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Welcome Center Maximizes New Hire Success

New staff hires smiling during Welcome Center orientation

For a new employee, reporting to work on the first day is similar to the jitters we all remember experiencing as kids for our first day of school. As a manager, helping new staff feel comfortable, prepared and engaged starting day one can be challenging. However, with an effective onboarding program your new hire can get the essential tools needed to be productive right from the start.

The Cardinal at Work Welcome Center is a daylong program for new staff that establishes a foundation for future success by providing them the tools and resources they need to navigate their first few days and weeks at Stanford.



Presenter at Welcome Center orientation speaks while new hires follow along with tablets and laptops

Shawna McManus, human resources manager in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) recently attended the Welcome Center in May, and believes the experience offered her exactly what she needed to dive in to her new role.

“I found the Welcome Center to be extremely helpful,” said Shawna. “The full day was well thought out and informative. It was great to complete key tasks, and to have representatives from various departments available to help me get acquainted with Stanford’s programs and services on day one.”


The Welcome Center which launched in 2014, has supported about 2,000 new staff hires each year. Held every Monday (except holidays) at Stanford Research Park—3160 Porter Drive, Palo Alto—the enriched program offers a comprehensive and strategic approach to new hire orientation by incorporating Stanford’s history, culture, networking opportunities and a campus tour.

A Value Add for Managers

As a manager, Shawna believes the Welcome Center also adds value by reducing the burden on hiring managers and human resources team members, and increases the efficiency and effectiveness of new staff on their second day at Stanford.


Female new hire is greeted and helped by Welcome Center staff

“The Welcome Center saves me and my team a ton of time,” shared Shawna.  “The fact that new hires receive their ID badge, complete their I-9, walk through benefits offerings, receive a parking pass for two weeks, and more on their first day is very important. As a manager, it would be difficult to cover all of that information myself. Also, new hires are welcomed as soon as they walk through the door, which I believe is essential.”

Caroline Song, human resources manager for Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE), has enrolled many new hires in the Welcome Center. For her, the program is a great introduction to the university and the staff experience, but she adds that managers also put effort into the local process after the Welcome Center is completed.

“New hires walk away from the Welcome Center feeling well taken care of, but managers also play a critical role in making sure their new hire has a smooth transition into day two and the weeks following,” said Caroline.

To support managers with the transition, the Welcome Center continues communications with new staff for several weeks following orientation providing important benefits information, deadlines and access to numerous resources.

Manager Resources

Managers may learn more about the Welcome Center, including enrollment, eligibility and tips to effectively onboard new staff on the Manager’s Guide, or visit the Manage & Develop Employees section on the Cardinal at Work website for additional management best practices and toolkits.


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