Chapter 1: New Employees/Orientation

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Hire Date

Your hire date is the date you begin regular or limited-term (not temporary) employment with Swarthmore. It is used to determine your length of service for purposes of earning service awards.

If you have worked at Swarthmore before but have had a break in service of more than six months, your hire date is the beginning date of your most recent continuous employment with Swarthmore. Special guidelines may apply to individuals who move from regular employment to temporary employment.


Benefits Eligibility Date

Benefits eligibility is determined by date of hire or transfer into a permanent or limited term position with a .50 FTE or greater. If you are hired on the first day or business day of the month, benefits are effective immediately. Otherwise, benefits begin the first day of the following month.

Identification Cards

All staff members at Swarthmore must have an ID card made on their first day of work. Your ID card provides identification and enables you to obtain special services and to use various facilities of the College. You must always carry your ID card when you're on Swarthmore premises and any time you are on College business away from campus. ID cards and badges remain the property of Swarthmore and must be turned in to your supervisor if your employment ends. ID cards are issued through Public Safety located in the Benjamin West Building and carry a five-year expiration date. At the time of renewal you can choose either to have the card re-issued using the photograph on file or to replace the photograph. Should you choose to use the current photograph, contact Public Safety at ext. 8330 and a new card will be produced and mailed to you. It is recommended you call to make an appointment if you would like a new photo taken at the time of renewal.


Orientation and Evaluation Period

Your first few months in your current position are a period of orientation and evaluation. Orientation periods vary by department. Check with your supervisor regarding the length of your orientation period.

After you attend a benefit orientation session in the Human Resources Office you will be invited to a College Orientation Program that will provide you an overview of the College's mission, philosophy, communication, methods of operation, important policies as well as employee resources.

Your orientation within your department begins on your first day and will continue for some time. During this period you should work most closely with your supervisor to learn about your position and what is expected of you. And it's a chance for your supervisor to provide you with support, guidance, and feedback.

If you are ever unsure about how to perform a certain duty, or if you feel like you need more help or feedback from your supervisor, please ask. Good communication is one of the most important parts of a successful work relationship.

Below is a useful list of items you may want your supervisor to review with you.

A. Tour of the Department

  • coworkers in the immediate work unit
  • primary contacts in other work units
  • department and campus facilities
  • department's history, structure, and objectives
  • organizational structure of the campus
  • departmental location of any policy and procedure manuals
  • departmental information security policy
  • staff ID and parking sticker

B. Workspace

  • primary work area
  • where personal belongings may be kept and College policy about access to College property
  • building and/or office access and key policies
  • parking access and policies
  • equipment or clothing (e.g., uniforms, beepers, pagers, etc.) and responsibility for maintenance
  • location of supplies
  • telephones (voice-mail, call forwarding, how to handle messages for others)
  • computer network (e-mail, homepage on the Web, help desk)
  • campus mail and US mail processes for your department
  • use of office equipment (computers, copiers, fax machines)
  • no smoking policy in campus buildings

C. Job Responsibilities

  • essential duties and responsibilities, and how they fit into the work unit's objectives
  • work unit expectations about attendance & work schedules
  • normal work hours and possible variance
  • meal and break periods
  • overtime and shift expectations
  • requesting scheduled time off, and limits during orientation period
  • requesting unscheduled time off
  • whom to notify and when to call in
  • the circumstances under which doctors' statements are required
  • expectations about reporting to work during inclement weather
  • requesting to leave the job site during work hours
  • review work unit expectations about access to and use of department resources
  • phones (no personal long distance calls)
  • computers (no personal business)
  • equipment (tools, supplies, etc.)

D. Other

  • other departmental work rules, and how-to manuals; such as the Publication department's College Style Guide, etc
  • resource person to whom the employee should turn for help, mentoring, or answers to questions
  • orientation period and when your performance will be formally evaluated
  • safety: how to handle and report on-the-job injuries/accidents, the location of emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and emergency procedures, such as what to do in case of fire

E. Time Reporting and Pay

  • rates of pay for regular, overtime, and shift work as applicable
  • timesheet, timecard/report of absence procedures and consequences for failure to report time appropriately


Performance Management During the Orientation Period

If your job performance during the orientation period is unsatisfactory, your supervisor will give you either oral or written notice of the deficiency and explain how your performance needs to improve in order to continue employment. Your supervisors may also elect to extend your orientation period, to provide additional training, or time to evaluate whether you will be able to meet expectations.

A staff member may be terminated without further notice during the orientation period if he or she fails to meet performance expectations. During the orientation period an employee does not have access to the standard grievance procedure to appeal a disciplinary action or termination, but may access the discrimination grievance procedure (see Chapter Eleven).


Transfer and Promotion after Orientation

You are eligible to apply for transfers and/or promotions after you have been in your position for one year.


Personnel Files

Human Resources keeps your official personnel file. These files are the property of the College. Information related to hiring, transfers, promotions, salary adjustments, disciplinary actions, grievances, and termination of employment, as well as other formal correspondence regarding employment at Swarthmore, are kept in personnel files.

Current employees may review their personnel files upon request with advance notice. If you wish to review your personnel file, please call the HR Office to schedule a convenient time. It is important to note that you may not alter the files in any way, including adding or removing documents. If information requires updating or correction, an HR representative will make the alteration.

Personnel files may also be reviewed by administrators in the College with a bona fide need to have access to the information contained in the files. For example, your supervisor or other administrators in your chain of authority, as well as potential new supervisors for positions for which you are applying, may review your central personnel file.

Benefits information, including such things as your insurance enrollment information, beneficiary designations, and documentation of medical conditions, as well as financial information such as wage garnishment and child support orders, are maintained separately and available only to benefits or payroll administrators as appropriate, and are not generally available to supervisors.


Releasing Information From Personnel Files

The College releases some data in aggregate form for statistical reporting purposes, such as compliance with federal reporting requirements or participation in relevant surveys. Such information is not released for commercial purposes, and individual identities are not released in resulting reports.

Financial information is not released to third parties such as credit bureaus or other agencies except with your written release or by court order.

If you hold a position in which you might be asked to provide information on other employees or students, you must comply with several College policies relating to information security. The Preservation of Privacy and Confidentiality of Records policy is available from Human Resources. The College's formal Information Security Plan was developed to be in compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Please refer to Chapter 15, page 5 for a synopsis; the entire policy can be viewed and downloaded from the Information Security Committee web page at