Carnegie Mellon University

Onboarding Employees

Departmental onboarding for each new employee is crucial to the success of the employee, your department and the university. Giving a structured introduction to your organization will help new employees understand and adjust to cultural norms and expectations in the department. A well-designed onboarding experience goes beyond the initial introductions and the first few days. Continued support throughout the transition signals to the employee their value and importance to the university, aids in retention and results in stronger performance and contributions.

HR Employee Services has put together the Department Onboarding Toolkit detailed below, which can be edited to meet the unique needs of your area. By using these resources, you can help ensure you are creating a welcoming experience for your new employee that covers onboarding topics not addressed as Workday onboarding tasks [pdf] or through the weekly onboarding sessions led by HR Employee Services.

number 1 icon  Before the Employee Begins

  • Ensure the hiring process is completed in Workday. For the best onboarding experience, the hire should be processed in Workday 2–3 weeks before their hire date.
  • Review the Onboarding Checklist for Supervisors [docx] and complete the tasks in the "Prior to Employee’s First Day" section.
    • The checklist outlines tasks to complete in advance of the new employee’s first day and during their provisional period. While onboarding is unique to each new employee, this checklist lays the foundation for topics to address for a majority of new employees at CMU. It also provides additional areas to consider, which should be incorporated into the main checklist as appropriate.
    • Note: This checklist is meant to be used by the supervisor and/or the person overseeing the new employee’s onboarding, not by the new employee.
  • Reach out to the new employee via a welcome email or phone call.
    • If you reach out by phone initially, follow up by email with the details discussed for easy reference.
    • The Supervisor Welcome Email Templates [docx] provide several versions of a welcome email to be sent to the new employee once they accept the offer and their hire date has been finalized. These templates vary to accommodate if the new employee is starting on the first business day of the week (when the weekly onboarding sessions led by HR Employee Services take place) and if they are working onsite or remotely to begin their new position.
    • The welcome email not only provides helpful information for the new employee's first day but also asks for bio information to include in the announcement that is sent to the department and/or team to introduce the new hire. For this reason, it is important that it is sent a week or two before their start date.
  • Create an onboarding schedule for the new employee.
    • The Onboarding Schedule Template [docx] should be completed by the supervisor and/or the person overseeing the new employee’s onboarding. Meetings and trainings from the Onboarding Checklist for Supervisors should be added to the schedule once their dates, times and locations are confirmed.
    • It is helpful to send the finalized version to the new employee in advance of their first day so they know what to expect their first week and have their onboarding tasks, meetings, and resources all in one place that is easy to reference.
  • Email colleagues a brief introduction to the new team member and encourage members of your department to welcome the new employee personally.
    • The Announcement Email Templates [docx] provide several versions of an email announcement to introduce the new employee. The templates vary based on the intended audience and if the new hire is brand new to CMU or is a current CMU employee transitioning to your team. This email not only outlines the new employee’s role but also incorporates some information about them to help others in the department or team get to know them. 
  • Set up required work space, systems, software and building access.
  • Add the new employee to departmental email distribution lists.

number 2 icon  First Day

  • Review the Onboarding Checklist for Supervisors [docx] and complete the tasks in the "Employee's First Day" section.
  • New hires have the opportunity to attend a weekly onboarding session to complete all onboarding tasks before arriving at their department. For many new employees, this will take place the morning of their first day. If the new employee is unable to attend an onboarding session, HR Employee Services can assist with:
    • Completing the onboarding tasks in Workday
    • Scheduling an appointment to complete section 2 of the Form I-9
    • Obtaining an ID card
    • Registering for parking, if needed
  • Discuss job duties and expectations, as well as office culture and university values with your new employee.
  • Introduce the new employee to coworkers and key contacts.
  • Take the new employee on a tour of the department/building.

number 3 icon  First 30 Days

number 4 icon  First Six Months to One Year