Pre-boarding – preparing for the new employee’s arrival

From offer acceptance to the first day on the job, thoughtful preparation in onboarding your new or transferring employee is essential in order to provide a clear road map of activities and resources to promote a great start. You want to ensure that everything is in place and ready for his/her first day. Remember, you only have one opportunity to create a great first impression!

Schedule, job duties and expectations

  • Call and welcome employee, once formal offer is accepted:
    • Review start date, arrival time, location, transportation/parking options, dress code, lunch plans (if applicable) and a preview of the day one agenda.
    • Inform employee of anything s/he needs to bring (required documents, if applicable).
    • Provide an email address and/or phone number should new employee have any questions prior to day one.
  • Email the new employee the link to the Employee Gateway’s new hire section so s/he can review thoroughly before first day, and ensure s/he knows how to access Workday.
  • Email the unit/department to announce the new hire. Include start date, role, and professional bio, as appropriate. Copy the new hire.
  • Gather information (weblinks or paper) to provide on day one (job description, unit org chart, department map/directory, information related to the unit’s goals and priorities, etc.)
  • Plan employee’s general schedule for the first week or so:
    • Detailed agenda for day one
    • Introductions and meetings with key individuals (peers, individuals with whom new employee will regularly interact, etc.)
    • Time to explore the Employee Gateway and other important sites
    • Mandated training
    • Welcome events (lunch with you on day one, breakfast with the team the first week, etc.)
    • USCard pickup
    • Campus tour
    • More detailed information on planning employee’s first week below
  • Assign a buddy to mentor the new employee – ideally a peer who is enthusiastic about working at USC, who is willing to answer questions for the new hire’s first few weeks.
  • Plan a first assignment so s/he has an early success.

Work environment

  • Ensure the employee’s workspace is available, clean, and organized, and that any needed keys are in working order.
  • Obtain building ID badge, if necessary.
  • Arrange to have a few office supplies ready at his/her work station, even if new supplies will be ordered later.
  • Order nameplate and business cards, if necessary.
  • Consider a USC welcome gift – perhaps a bag including a coffee mug, lanyard, pen or pencils, etc.
  • If employee has requested workplace accommodations, work with your HR Partner to arrange in advance, if possible


  • In some cases, it is advantageous for USC faculty or staff to gain access to ITS accounts prior to their actual start/hire date. In all cases the employee record must first be established in Workday, including appropriate documentation authorizing the offer of employment, contract, and authorization to work. Faculty may gain access ONE YEAR prior to hire date; exceptions may be authorized by the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Staff may gain access SIX MONTHS prior to hire date; exceptions may be authorized by the Associate Senior Vice President for Human Resources. Students may not be granted full access until they certify their enrollment and are hired as student workers.
  • Order computer and software for new employee (as far ahead of time as possible). Ask your IT support to pre-load bookmarks of key websites – the Employee Gateway, your department’s site, and other information pertinent to the new hire’s position.
  • Arrange for authorizations and access to common drives.
  • Ascertain which systems employee will need to access and begin process for providing needed permissions and/or training.
  • Contact ITS to arrange for phone installation and set-up (work with your local IT support). See also phone and internet on the ITS site.
  • Ascertain new employee’s email address and phone number, and make sure s/he is set up with any login/passwords that will be needed (in addition to the USC NetID). See also accounts and passwords on the ITS site.

Learning and development