Tips on Starting a New Job

Starting a new job is like starting off on a trip to a place you have not been before. It takes thoughtful planning and following a good map, GPS or other directions to arrive successfully at your location. Your supervisor and new workplace have been expecting you, developing a roadmap for you to be successful. This roadmap will help you learn about the University of Iowa; your job responsibilities and how you can contribute to the success of your unit, your coworkers/team; developmental activities to help you develop your career interests; and how you will be rewarded with pay and benefits for your efforts. Listed below are some suggestions to integrate that roadmap into your journey in the first days on the job.

People to Meet

  • Meet with your Human Resources Representative to finalize any employment procedures and documentation.  Your HR Rep can assist you with questions you may have about UI policies and programs.
  • Meet with your supervisor to learn about their performance expectations and how your job performance will make a difference to those you serve.  Having meaningful work and knowing the impact of your work is an important aspect of being engaged in your employment.   
  • Meet with coworker(s) assigned to help you learn the details of your job and unit.  Listen to his/her instruction, take notes as needed and ask questions that help you learn your job and the unit's culture and processes.  Be sure to let your coworker know how you learn best.  We want you to be successful in learning your new job.
  • Meet your coworkers and learn what they do, how they will work with you and about them as individuals.  Collegial working relationships are another important aspect of a great place to work.
  • If you have more questions about University services, refer to the Welcome video or Staff Resource Guide.  In addition, you can contact Human Resources at as we want to support your journey to becoming a successful member of the University community.
  • If English is not your first language and you need help communicating with your supervisor and coworkers or with training, you may want to meet with someone from Staff Language and Culture Services. More information is available on their web site.

Activities in which to Engage

  • Familiarize yourself with the equipment, tools, policies and procedures provided to you.  Ask for assistance if you are unfamiliar with any of them. 
  • Participate in any required training to be sure you are aware of policies, procedures and safety requirements.
  • Attend department meetings and social gatherings to develop collegial relationships that will assist you in your daily work and future career development.
  • Review unit/departmental newsletters,”Iowa Now” (Faculty and Staff News), and other materials that will keep you informed about news and information throughout the University and your unit.
  • Use resources wisely and build in “Green’ habits to integrate recycling and sustainability into your workplace.  Please visit  RecycleMania 2014 - Sustainability at Iowa or the Office of Sustainability.

Thoughts for a Successful Transition

  • Ask for feedback about your performance from your supervisor, coworker/trainer, and colleagues, early and often to help you become a valuable member of your work group and the University community.  Act on what you hear so your performance and outcomes meet expectations.
  • Initially listen more than talk as you will learn more about your coworkers, your job and the University when you are an active listener.  As you learn about your job, you are encouraged to positively and inquisitively share any ideas you have that will streamline and improve processes.  As a learning organization new ideas are encouraged and we want you to contribute to our continuing success.

Career Development

  • Learning and performing your current assignments are critical to your career development.  Initially focus on essential learning and excellence performance in your assignments.
  • Mentoring, training, and stretch assignments are ways to develop your career.  Talk with your supervisor about who in your organization might be a good mentor based upon your career interests.  Also, as you demonstrate your proficiency in your position, ask about stretch assignments that can build your skills and demonstrate your additional abilities.  Resources for training are available at the UI Learning and Development web site.

Work Life and Wellness

  • Invite someone you meet to have coffee or lunch with you.  Having a friend in the workplace enhances the quality of your work life and increases your engagement with your workplace.
  • Starting a new job can be a challenge to your exercise and nutrition routine.  Recognizing that your health and wellness contribute to your personal well being as well as your productivity, the University offers many services.  See UI Wellness site for more information. .
  • Consider taking the Personal Health Assessment.  This tool helps you identify personal lifestyle practices and health history that can impact your health and wellness and provides resources for health improvement.  If that isn’t incentive enough, you will receive up to $65 for taking it!