First-Day Readiness

You can help newly hired staff be ready to contribute from their very first day at Penn by following just a few recommended steps. These best practices were gathered as part of the HCM Service Delivery's team work with Schools and Centers to improve the onboarding process for new hires. 

Start Date

Choose a start date that allows sufficient processing time. Take into account university, school, center, and department approvals; background checks; and an adequate notice period from the current employer.

Keep in Touch

Upon completion of approvals and background checks, call the employee and extend a warm welcome. 

Complete Forms in Advance

Completing minimum required forms in advance facilitates creation of a payroll record for the new employee. The department can accomplish this in two ways:

  • Encourage the employee to make an appointment to meet with the payroll administrator at least one working day in advance of the start date. During that meeting have the employee provide the following:
    • Signed offer letter (have a copy on hand if you have not yet received the signed letter)
    • Personal information form (if applicable)
    • W-4
    • Voluntary Self ID
  • Alternatively, the hiring manager may provide the employee with these forms and a return address. The employee may complete the forms and return them by mail (USPS) to the payroll administrator. Emailing forms with sensitive information, such as birth date and social security numbers, is not recommended as email is not considered a secure method of communication.

Complete Payroll Record

The payroll administrator completes the payroll record in advance of the start date, enabling the employee to obtain a PennCard and PennKey on the first day of work. This facilitates getting an email address, registering for direct deposit, having access to benefits enrollment in a timely manner, etc.

I-9 Compliance 

Ensure the employee completes Part 2 of the I-9 with the School/Center/Department I-9 administrator on the first day of employment. This is critical for timely payroll record completion and benefits enrollment access.