setting the stage for employee success

Onboarding is the process of transitioning a new hire into the organization. Here at UWSA, we believe onboarding:

  • Is more than logistics and tactical items
  • Provides meaningful experiences to acculturate new hires to the organization
  • Begins during the recruitment process and continues throughout the first year
  • Is fostered by the organization as a whole

UWSA’s onboarding program sets the stage for employee success by including components specifically designed to create a positive new hire experience, increase engagement, develop a sense of belonging, and improve long-term employee retention. Details and resources are included below.

Pre-boarding Communications

UWSA’s communication with new employees in advance of their fist day is key to setting an expectation for what to expect during onboarding and their ongoing employment with the organization. The New UWSA Employees section of the website shares what new employees can expect in both the pre-boarding and onboarding stages as well as resources and links to ensure a seamless transition.

The new employee welcome letters are a streamlined, all-inclusive communication with identified action steps and other resources for your new hire. After the written offer has been signed, accepted and a start date has been negotiated, UW System HR Onboarding Coordinators will send a welcome letter and new employee resources. 

Hiring departments may also consider sharing the customized onboarding plan (see below) and other key information.

Customized Onboarding Plan

Ensuring new employees have planned, meaningful activities throughout the first weeks and months with the organization is key to their acclimation and engagement. In addition to introducing benefits and other employee-centric details, UW System HR has developed foundational learning sessions (see New Employee Meeting Series information below) in which all new employees will be scheduled to participate.

Hiring departments will identify the job-specific learning and experiences to introduce new employees to their role and responsibilities. This includes introductions to key people and internal partners, arranging for system access and related training, on-the-job shadowing, and other experiences that will round out the customized onboarding plan. Utilize the appendices on Recruitment & Pre-boarding Steps And Checklist docx to assist you in developing these activities.


Providing new employees with points of contact in advance of their start date enhances a sense of certainty as well as belonging. Two points of contact will be identified in the welcome letter:

  • The Onboarding Liaison is the person within your department or unit who typically supports the onboarding process and will be there to answer general questions and provide guidance throughout the onboarding experience.
  • The UWSA Ambassador is assigned by UW System HR and will be there to provide support and fellowship throughout the new employee’s first few months.

New Employee Meeting Series

A meeting series has been developed to provide new employees with important foundational and organizational information as they begin their career with UW System Administration. These sessions will be scheduled in the first 30 days of employment:

  • New Employee Welcome & Learning Session, hosted by UW System Human Resources
  • New Employee Leave Reporting Workshop, hosted by UW System Human Resources
  • New Employee Benefits Information Session, hosted by UW System Employee Benefits Counseling Team
  • New Employee Public Affairs & Communications, hosted by UW System Office of Public Affairs & Communications
  • UWSA New Employee Travel Session

New employees will be scheduled to attend these sessions during the first few months of employment:

  • Legal Topics for New Employees, hosted by the Office of Compliance & Integrity
  • New Employee Safety Session, hosted by the Office of Risk Management
  • New Employee Introduction to Internal Audit

Compliance Activities

All new UWSA employees are required to participate in mandated training

  • Open Records/Meetings [Sunshine Laws]
  • Information Security Awareness
  • Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Prevention
  • Mandatory Report of Child Abuse & Neglect

The UW System sets forth expectations of conduct for all employees. These expectations apply both inside and outside of the workplace. Employees are also required to report conflicts of interest. Additional information is available through Office of Compliance and Integrity Ethics website.

Manager Check-ins & Performance Expectations

Managers should schedule regular check-ins with new employees throughout the onboarding process. Utilize the appendices in the Recruitment & Pre-boarding Steps And Checklist docx to understand manager’s communication expectations. 

Setting clear performance expectations and SMARTER Goals are just two of the many topics to be covered during these check-ins. Use the Onboarding First Year Roadmap To Success Form docx to set and track initial goals and document the performance feedback for the introductory period. 

Scheduling regular check-ins with your new employees communicates your commitment to a positive onboarding experience as well as to the new employee’s success with the organization. 

Continuous Program Improvement

Periodic surveys will be sent to new employees to request feedback about their onboarding experience. Additionally, hiring managers, onboarding liaisons, and UWSA ambassadors will be asked for their feedback and experiences working with new employees during the onboarding process. 

This valuable insight will be used to improve UWSA’s onboarding program. Of course, you need not wait for a survey to share your thoughts. Contact your HR Strategic Partner or email uwshr@wisconsin.edu