Revitalizing new-employee orientation

Kay Van Vreede, head of the Workforce Development and Resources Section, wrote this column.

Kay Van Vreede

Over the past year, we in WDRS have worked to make welcoming new employees to Fermilab even more welcoming, and we plan to expand the effort by offering a more comprehensive orientation.

First-day new-employee orientation receives high marks from participants (4.75/5.0 according to the results of our feedback questionnaire) thanks to our friendly orienteer, Jason Johnson, and to a streamlined, largely online on-boarding process. Suggestions from the Employee Advisory Group, as well as from individual employees, on additional improvements such as a revamp of the benefits section have made orientation day more interactive and informative. Human Resources generalists also come by to greet the new employees who are starting in their respective sectors and help get them to the right place after orientation.

On the first day of orientation, the orienteer makes sure the employees’ paperwork is in order and provides them with essential information. The following day, each employee’s department manager begins offering more information and education using a checklist provided by Human Resources.

Many people have asked us for a more comprehensive orientation that covers the organization and work of the laboratory. In response, we are putting together a new program that will be offered to new employees within their first month of employment. We’ve begun this process by conducting a focus group of some newly hired employees. We’ve also expanded the initiative to a survey, sent out on Aug. 24, to solicit feedback from anyone hired within the last year. If you were sent one of the surveys (from Survey Monkey), please help us by filling it out. If you are not eligible to take the survey but have ideas on what could be included in the new orientation, please send them to Barb Brooks.

On another note, most of our summer interns have departed for school. We have had another successful year thanks to the students, Carol Angarola, Sandra Charles, Dianne Engram, Liz Quigg and all of the wonderful staff involved. If you would like to see what kind of research our students are involved in or read their papers, please visit the summer internship website.