New Employee Orientation

230 FW 2
FWM Number
230 FW 2, FWM 141, 06/01/94
Originating Office
Division of Training (NCTC)

2.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter establishes policy for and guidance on orienting new permanent employees.

2.2 What are the objectives of the Service's New Employee Orientation Program?

A. We intend to effectively introduce new employees to the Service and its mission to:

(1) Give them a sense of direction and purpose,

(2) Help them perform their jobs more effectively, and

(3) Increase their commitment to the Service.

B. Our orientation program helps ensure that new employees learn:

(1) Their supervisor’s expectations in terms of their duties, responsibilities, and performance requirements;

(2) Their rights, benefits, and conditions of employment;

(3) How their work contributes to the overall program responsibility of their offices;

4) How their offices contribute to the achievement of the Service’s mission;

(5) Service operations, organization, programs, and current key issues;

(6) Service culture and history, its work force, its values and ethics, and its vision for the future; and

(7) How to plan for and develop their careers with the Service.

2.3 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all new, permanent employees and their supervisors.

2.4 Who is responsible for new employee orientation?

A. The Assistant Directors and Regional Directors are responsible for ensuring their staff effectively implement the New Employee Orientation Program.

B. The Chief, Division of Human Capital and Regional Human Capital Officers oversee the administrative aspects of the orientation process within their respective areas of responsibility.

C. The Director, National Conservation Training Center (NCTC):

(1) Oversees the development and maintenance of the New Employee Orientation Program guidelines, and

(2) Advises the Service Directorate on Program administration.

D. Supervisors:

(1) Ensure that their new employees participate in appropriate parts of the program in a timely manner (see sections 2.5 and 2.6);

(2) Ensure employee attendance at orientation training, as applicable;

(3) Ensure employee completion of the national orientation training via the intranet site (see section 2.7).

(4) Complete the Checklist for Employee Orientation (FWS Form 3-2160) or assign a sponsor to help complete the checklist.

2.5 What does the New Employee Orientation Program look like? The New Employee Orientation Program has four components: preparing the employee to report to duty; work site orientation; Regional orientation; and the Employee Foundations course. The information below shows the key components and when they should take place. Sections 2.6 through 2.9 give more information about each component.

Prior to reporting for duty:

o   Supervisor contact

o   Welcome package:

     -Reporting information

     -Orientation video

     -New Employee orientation web address

o   Set up office space and arrange for information technology (IT) access

First 30 days:

o   Work site orientation


     -Welcome and introductions

     -Position description

     -Supervisor’s checklist

o   Regional/Headquarters orientation

     -Rights and benefits


     -Regional training

     -Colleagues/points of contact

     -Regional mission; position relevance

     -Career development

Within 3-12 months of hire:

o   USFWS Employee Foundations Course (1 week at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC))

2.6 What orientation activities should take place before the employee reports to duty?

A. The new employee’s supervisor:

(1) Reviews the Supervisor’s Checklist activities to ensure all the details necessary are completed to prepare for the employee’s arrival (FWS Form 3-2160), and

(2) Contacts the new employee to welcome them to the Service before they report to work. The supervisor will answer questions, offer assistance, and congratulate the new employee on the decision to join the Service.

B. The servicing Human Capital Office provides the new employee a welcome package after selection and before they report to work. The package should include, at a minimum:

(1) The employment letter,

(2) Reporting information,

(3) The New Employee Orientation Web address, and

(4) As an option, the Service orientation video/DVD (“The Journey Begins, The Tradition Continues”).

2.7 What work-site orientation takes place during the first month of an employee’s hire? The supervisor and a designated sponsor (if practical) perform the work site orientation during the first month on the job. This orientation establishes a solid basis for the new employee.

A. Supervisor and sponsor duties:

(1) 1st Day: On the new employee’s first day, the supervisor should:

     (a) Welcome and acclimate the new employee. The first day on the job makes a lasting impression.

     (b) Discuss and complete, or determine a time to complete, all of the items listed under the “On the Employee’s First Day” on FWS Form 3-2160, Supervisor’s Checklist for Employee Orientation.

     (c) Provide the employee with a copy of their classified position description.

     (d) Discuss and ensure the employee understands their performance expectations as outlined on the Employee Performance Appraisal Plan.

     (e) Provide other appropriate information about the office (brochures, maps, etc). FWS Form 3-2160 contains suggestions for what kind of information to provide.

(2) 1st Week: We encourage supervisors to assign a sponsor to help the new employee learn about and get acclimated to the office. If this is not practical because the duty location is a small field office or geographically separated office, the supervisor is the sponsor. During the employee’s first week, the sponsor:

     (a) Assists with the transition of the new employee to the Service and specific job duties,

     (b) Answers general operational questions,

     (c) Introduces the new employee to co-workers within and across programs,

     (d) Identifies tools and resources the employee needs to do their job, and

     (e) If needed, works with the supervisor to provide local area information.

(3) In the 1st month: The supervisor:

     (a) Assists the employee with registration for the online “New Employee Orientation” through the Department’s Learning Management System to document completion of the online orientation on the employee’s official transcript,

     (b) Reviews the Supervisor’s Checklist activities with the employee for the remainder of the first month until they are all complete,

     (c) If the work schedule allows, schedules meetings to discuss and review work accomplishments, and

     (d) Once the orientation is complete, follows up with the employee to review the orientation experience and identify and answer any remaining questions.

B. The servicing Human Capital Office works with the supervisor, as necessary, to help the new employee complete necessary documentation and to provide educational materials concerning the United States Constitution (36 U.S.C. 106).

2.8 What Regional/Headquarters orientation tasks should occur? Each Regional Office and Headquarters will design and conduct a program that provides both topical information and an opportunity for new employees to begin establishing a professional network. Regions and Headquarters may offer orientations in a classroom environment, through the Intranet, or by providing a packet of information to employees. If an orientation is not delivered in the classroom environment, some method to give new employees an opportunity to meet people and establish personal contacts should be created.

A. The Regional/Headquarters orientations, which the Regional/Headquarters staff may develop using Exhibit 1, Guidelines for Developing Orientations, should address the following topics from the Regional perspective:

(1) Rights and benefits of Federal employees,

(2) Ethics training opportunities within the Region/Headquarters,

(3) Regional organizational structure structure
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Learn more about structure
and points of contact,

(4) Overall mission and program missions in the Region/Headquarters,

(5) Position relevance and value in the Region/Headquarters,

(6) Regional budget process (and its impact on the field offices), and

(7) Career development using the Individual Development Planning (IDP) process.

B. The Regions should also develop an orientation evaluation that the employee should complete. The servicing Human Capital Office reviews the evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the orientation and identify any necessary changes.

2.9 What is the USFWS Employee Foundations (Foundations) Course and when should employees take it? Foundations is a 1-week residential course held at NCTC.

A All new permanent employees hired into two-grade interval positions must complete this course during their first year on the job (preferably after being in the Service at least 3 months).

B Topics include:

(1) Overview of organizational structure, history of conservation within and beyond theService, and legislative mandates in the context of the Service program areas,

(2) Overall mission and programs,

(3) Interpersonal skills needed to accomplish the Service mission,

(4) Federal budget process,

(5) Position relevance and value to mission,

(6) Training opportunities,

(7) Service policies (and where to find them),

Scientific integrity/ethics, and

(9) Career development and IDPs.

2.10 What is the Employee Pocket Guide and where do employees get it? The Employee Pocket Guide is a tool for every employee to use in spreading the word about natural resources and the Service’s role in conserving them. The pocket-size book includes organizational structure and programs of the Service and points of contact, field office locations, and more to help new employees understand our agency. The Deputy Assistant Director – External Affairs is responsible for producing and sending the Employee’s Pocket Guide to the Regional Offices and Headquarters for distribution to new employees. Supervisors ensure that new employees receive the Pocket Guide.

Attachments (Exhibits, Amendments, etc)

Amended by Decision Memorandum, “Approval of Revisions to ~350 Directives to Remove Gender-Specific Pronouns,” 6/22/2022