Carnegie Mellon University


Onboarding a new employee to your department is critical to the success of the employee, your department and the university. Giving a structured and continued introduction to your organization can guide new employees in successfully and quickly adjusting to cultural norms and expectations in the department. A well-designed onboarding experience goes beyond the initial introductions and first few days. Continued support during their transition will allow the employee to realize their value and importance to the university, aid in retention and lead to stronger contributions to the university.

Setting the Right Tone

Prepare for the new employee's arrival

Review the position responsibilities and expectations

Establish the framework for a productive supervisory relationship

Introduce the new employee to the organization's members

Don't forget the logistics

A Year at a Glance

Before they arrive

The first two weeks

The first three months

At the six month point

Nine to twelve months

The Employee's First Year

By developing an onboarding program for your department, you ensure that employees are set up for success not just during their first few months but throughout their entire time at CMU.

Make sure the hiring process in Workday is completed.

Provide the new employee with the Welcome to CMU Onboarding Checklist to ensure they begin the process of obtaining their Andrew ID and gaining access to Workday.

Prepare the office space including a welcome sign and office supplies. Ensure the phone and computer are in good functioning order.

If the new employee will need to have access to a particular software or system, notify the system owners of this need.

Develop an onboarding schedule for the new employee that thoroughly introduces them to your organization, its members and the role and responsibilities of the position.

Provide the new employee with information about their first day — reporting time, office location and parking.

The first day is very hectic for a new employee. Providing a schedule for the first day can be very beneficial. Have someone from your organization escort the new employee while they complete the I-9 process and acquire their id photo. This provides the new employee with the opportunity to build camaraderie with colleagues while completing those logistical tasks.

Begin to introduce the new employee to their position responsibilities by providing an onboarding schedule. As part of the schedule, make sure the new employee is registered for the next New Hire Orientation session. The schedule should also include the Preventing Workplace Harassment module, which must be completed within the first few weeks of employment.

The first three months of employment are extremely important to an new employee's success and your supervisory relationship with the new employee. During this time you will begin to build the context around the responsibilities of the position in addition to the content related to tasks.

Building context includes:

— Discussing the impact of position responsibilities on the mission of the department and the tasks executed by other staff members within the organization

— Reviewing the responsibilities of the position and identifying the specifics of what success will look like for the new employee

— Determining the time it should take to complete tasks in the scope of all position responsibilities

— Informing the new employee of the norms of the department

— Having the new employee complete the Position Responsibility Plan [xlsx] which allows you to calibrate understanding between position tasks and expectations

— Providing detailed and ongoing feedback to the new employee on progress and areas for improvement

— Utilizing the professional development resources available to support the new employee with training and performance expectations

— Introducing the new employee to vibrant CMU community and its many opportunities and resources

Addressing Performance Concerns:

If the new employee experiences performance challenges, engage your HR Manager to assist you in addressing concerns.

Through your ongoing feedback, the new employee should have a clear understanding of their position and its expectations. The employee's evaluation at the conclusion of the six-month provisional period [docx] should be completed by the manager.

Recognizing that the new employee is still learning the responsibilities of the position can be helpful to you as the manager. Our employees' work is often cyclical in nature. As each new event or activity of the position is introduced to the employee, be sure to provide clarification on expectations and feedback on their performance. Having an employee document tasks and procedures is a useful way to establish understanding and improve business continuity. Utilizing the professional development resources available to you and the new employee on process documentation will support you with this task.

The first year of employment usually includes both accomplishments and mistakes. Through each accomplishment and mistake the new employee should be learning and developing the skills needed to perform the tasks of the position. The new employee should also begin to feel like a contributing and valued member of the CMU community. Your role as manager is key to this occurring. Developing your supervision skills can ensure your success as well as that of the new employee.

Year One Resources

Year One Program

Share the Year One program information with your new employee to help them set themselves up for success.

New Hire Orientation

Encourage your new employee to register for this introduction to the university within their first 30 days.

Onboarding Guide

View a step-by-step checklist to prepare for your new employee and support them through their first year.

Onboarding Support

Find professional development resources to guide you through the process or request a consultation.