The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

How to Help Hiring Managers Help Their New Employees Hit the Ground Running

Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when we published it last March. It’s been updated here with additional resources and related content. For more on onboarding, drop by the members-only  this week, where higher ed HR professionals with innovative and successful onboarding practices will be facilitating conversations, answering questions and sharing their wisdom. We’re also hosting a webinar on March 19 titled “Onboarding: A Strategic Partner Model for Bringing About Cultural Change.” 

Think about a time when you felt welcomed somewhere — in a store, at a job, at someone’s home. What are the things that made you feel that way? Tami Nutt, manager of employee experience and engagement at Baylor University, says she and her team asked themselves this very question as they set about re-imagining the university’s new-employee experience.

Checklist Keeps Managers on Track

One of the things Nutt and her team did to improve the new-employee experience was create a hiring manager checklist, which lays out what managers need to do before a new employee’s first day; on an employee’s first day; during week one of employment; during months three, six and seven; and at the employee’s one-year mark. Examples of these tasks include:

  • Before Day 1 – add employee to email distribution lists relevant to his or her position; submit new employee’s office location, office number and telephone extension to HR; notify department of new hire; email employee a welcome note; prepare workspace; order office keys and submit request for access to buildings and computer systems; schedule meetings for employee’s first few weeks with key contacts across campus; remind employee of onboarding session he or she will attend on day one
  • On Day 1 – meet new employee in HR after first-day onboarding session and escort him or her to workspace; have a first-day meeting with new hire; give a tour of the office space and introduce to coworkers; check in with employee at end of first day
  • Week 1 – check in with new employee daily in the morning and at the end of the day; ensure technology is fully functional; ensure employee is scheduled for any appropriate trainings; introduce employee to campus partners; discuss performance goals for the first 180 days
  • Month 1 – have weekly meetings to discuss progress and acclimation; hold the one-month meeting; ensure employee has attended second in-person onboarding session; invite employee to tag along to meetings; meet with employee’s mentor (see below) to discuss employee’s socialization and acclimation to the university
  • Months 3 and 6 – continue to meet regularly; hold the three-month meeting and the six-month meeting; check in with mentor and employee about the mentoring relationship
  • Month 7 – complete the 180-day performance review
  • Year 1 – complete annual performance review; hold first-year meeting; celebrate employee’s successes and contributions

Templates and Tools Create Consistency

Nutt and her team also provide hiring managers with a sample onboarding schedule; a template for an email announcing the new hire that can be sent to team members; a checklist to ensure the employee’s workspace is set up with the proper office supplies and technology before the start date; sample agendas and guidelines for the first-day welcome and for the day one, month one, month three and first-year check-in meetings; and more.

Additionally, hiring managers are encouraged to pair new employees with a mentor for the first six months on the job to assist with acclimation to Baylor and the department. The hiring-manager checklist includes a document outlining the mentor selection criteria/process, mentor responsibilities, and a suggested structure for the mentoring relationship.

“While some departments and hiring managers might do a great job of onboarding new employees, think of the benefits your institution could realize if all new hires got the red-carpet-treatment — if they felt welcomed, appreciated, engaged and in the know from the moment they accept the job offer until they’re fully acclimated to the organization,” says Nutt.

Learn more about Baylor’s employee onboarding experience in the article “Onboarding Done Right: How to Make Your New Employees Feel Welcomed, Connected and Prepared From Day One” in CUPA-HR’s The Higher Education Workplace magazine (Winter 2017-18 issue) and in the on-demand webinar “Employee Essentials: Baylor’s Onboarding Experience.”  For more onboarding resources, check out the Orientation/Onboarding toolkit and the Organizational Culture toolkit in CUPA-HR’s Knowledge Center. 


The CUPA-HR national office will be closed July 4 in observance of Independence Day.