Onboarding and Orientation and Review Period


During the Orientation and Review (O & R) Period, you will also be onboarding your new staff member, as you observe his or her performance for the purposes of determining the right match. Onboarding is the orientation and integration of your new employee into your department. It provides your new employee with an overview of your department and the resources and tools needed to excel at their job. These guidelines will help your new employee feel welcomed, engaged and prepared. It also helps to shorten your new employee’s time to achieving productivity.

For more information about the onboarding process, please see the FAS Onboarding Toolkit, which includes a New Employee Onboarding Checklist, an Onboarding Workflow Diagram, and a New Employee Welcome Letter Template.

There are four onboarding phases:
  • Contact your new employee to welcome them to your department and to confirm their start date and arrival time.
  • Email your new employee the “New Staff Members: Getting Started at FAS” website link.
  • Ensure that your new employee will have the basics on their first day of work: including office space, phone, voicemail, computer, building access, systems, and email setup.
  • Notify people in your department when your new employee will be starting. Provide an overview of your new employee’s experience, what he or she will be working on, and to whom they will report.
  • Identify and schedule required training to take place during their first few weeks/months.

Since your new employee’s first day will leave a lasting impression on them, as their manager, you play an important role in helping to make the experience a positive one. Be sure to:

  • Greet your new employee when they arrive.
  • Introduce your new employee to their team and the people they will interact with most closely.
  • Review their job responsibilities as well as the department’s goals and department and/or division’s website.
  • Arrange for someone on your team to provide a tour of their work area, including exits, copy/fax machines, and restrooms.
  • Confirm that your new employee has the equipment and resources that they need (phone system, voicemail, intranet, network access, software, hardware, printers, email, mail, business cards, IT support, access cards, building security, safety and emergency procedures, phone lists, office supplies, etc.).
  • If possible, pair-up your new employee with a mentor inside or outside of the department as another resource.

The first 90 Days of an FAS staff member’s employment, the Orientation and Review (O & R) Period, is a crucial time for you to evaluate your new staff member, set performance expectations, and to agree on clear job goals. If it appears that the placement is not suitable for any reason, either party may terminate the relationship, without needing to use Harvard's dispute resolution process.

Your HR Coordinator will generate an  O & R form in PeopleSoft and will send an email notification to the manager and Department Administrator outlining the  O & R process.

For your employee, the O & R Period is about building relationships, learning processes/procedures, and beginning to make a contribution to FAS.

  • Schedule weekly (or biweekly) one-on-one meetings to review progress and provide feedback and coaching to the employee.
  • Help your new employee set up appointments with groups outside of the department in order to establish important cross-functional relationships.
O & R Resources

If at any time you believe your new staff member is not meeting expectations, you should contact your HR consultant to discuss next steps.

  • Complete the O & R form in Peoplesoft.
  • Discuss with your new employee the steps they can take to increase their knowledge level and to shorten their learning curve.
  • Review the FAS performance management process in order to set expectations for the remaining portion of the coming year. (Note: if the annual performance review date is within three months of the O & R period, this may be omitted.)
  • Ask your new employee to draft individual goals for the remaining portion of the year and meet with them to finalize and agree on their goals.