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Incoming UCOP employees get new orientation program

Anyone who has recently joined UCOP’s staff knows that the first few weeks can be overwhelming. Add a half-day orientation session packed full of handouts, videos and “brief” presentations—not to mention deadlines for benefit signups—and the experience can leave you feeling downright dizzy.

The new Local Human Resources team is remedying that situation with a revamped New Employee Orientation program that debuted on Tuesday, May 10, promising a softer landing and even a fun experience for new UCOP employees.

The program is just one of the many improvements Human Resources is making to build a more fulfilling and participatory work experience for the UCOP community. The effort was led by HR consultant Donna Salvo and supported by a project team including HR, benefits and other OP staff.

One key change is that senior UCOP managers appear not just on PowerPoint slides or org chart handouts, but in the flesh, to rub shoulders with the newest hires. David Ernst introduced the May 10 program, explaining his role as associate vice president for Information Resources & Communications and Chief Information Officer and taking questions from participants.

Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president for business operations, also appeared, hosting a box-lunch break in the four-and-a-half-hour program that gave new employees the chance to chat with him and hear about Brostrom’s own vision for UCOP.

“I found the session very informative and really enjoyed meeting Ernst and Brostrom,” said Tracy FitzGerald, one of the 13 attendees, who started in her new job as communications traffic coordinator April 25.

“It helped me focus on what I need to do right away, like going online to sign up for my benefits,” FitzGerald said. She worked at OP from 1989 to 1994 and later at Wells Fargo, among other places, but never had a job that provided a dedicated orientation session for new employees.

Another big change in the program is frequency; the orientation will now be offered every two weeks rather than once monthly. The goal is to give new staff the advantage of attending before the end of their 31-day “period of initial eligibility” for enrolling in benefits, as well as allow them to participate in a community-building experience as early in their UCOP tenure as possible.

Other new features include updated handouts, information on safety and disaster recovery, more complete background on UC’s mission and vision, and an icebreaker, where attendees paired up to interview one another and then introduce their partner to the group.

Also debuting was a new, UCOP-produced video on employee benefits that summarizes health and welfare benefits, retirement and savings benefits, and tools and resources for employees.

The new 10-minute video replaces an outdated 40-minute piece that has probably been used for at least a decade. Produced in house by Communications Department staff, the new video features photographs of faculty, staff and students taken at all UC campuses, medical centers and labs.

You can see the new video on the At Your Service website and, even if you aren’t a new employee, it will make you feel great about working for UC.

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