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SAS Onboarding Guide
Welcoming New SAS Staff Member
Once you have completed the hard work of interviewing candidates, checking references, and have been notified of the completion of any background check processes that were necessary, you are ready to fill the vacancy within your department and to welcome your new staff member to SAS.
The first few days and weeks of your new hire’s experience at SAS are important and will shape the staff member’s experience and opinion of SAS and Penn throughout their tenure. It is important to continue to maintain the professional relationship that has developed through the hiring process. This should involve helping to foster a welcoming environment for the new hire, assisting them to begin to form relationships and supplying the tools needed to do their job well.
Please read through the following suggestions you may not have considered to assist your newly hired staff to assimilate quickly; some may seem basic but include items that staff members who have been with SAS for longer periods of time may not realize are important to newcomers.
After Acceptance of Job Offer/Before Work Begins
New Staff Member Set Up
Work with your area’s Business Office to start the process for the Penn Card to ensure a more seamless transition for the payroll set-up process. Your new hire may need to come in to complete paperwork prior to starting employment if possible, or paperwork can be mailed to them to complete and return.
Once a Penn Card is issued, request that phone and email be set up by your LSP in advance to be ready for password set up by the new user on their first day.
Communicate and Offer Information
Call your new staff member late in the week prior to their first day, letting them know what time they can plan to arrive and that they may ask for you when they arrive (or give an alternate name and contact if you will not be on site). Also offer to answer any questions or direct them to information regarding questions that may not have been addressed such as parking, etc. Direct the new hire to the Penn links that will prove helpful for new hires: http://www.hr.upenn.edu/faq/newemployees.aspx as well as Penn’s Central HR area of the website to explore benefits information and options, eligibility dates, payroll dates and other pertinent information of immediate concern to new staff members who may be transitioning from another employer.
Consider having the new hire participate in the SAS New Hire Buddy Program to provide the new staff member with another contact and resource: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/sashr/documents/SASNewHireBuddyProgram01.pdf
If applicable, ensure that the front desk area, reception or appropriate contact in the new hire’s area is aware that you are expecting a new staff hire prior to their arrival and knows who to contact when the new staff member arrives. This goes a long way on the first day showing the new hire that the office is prepared for the new hire’s arrival and knows to welcome him or her.
Announce New Staff to Organization
Draft an email announcement welcoming the new staff member, to be sent to other co-workers in their immediate work area and the major constituents with whom the staff member will be working. Include a brief work-related biography of the new staff member, their title and a brief summary of what their duties will be, along with where their office is located. Ideally this email correspondence should be ready so it can be sent at the start of the new staff member’s first business day.
Personally introduce the staff member to co-workers in their immediate work area and inform new hire of each staff’s title. A longer description of what each person does is better to be saved for a later conversation, since a new staff member is absorbing a lot of information and will be focused on remembering the names of co-workers.
If it works in your area, consider having a room with breakfast treats, or pizza at lunchtime, for other co-workers to come to meet the new hire and introduce themselves in a more informal environment. If not, consider inviting the staff in your immediate area/department only. If the staff member did not get the opportunity to meet with others on their team during the interviewing process, consider a brief introductory meeting where the new hire can meet staff in their department/area and find out more about what they do. This may help to avoid confusion in the future about the responsibilities held by different staff members and how those responsibilities relate with the new staff member’s duties. Although the differences between department staff members’ duties and responsibilities may appear clear to existing staff and supervisors, a new hire is relying on their supervisor or another designated staff contact person to obtain the framework, basic layout and structure at the early stages of their employment. If a lunch time meet and greet will not be feasible with the new hire and other staff, consider having lunch with the new hire so that they will continue to feel welcomed on their first day.
Consider providing a brief written list of which staff members to contact for which issues as a new hire for immediate needs. Examples include “Joe Cook= Office Supplies, Andy Smith=Computer questions”. This will help the new hire who is absorbing a lot of information and may not remember all contact names if you verbally mention names to them.
The supervisor might also assist the new staff member in establishing relationships by initiating individual meetings with key colleagues. Additionally, the supervisor can help the staff member to learn how the department’s meeting schedule typically runs, and when and how often they can expect to be able to meet with other key colleagues as applicable including deans, directors, senior managers or other appropriate staff depending on the position.
Orient to Office Space
Ensure the new staff member knows where office amenities are located such as restroom facilities, coffee, water and refrigerator, where to hang their coat, etc. Issue or begin the process of issuing any needed office and building keys or passes to the new hire. Ensure some basic office supplies are readily available on the staff member’s desk for the first day and give information regarding the ordering process and how they should procure needed supplies.
If you have not already done so during the interviewing process, discuss expectations such as work hours, typical start time of their office and that of other colleagues in the workgroup. Weekly paid staff will need further guidance in tracking hours with timesheets, etc.
If the Penn Card is ready to set up prior to first day, accompany or direct new hire to Franklin building to complete process of Penn Card issuance. If not, begin the process of new hire paperwork prompting Penn Card set-up.
Allow the new hire some downtime to settle in to their new office environment, but attempt to devote time to them on their first day. Although a supervisor’s schedule may be very full, recall that the new hire has no current assignments to work on at this time. Attempt to balance any reading they will be doing with more active pursuits that will allow for some variety and the ability to meet other colleagues.
Job and Introductory Expectations
Issue the job description, previously created prior to posting the position, to the staff member on their first day or by the end of the first week of employment at the latest. Be available for a follow-up meeting to address any questions or clarification needed regarding these documents, to ensure the staff member has the needed direction and understands their performance expectations for their first several months of employment.
Supervisor should meet with the new staff hire within their first week to go over their goals and objectives for their introductory period and beyond. SAS HR can assist in guidance through this process for the supervisor. More information regarding setting performance expectations can be found at the following link: http://www.hr.upenn.edu/StaffRelations/Introperiod/Default.aspx
As tasks begin to be assigned to new staff member, consider setting multiple check-in meetings for the first week, such as every day or every other day at 2:00pm. This can be helpful for the new hire to know when to anticipate access to a supervisor as undoubtedly many questions will continue to need to be addressed.
If you have not already done so, have a conversation about your communication style as a supervisor and your new hire’s communication style in order to set the tone for ongoing good communication. Examples to consider: Do you prefer being asked questions via email and answering them all at once, do you prefer the new hire to stop by and go over things verbally as needed, do you prefer a more structured set meeting schedule? Do you prefer to receive reports or projects for review once completed or do you prefer a draft of each part? How often do you prefer to meet with your staff members? These issues are helpful to learn and discuss up front as issues between supervisor and staff member sometimes develop with a lack of or poor communication and a misunderstanding of difference in communication styles.
Office Space Set-Up
If ordering an office chair and supplies, remember to consider the University’s Ergonomics area at http://www.ehrs.upenn.edu/programs/occupat/ergo/index.htm . This University service can assist staff members who need a new office chair or computer set-up to ensure their area is appropriate for them to remain injury-free. If necessary, a staff member may make an appointment to go and try several chairs within their budget range to see what may feel most comfortable before ordering one. If needed, an ergonomics consultant may also be scheduled to come to their office to conduct an assessment of their work area to ensure they are positioned properly.
Training and Development
Before the new hire’s first day, the supervisor should make sure required and appropriate training is available and scheduled if possible, so that the new hire is able to be brought up to speed quickly. Examples may include SRS, payroll, Ben Financials and other internal systems needed to perform job functions. Examples of development programs may include the Essentials of Management training program and Penn Perspective, depending on when these programs are being offered. The supervisor can also help to make sure the staff member is scheduled for the University’s New Staff Orientation as well as the orientation offered in SAS.
Ideas to Personalize the Work Environment
The date of your new hire’s birth month and day can be placed on your calendar, so when the day comes you can wish the person a happy birthday. The anniversary of the staff member’s first day of employment is another option to place on the calendar to be able to acknowledge their first year of service once the day arrives.