Policy 1323
New Employee Orientation

Date of Current Revision: June 2018
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources


The university has a systematic, strategic program within Human Resources to provide new employees with information about the university, their benefits options, and personnel policies and procedures, making the employment experience more fulfilling and productive.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Dukes at Work Orientation Program
A systematic, strategic program designed to educate and inform new employees for the purpose of making their employment experience more fulfilling and their work more productive.


This policy applies to all newly hired (and re-hired after a year’s break in service) full-time or part-time faculty and staff. It does not apply to student employees (Policy 1334) or graduate assistants (Policy 2103).


The Dukes at Work orientation program consists of various components:  Onboard Session, Connections Day, Online Benefits and Compliance Modules, and Dukes at Work weekly email listserv messages.


As soon as a candidate has accepted a job offer, the department shall initiate an ePAR. The ePAR begins the onboarding process and serves as the Personnel Action Request and Pay Action Worksheet (when applicable). The onboard specialist will determine from the ePAR if paperwork needs to be completed with the employee and, if so, the onboard specialist will schedule an onboard session with the new employee, sometime after the employee accepts the job offer, and before his/her first day of work or before his/her transfer from a student to a non-student position. Once the employee is eligible to begin work, the onboard specialist will approve the ePAR and the ePAR initiator will receive an auto-notification indicating that the ePAR has been approved. An employee shall not begin work until the department receives an auto-notification from the onboard approver.

Onboard Session: Once Human Resources is notified that a new employee has been hired, the employee will receive an email from the onboard specialist with information about how to schedule their onboard session; this email also contains a link to the online benefits modules. During the onboard session, the employee will complete all required hiring paperwork to include the Form I-9, Employee Information Form, tax forms, direct deposit authorization, and background check form. Additionally, the employee will fill out parking forms and receive a temporary parking pass, as well as instructions on how and when to obtain a JACard. The employee will be given information about the upcoming Connections Day events and instructions to view the online compliance modules within 30 days of hire. The session typically lasts 30 minutes for new employees.

Connections Day: Throughout the year, Human Resources hosts a special half-day event for new faculty and staff. Connections Day is designed to build comradery and engage new employees of all levels and classifications.

Benefits: The new employee will receive an email from the onboard specialist, which contains a link to the online benefits modules. The videos provide information about benefits options available to their employment type and aid the new employee in deciding which options are best for them. Once the benefits team is notified that a new full-time employee has been hired, the employee will be sent an email from the benefits team to their JMU email address, with a link to schedule their one-on-one appointment with a benefits specialist.

Compliance Training: New employees are required within 30 days of hire to electronically acknowledge their awareness of all university policies and agree to adhere to them. The email is then scanned into their personnel file in Human Resources. New employees are also required within 30 days of hire to view HR’s online compliance modules on Alcohol and Other Drugs, Preventing Workplace Violence, Terrorism and Security Awareness, and Workplace Dispute Resolution. The university’s Title IX Office offers Title IX training to new employees. Newly hired supervisors of classified employees are required to view Understanding and Using the Grievance Procedure and to view the Workplace Substance Abuse Management for Supervisors online module or enroll in the workshop. 

Dukes at Work Weekly Email Listserv: All new employees are automatically added to the Dukes at Work weekly email listserv, once they have begun working. Throughout a new employee’s first year of employment, they will receive short, engaging weekly messages specifically written for new employees with helpful hints and information from a variety of areas across campus, such as inclement weather and emergency closings, parking and transportation tips, wellness information, events at JMU, employee discounts, etc.

To assist supervisors of classified employees in the orientation process, a departmental checklist, accompanied by the welcome letter, is sent to supervisors by JMU’s Communication, Policy and Compliance person. Departments are required to return the welcome letter, signed by the employee, and checklist, signed by the employee and their supervisor, to Human Resources. Both documents then reside in the employee's personnel file in Human Resources.


Managers and supervisors are responsible for the application of this orientation policy. Supervisors are encouraged to ensure that new employees participate in Human Resources’ Dukes at Work orientation program. In addition, managers and supervisors are responsible for providing newly appointed, promoted, or transferred employees with job training and information specific to departmental operations.

Formal Dukes at Work orientation programs are the responsibility of Human Resources.

All departments, offices and employees that generate, receive or maintain public records under the terms of this policy are also responsible for compliance with Policy 1109-Records Management.


Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense, and may include termination of employment.


Faculty orientation for new faculty members is coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs and occurs in late August, before the start of the fall semester.


The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president, and is generally delegated to the director of human resources.

Previous version: April 2011
Approved by the President: April 2002

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