Organizational Effectiveness

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 50
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding involves the actions you take as a supervisor to welcome, support, and manage the transition of a new employee. These actions help the employee feel engaged in work at UI and rapidly achieve performance expectations/goals. Onboarding at Iowa starts with recruitment, and continues through the acceptance of an offer of employment and the first year of employment.

Supporting a new employee's transition has been shown to be useful in fostering engaged, productive and committed employees by focusing on the supervisor-staff relationship. One way this is accomplished is through frequent developmental feedback and providing support for individual needs. Onboarding differs from traditional orientation practices that focus more on forms, policies, and the teaching of job duties for compliance and competence purposes.

To support you as you work with your new employees over the important first year of employment, you will receive occasional reminder emails about topics that you may wish to discuss that develop your relationship with staff. Four themes that have been found to support employee engagement are used for the updates:

  • Engaging Work and Strategic Goal Alignment – Helping staff understand how their work supports the unit, college/division and UI helps them feel like a valued member of the University
  • Performance Expectations – Knowing what is expected and providing ongoing feedback helps staff develop skills and perform their best
  • Work Life and Wellness – Healthy staff who feel cared about are more likely to be top performers, and as a supervisor you can encourage healthy work habits and remind staff of University services to support health and wellness. 
  • Development – New staff need to learn their responsibilities, as well as unit and UI policies to become proficient in their work. Staff also need to continue to see opportunities to grow and develop through UI courses and experiential learning.
  • Additionally, we offer you this Onboarding Toolkit (pdf) to help you make a powerful and positive impression.