Information for Managers of New Staff

This guide has been produced to help you provide a welcoming environment for new staff, adequate on-the-job training and support, and establish good communication and positive, professional work relationships.

NOTE: If you have a new staff member starting soon please download this First Day Checklist for New Staff to ensure you are ready for their arrival.

Before the Staff Member Arrives

  • See whether the new staff member needs advice or information in advance. For example, if the person is relocating to Hamilton or Tauranga do they want help regarding accommodation, schooling, community information, etc?
  • Reaching out to the new staff member by email before they start can be a good way to indicate you are looking forward to their arrival and identify any way you might provide pre-employment assistance.
  • Let other staff know when the new person will arrive; arrange times for introductions with key people.
  • Have a work space ready - with somewhere secure for personal belongings and an office door name plate if appropriate.
  • Make sure essential work aids are available - keys/cardex access, computer, computer accounts, telephone extension, photocopier/printer access, etc.
  • Make sure you Create New User Account for the staff member in Uniaccess so they have access to the systems they need.
  • Make sure you complete the New Staff Starter request in Kuhukuhu to ensure your new staff member has a computer, phone extension, mobile phone and or headset ordered ready for their arrival.

NOTE: We send new staff a link to the Information Guide for New Staff with their offer letter, so please check this to see whether you need to provide any additional information to meet local needs.

Appoint a 'Buddy'

Ask a suitable colleague to act as a 'buddy' to provide support over the first month or so. This is an informal role, supporting the manager in easing the newcomer's transition into the workplace. Some examples of how a buddy may help are:

  • Explaining the location of useful facilities
  • Introducing other staff; taking the new staff member to lunch or tea breaks
  • Describing office processes and equipment, eg mail, email and e-calendar protocols
  • Explaining department/unit practices and processes, eg arrangements for receiving and returning student assignments
  • Showing the staff member around the Library or introducing them to computer support staff
  • Being available to answer questions

The informal support and assistance provided by a buddy to the new staff member can be invaluable during the early days of an appointment. Please contact [email protected] if you would like your nominated buddy to participate in a Buddy Briefing Session.

The First Day

When the new staff member arrives in the work area, you or your nominee should:

  • Greet the new staff member warmly and outline your plan for their first day (use our First Day Checklist for New Staff template to create your own first day programme)
  • Take time to discuss the job, your expectations and their responsibilities; allow time for their questions
  • Introduce them to their buddy (if relevant), other colleagues and senior staff
  • Provide a guided tour of the workplace
  • Explain essential office systems and processes
  • Outline essential health and safety information and identify any localised workplace hazards; introduce key contacts eg Health & Safety Representative and Floor Warden (the Health and Safety Induction Checklist should be used for this).
  • Allow them time to settle in to their workspace
  • Visit later in the day to see how they're settling in

Most staff have a Zoom ‘Sign-on’ with HR on or prior to their first day.  In this session HR will provide employment information relating to the individual and provide them with an opportunity to answer any questions they may have about their employment eg pay queries, superannuation, parking or professional development. Please check that this has happened and let your HR advisor know if it hasn't.

You should be aware of University Health and Safety procedures and responsibilities. If not, please complete the online training module for managers of staff.

The First Week

Actions taken need to be appropriate to the position and needs of the individual, but a few examples are:

  • Try to maintain daily contact to discuss progress and provide support
  • Discuss the job in greater detail, outlining how it fits into the unit/department and overall organisation
  • Show location of essential University policy information held on the web at
  • Encourage and praise progress; be alert to any problems.

Create an Individualised Onboarding and Induction Programme

The needs of each new staff member are different and are best catered for on an individual basis. It is valuable to meet with the staff member to map out a programme that allows the staff member to access relevant information and training/support over a three to twelve month period. Factors to be considered may include:

  • Personal skills and knowledge - and any gaps
  • Personal situation eg new to New Zealand/new to a university
  • Specific job factors eg student supervision responsibilities, budget management, etc.
  • Faculty/School/Department/Insitute/Division/Unit factors eg conference funding arrangements, administration systems
  • University factors eg strategic direction, university-wide policies and guidelines.

It is recommended that you document the programme as a checklist or 'to do' list. This allows you both to see what has been covered and what still needs to be done.


Ideally, responsibility for developing and completing the programme lies jointly with the manager and the new staff member. As the manager, you may need to set aside time and other resources, or delegate to others as appropriate.

Also check out your line management responsibilities related to Diversity and Inclusion.

Additional Help

The Organisational Development and Wellness team (ODW) or your HR Advisor can assist you to design a suitable onboarding and induction programme by request.

Three Month Objectives, Development and Reflection (ODR)

All eligible staff are expected to have a ODR conversation with their line manager after approximately three months in a new role. This exercise aims to check progress on understanding the role and performance expectations. It also serves as an entry interview to ensure the university is properly supporting newly appointed staff to ensure their retention and motivation.