statements are discussed, it will provide an opportunity for the employee to ask for further information or clarification. It is also a time for the supervisor to ask how the employee thinks the job is different from what the employee expected. Time should be allowed for other questions from the employee. A regular meeting should be arranged between the supervisor and employee to discuss items, as long as there are items and job tasks to discuss. It is recommended that within the first few weeks of employment the supervisor should take the opportunity to ask the employee to discuss ways in which the employee's strengths can be best utilized and developed. Discussion about the employee's career or developmental plan also may be appropriate at this time. This reinforces the department's mission in continuing education on a personal level.

Section 3: Attachments and Support Materials

The support materials detailed in this section and referred to in the other sections of this guide will assist the supervisor in a variety of ways. They will provide a means for the supervisor to review the diversity of information to be discussed in an orientation, offer suggestions for a plan of activities, include items to cover with the new employee, and provide a checklist template to be used generically for each orientation. The checklist template information can also be used to create another checklist developed by the supervisor.

The attached form, New Employee Information: From the Supervisor, is a list of materials. Unlike the other New Employee Information lists, there is no pre-assembled packet. The supervisor will therefore need to gather, design, and develop the materials prior to holding the orientation with the new employee.

Planning for the New Employee

Supervisors and other staff members should be prepared for the arrival of the new employee to provide a warm welcome, to put the employee at ease, and to create a positive impression of your department.

Write a plan and schedule of activities for orienting the new employee

  • Who should be involved?
  • What are people's responsibilities for orientation?
  • When will the orientation be? How many meetings?
  • Where will the orientation take place?
  • Is there orientation scheduled at this time (through UMD Department of
    Human Resources)

Notify appropriate staff of the plan which outlines roles and activities:

  • Familiarize other workers with new employee's background
  • Encourage others to meet with new employee
  • Assign a mentor and other trainers (as appropriate), review trainer responsibilities
  • Send a memo announcing arrival of new employee, share orientation schedule
  • Schedule lunch and some form of work group gathering or informal time for the first day

Designate a work area

  • Office space (available and clean)
  • Desk, chair, phone, keys, office supplies and equipment

Collect appropriate paperwork and forms for completion

  • Gather payroll documentation
  • Review and update job-specific information as needed (organization chart, job
    description, standards, manuals, etc.)
  • Check packets of materials (department, UMD Department of Human Resources,
    Employee Benefits)
  • Mail/deliver any forms or materials to the employee that can be reviewed or
    completed prior to the first day of employment

Prepare a first job assignment

Suggested Orientation Timetable

Day 1

  • Welcome the new employee personally
  • Make instructions to co-workers
  • Take to work space
  • Review Orientation Checklist with employee (cover the need-to-know items first)
  • Have employee complete appropriate documentation
  • Arrange to have the mentor and new employee meet
  • Take to lunch or allow for informal time
  • Assign a task to be completed by the end of the day
  • Meet with employee at end of day to review task and offer time for questions

Day 2

  • Discuss more of the remaining items from the Orientation Checklist
  • Start more in-depth training of position
  • Have employee set up meetings with individual staff to discuss work
  • Give the Orientation Review form to the employee
  • Schedule a time to meet at the end of the week

End of First Week

  • Meet with the new employee to check comfort level and discuss Orientation Review
  • Provide the employee an opportunity to ask questions
  • Check employee's understanding of responsibilities and procedures
  • Schedule time for next meeting

After Two Weeks

  • Meet with new employee to discuss progress and answer questions
  • Provide additional training as needed
  • Schedule time for next meeting

After Four Weeks

  • Briefly give an evaluation of the employee's performance
  • Identify areas of strength and needed growth
  • Review the performance appraisal process and timing

Orientation Checklist

The checklist of orientation items below shows the most common topics that are typically covered during new employee orientation. They are divided into several categories; supervisors may wish to add or eliminate items from the list. The phrase or question by each item should be used as a starting point for discussion and further detail.

It is important to cover the pertinent items at a level relevant to the new employee's position. Be prepared and start with a list that is as comprehensive as possible. Items should be pre-assigned to individuals involved in the training. The new employee should be given a list of the items and the names of the staff who will be providing information on specific items.

Administrative Details


Payroll What documentation does the employee need to complete for payroll?


What is the pay rate? Does the employee receive pay for vacation or sick time? When are
pay dates, when is the first paycheck expected to be received, and how is it distributed?
Where can checks be cashed? Would the employee want to enroll in the direct deposit


How is the time worked recorded? Is a timecard used?


What information and documentation will the employee receive for insurance, relocation,
and other University benefits?


Will the employee be issued an ID, badge, or business cards?


Add the new employee to Student/Staff Directory, or other directories.


Provide employee with current list of staff telephone numbers and addresses as well as
Deans/Directors Office, UMD Department of Human Resources, Employee Benefits.


Explain the classification of the position and how fits within the University system
(academic, professional and administrative, civil service, represented unit).

Empl Bio

Ask the employee to provide a brief personal biography for the office.

Empl Needs

Ask if the employee has a need to be accommodated in any way or has special needs.

Empl File

Explain what information will be kept in an "official" file or on-site in the employee's
personnel files.


Explain emergency procedures and provide information numbers.

Schedule for work


What are the starting and ending times for the work hours?


When is the lunch break and how do breaks work?


What is the procedure for overtime, extended hours, compensatory time?


What is the vacation policy and holiday schedule and process for requesting time off?


Who should the employee contact and when should they call if he or she is ill or
will be late?

Job Specific

Org Chart

How does this position fit in the organizational chart (UMD, dept, unit)?


Is there a procedure manual for the position, overall operations manual?


What are the most important acronyms or abbreviations used?

Job Descrip

Discuss the job description/responsibilities, job standards and expectations. Provide
specific details of the job and assign a task the first day.

Perf Appr

Review performance appraisal and developmental processes.


What are the reporting lines for the position, office, and beyond?

Wk Tasks

How is work assigned? Who can assign work? Is there an in-box? Who will provide
assistance if there are questions about work assignments? What should the employee
do when all work is completed? What should the employee do with unfinished work?


How are meetings scheduled and how does the employee get notified?


What kind of calendar is available for the employee's use? (Electronic?)


Is there any information that should be kept confidential?

Work Area

Where is the employee's work area? How is the employee's work area to be left at the
end of the day?


Is there a probationary period?

Merit Plan

Is there an incentive/merit plan (for example, Civil Service Outstanding Service
Awards)? What opportunities are there for advancement?

General Info


Provide introductions to co-workers and other 'need-to-know' people.


What are the roles and relationships of co-workers to employee's position?


How do decisions get made?

Bldg Tour

Provide a building tour (including location of restrooms).

UMD Tour

Provide appropriate campus tour; or tour can be provided with UMD Department
of Human Resources orientation


How is mail (U.S. and Campus) collected, posted, distributed? Does the employee have a
mailbox, in-box? Inform others of new employee and add new employee to mailing lists.


What publications should the employee know about? (Currents, Brief, etc.)


Provide telephone training (including voicemail).


Is a computer available and how will training be accomplished?


What are the procedures for the copier, fax, other equipment? What is the process
for troubleshooting problems or repairing equipment?


Which keys should the employee have and what do they unlock?


Where are supplies located and how can they be ordered?


Are there any specific safety instructions?



What are the appropriate clothes for work (uniform/dress code)?


Can the employee eat, drink beverages in the work area?


Where is coffee available, is there a fund, and who makes it?


Where is a lounge? Is there a refrigerator, microwave available?


Explain the University No-Smoking Policy.


Can the employee visit with friends, family, or other employees during work?

Equip Use

What is the policy for personal use of telephone or other equipment? What access is there
to the office and equipment after hours?


Child Care

Discuss child care.

Empl Asst

Explain the Employee Assistance Program.


Where and what access does the employee have to campus libraries?


What are the local recreational activities (Rec Sports, YWCA/YMCA)?


Where is parking available or bus passes sold?


Orientation Overview

It is hoped that your orientation was useful and that you are becoming increasingly familiar with your new position. Take a few minutes to review the Orientation Checklist that you received your first day and read the following orientation overview statements. As a newly oriented employee, now is your opportunity to
review the orientation process, ask questions, and request further information. Asking follow-up questions will help to enhance future communication.

Check those that apply to you.

I was made to feel welcome.
I was introduced to other members of my work group.
My supervisor provided initial contact and discussed the orientation plan.
My supervisor reviewed my formal job description with me.
I received a copy of relevant literature, such as a job procedure, manual, department and UMD materials.
My office or work space was set up and waiting for me.
I received a tour of the organization by a knowledgeable person.
All the necessary paperwork and forms were available and I received assistance in completing them.
Payroll policies were covered the first day.
Benefits were explained the first day.
I learned about the department's history and future plans.
I was invited to lunch the first day.
I met people from other units and departments.
I was assigned a 'mentor/buddy' or was able to observe colleagues at work before starting a task.
I was given a specific job assignment along with instructions or training.
General office policies and procedures were explained to me.
I was given instruction on how to use the phone system.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 12/07/16 01:08 PM
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