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A bigger welcome for new employees

Expanded orientation debuts at the Twin Cities campus

By Chris Schanus

Stacy Doepner-Hove.
Stacy Doepner-Hove is the manager of the expanded orientation program.

Brief, Jan. 9, 2008

When University leadership identified recruiting and retaining a world-class faculty and staff as one of four key "pillars" essential to meeting the goal of becoming a top public research university, a strong new-employee orientation program became a priority.

The task of making recommendations for a redesigned new-employee orientation program that would give employees a strong start in their careers at the U was taken on by the Transformational Leadership Project, led by Human Resource Management System (HRMS) project manager Bonnie Marten.

On January 16, the team's vision will come to fruition with the debut of a redesigned, new-employee orientation program that builds upon and significantly enhances the current program.

Improvements to the new program were based on strategic positioning recommendations and informed by best practices of large employers across the country. The enhanced program will be highlighted by three main events that take place during months one, seven, and twelve of a new employee's first year.

In addition, targeted training modules for specific subgroups of new employees will be made available throughout the year.

One of the goals of the redesigned orientation program is to help employees move past the initial overwhelming feeling that comes with being new in any organization and toward a feeling of connection and pride in becoming part of the University community.

As the new orientation program matures, it's designed to allow for greater integration with unit-level and supervisory orientation efforts.

"A more expansive approach to orientation will help new employees become well informed earlier about the culture, expectations, policies, and resources of the University," says program manager Stacy Doepner-Hove.

"The program shows the University's recognition that employees are central to our mission," she says. "They are valuable and worthy of investment."

A U employee for eight years, Doepner-Hove holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing a master of arts in human resources and industrial relations.

Chris Schanus is a communication project manager in the Office of Human Resources, Twin Cities campus.