Onboarding Program


prepare | discover | learn 

Up front work involved in onboarding new and transitioning employees has a significant return on the time and effort invested. Systematic onboarding helps employees contribute to achieving goals more quickly and efficiently, dramatically reduces turnover rates, and increases engagement and retention.

The U of A Onboarding Program is designed to create a consistent, coherent, and comprehensive onboarding journey for new and transitioning employees. The program is intended to complement faculty, unit, and job specific onboarding.


The program is designed to help employees develop the skills, knowledge, and mindset required to be successful in their new role by:

  • Reaffirming their employment decision with a positive onboarding experience
  • Empowering them to copilot their onboarding journey
  • Accelerating their learning and competency development
  • Providing direction and support in navigating their new role
  • Connecting them with key stakeholders and resources
  • Fostering a sense of belonging, engagement, and shared purpose
  • Supporting the growth mindset required to contribute to the advancement the university’s mission, values, and priorities
  • Building confidence

Onboarding Resources

U of A Employee Orientation Course

The U of A Employee Orientation Program is designed to set new employees up for success, help them develop a sense of belonging, and position them to positively contribute to the university’s mission and priorities.

This course is required for all new employees within 30 days of the appointment date.

This course should be complemented by insight into team culture and norms, as well as how the role fits into institutional priorities, and the team and/or unit.

Onboarding Toolkit

The Onboarding Toolkit (accessible with your CCID only) supports effective onboarding and collaboration between those leading, supporting, and facilitating the process.

Access the toolkit for a library of flexible, role specific resources, including the onboarding checklist, 90-Day Plan template, and other important tools and resources.

Employees are supported with similar resources, which can be found on the U of A Onboarding Program website and in the U of A Employee Orientation Course.

Roles and Responsibilities

Effective onboarding is a shared responsibility that requires collaboration between the employee and the organization, with specific responsibilities falling to the supervisor, department onboarding coordinator, onboarding colleague, HR Service Partner, and new/transitioning employee.



  • Ultimately accountable for onboarding staff
  • Completes or delegates onboarding activities and administrative tasks
  • Creates a 90-Day Plan for the employee and regularly reviews with the employee
  • Identifies training and development needs for the first 90 days
  • Meets regularly with the employee, and provides feedback and guidance
  • Supports employee in applying onboarding and training materials to their role and faculty/unit

Department Onboarding Coordinator

  • Completes administrative tasks associated with onboarding and coordinates activities
  • Provides oversight of onboarding processes for the faculty/unit
  • Prompts and supports supervisors to complete pre-boarding activities, and ensure the onboarding process is followed
  • Supports individuals moving through onboarding planning
This is a function, NOT a role. It is recommended that the faculty/unit designate a consistent person to carry out these duties. In units without a general administrator, the DOC could be a member of the faculty/unit overseeing onboarding or be delegated to another member of the unit.


Onboarding Colleague

  • Acts as a cultural role model
  • Provides guidance as the employee adjusts to their role and team
  • Assists the employee to develop a sense of belonging on the team
  • Provides hands-on support to navigate systems and processes as appropriate


  • Completes required onboarding actions, including mandatory training
  • Completes U of A Employee Orientation Course
  • Completes role specific training
  • Meets objectives and key deliverables outlined in the 90-day Plan
  • Identifies additional developmental needs and collaboratively plans activities for the first 90 days
  • Meets regularly with supervisor for feedback and coaching


HR Service Partners are also here to support the onboarding process. Your HR Service Partner:

  • Implements the onboarding framework and processes developed by the CoE to support faculty/unit leaders and ensure understanding, consistent application and adoption of the institutional onboarding processes
  • Ensures onboarding is initiated as soon as the appointment letter is signed
  • Ensures understanding, and consistent application and adoption of the institutional onboarding processes
  • Helps the faculty/unit review pre-boarding activities and identify roles and responsibilities for pre-onboarding and onboarding
  • Directs supervisors to the onboarding and training resources
  • Coaches supervisors to use the toolkit and implement onboarding well
  • Supports the supervisor through the onboarding process for new/transitioning employees
  • Reinforces supervisor’s responsibilities with new/transitioning employees
  • Meets monthly during the first 90 days with the supervisor and the onboarding employee to get feedback on the onboarding process and to offer support