How Do I Get Started as a New Employee?

Congratulations on your new position, and welcome to Northwestern University! You’ve picked a great place to work, and we’re glad to have you here.

Keep in mind that onboarding is a process that takes several months. Take your time to get to know the lay of the land, both within your immediate work environment and the University as a whole. Take advantage of the many opportunities to network with fellow members of the Northwestern community; building relationships is key. Here are some of the first steps most University employees need to take to get started.

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Download and print the Onboarding Checklist PDF Document, and go over it with your manager. This checklist provides a more comprehensive roadmap of things to do as a new employee and specific resources for completing some of the following steps. Talk with your manager and colleagues about additional unit-specific onboarding procedures.

Paperwork / Payroll Forms

Make sure all applicable paperwork is complete with HR.

NetID, Email, WildCARD

Activate your NetID (your electronic identity at Northwestern), set up your email account, and get a WildCARD.


Watch the New Employee Orientation Part 1: Online Module during your first few days as a new employee, and plan to attend a New Employee Orientation Part 1: Benefits session during your first month (registration not required). You have within 31 days of your hire date to elect benefits online. More information about Part 1 and 2 of Orientation is as follows.

New Employee Orientation Part 1: Online

Watching the New Employee Orientation Part 1: Online Module is the best way for newcomers to Northwestern to get to know the University. You will learn what you need to know to begin working here, develop appreciation for the excellence of the Northwestern community, and familiarize yourself with the University's many resources and responsibilities regarding campus ethics, safety and security policies.

Feel free to bookmark the module for future reference, as it is available for your use anytime. Contact the Learning & Organization Development team at 847-467-5081 if an alternate format is needed.

New Employee Orientation Part 1: Benefits

At New Employee Orientation Part 1: Benefits sessions, benefits counselors discuss health, retirement and tuition benefits, answer questions, and help you select the coverage you need. This is the fastest and easiest way for you to access information about your specific benefits needs and make the necessary selections to ensure your coverage begins as soon as possible. Spouses and partners of employees are welcome to attend. Coffee, tea and water service is provided. For more information, please contact the Learning & Organization Development team at 847-467-5081.

  • New Employee Orientation Part 1: Benefits sessions are held every week (usually on Wednesday), from 9:30 a.m. – noon, alternating between the Evanston campus and the Chicago campus.
  • Because Orientation locations vary from week to week, be sure to check the University's online calendar for each session's specific location. Registration is not required.
  • Please bring your Benefits Packet with you to Orientation.
  • Benefits Slides are available for download.

» Find Upcoming Orientation Sessions and Locations

New Employee Orientation Part 2

Attend New Employee Orientation Part 2 (registration required) two to four months after hiring and after attending NEO Part 1.

New Employee Orientation Part 2 is an important part of the onboarding process with the University. This free, interactive event will give new employees an opportunity to hear from a Northwestern senior leader about the University's culture, where Northwestern is today and where we are headed. New employees will get to participate in valuable workshops about Northwestern's "Standards for Business Conduct" (the University's major policies and procedures, including the prevention of discrimination and harassment) and "Performance Excellence" process (for good goal setting and communication).

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required for the entire day. You’ll need your departmental “Chart String” to complete registration for the free event. A $50 charge will only be applied for no-shows/cancellations.

» Find Upcoming Sessions and Register

Workplace Learning

Sign up for workshops and other learning opportunities. Determine which University Business Processes workshops are right for your role, which software systems you’ll be using, and if your department or position requires any additional training. All employees are encouraged to take the Introduction to University Business Processes online module.

Annual New Employee Reception

The Annual New Employee Reception is an event on each campus that gives employees in their first year an opportunity to mix, mingle and build cross-campus connections. Light refreshments will be served and a free raffle will be held. Prizes include a free professional development workshop and NU gear.

Guests will also enjoy a special presentation by Jennifer Green, artistic director of the Piven Theatre and adjunct faculty member in Northwestern's Masters Program of Learning and Organizational Change: Improvisation in Everyday Life: Team Building, Networking, and Conversation Starting. Break the ice, build community and find connections. Networking can be fun, easy and dynamic. Let conversation and improvisation improve your ability to collaborate, cooperate and start new dialogues to inspire your working environment.


Contact the Learning & Organization Development team at