• U.S. Department of Energy
  • Fermilab

New Employee Orientation & On-boarding

Resource Guide for New Employees and their Managers

Welcome from Fermilab Director, Nigel Lockyer

I am pleased to welcome you to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), where we conduct scientific research in particle physics that advances our understanding of matter and energy. All Fermilab employees help to support the Lab's mission to make extraordinary scientific discoveries possible. This Laboratory has tremendous talent and your choice to join Fermilab has made you a member of a world-class organization. I am delighted to have you as part of our team and I wish you every success in your new venture.

Please view our new hire video: We are Fermilab

Scientific Highlights (We're doing BIG Things)

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, LBNF, is a proposed international neutrino experiment that would be the largest of its kind. LBNE aims to discover whether neutrinos and antineutrinos interact differently with matter and to determine which type of neutrino is least and most massive.

Fermilab's current flagship neutrino experiment, NOvA sends a beam of neutrinos to a 14,000-ton particle detector a record-breaking 500 miles away in Minnesota. NOvA aims to study the oscillation of muon neutrinos to electron neutrinos, to determine the ordering of neutrino masses and to discover whether neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate at different rates.

MicroBooNE is a multiton liquid-argon neutrino detector. MicroBooNE aims to investigate a previously observed, unexpected excess of neutrinos at low energies and to look into the possible existence of a fourth type of neutrino, the sterile neutrino.

MINERvA is a neutrino-scattering experiment that uses a variety of target materials to search for low-energy neutrino interactions. It is designed to study neutrino-nucleus interactions with unprecedented detail.

MINOS is a neutrino oscillation experiment with a far detector located in a former mine in Minnesota. It aims to observe neutrino oscillations by measuring the disappearance of muon neutrinos and the appearance of electron neutrinos.


1. Before You Start

You will receive three e-mails from FRA or our trusted vendor partners. These e-mails will contain links for you to input data so that we may verify the following:

  • work history and education (background check) - A-Check Global (Usually after successful interview)
  • authorization to work (I-9/E-verify) - Perfect Compliance (Expect e-mail approximately 1-2 weeks before start date)
  • FermiWorks on-boarding - Fermi Computer Services (Expect e-mail approximately 1-2 weeks before start date)

Your submitted personal information and documentation is administered via secured and encrypted methods

2. On-boarding Process

Prior to your first day, complete the following important steps to ensure you will be set up and ready to go when you arrive:

  1. Access Your FermiWorks Account (by means of the links provided by Fermi Computer Services
  2. On-board via FermiWorks - In order to avoid a delay in start date, all on-boarding forms must be entered into FermiWorks as soon as possible but no later than 3 business days prior to your start date. There are three sections to the FermiWorks on-boarding process. You must complete all of the tasks contained in each of the three sections. To advance thru the tasks and sections click Submit and then click Done.
  3. Upload your entire job offer letter into FermiWorks (Both pages, not just the final signature page.
  4. Complete Section 1 of I-9 Form (via link provided by Perfect Compliance)
  5. Review Benefits and Retirement Plans

3. Your First Day

You will spend your first day as an employee in New Employee and Laboratory Safety Orientations. Both sessions are located in Wilson Hall. See Getting Around Fermilab link for site map, parking and a map of Wilson Hall.

8:30am New Employee Orientation Workforce Development Section (Talent Acquisition and Benefits Departments) Wilson Hall 15th floor east side Employment Department's "ProtoStar Room"

Welcome to Fermilab video, anti-harassment training, overview of benefit and retirement plan, and overview of computing policy.
Noon Lunch - Wilson Hall 1st floor cafeteria Plan to bring your lunch or dine in Fermilab's cafeteria
1:00pm Lab Safety Orientation Environmental, Safety, Health and Quality Section (ESH&Q) Wilson Hall 15th floor east side Employment Department's "ProtoStar Room"
Refer to job offer letter for location of orientation from May - July
Ergonomics, material safety data sheets (MSDS), lockout tagout procedures (LOTO), personal protective equipment (PPE), general employee radiation training (GERT).

4. Your First Day - What to Bring

You should be prepared to complete your Fed W-4 and State W-4 tax forms. Additionally, you will need to bring the following important items with you when you arrive on your first day.

5. Day Two and Beyond

Orientation isn't over now that you've completed your first day; it is ongoing.

There are several additional action steps you need to complete as you fully transition into your new role at Fermilab.

Within your first fourteen days:

  • Partner with your manager to identify your initial assignments; the purpose of your work; how it fits into your department or the lab's overarching mission and goals; and how you can begin making immediate contributions.
  • Clarify your schedule, and confirm required and recommended training.
  • Set up your personal workspace.
  • Review your job description, outline of duties, and expectations. Ask how your job fits in the department, and how your job and department contribute to the Laboratory.
  • Discuss your performance goals with your manager. Please see this quick guide to goal setting.
  • Review hours of work. Ask questions about policies and procedures for overtime, use of vacation and sick time, holidays, as well as any flexible work policies or procedures.
  • Make an appointment with the Benefits department if necessary, for answers to questions on benefits, retirement and important deadlines.
    Review where to locate additional Laboratory policies.
  • Sign up for a laboratory tour
  • Ask your manager about:
    • Employee key(s) and building access card.
    • Department-specific safety and emergency information.
    • How to get additional supplies.
    • Ask about your computer and setting up voicemail.

Health and Retirement Benefits

Fermi Research Alliance (FRA) d/b/a/ Fermilab offers a comprehensive benefits program to help ensure one of our greatest resources - our employees - feel valued and achieve personal, professional and financial goals. Within the first 31 days of your employment at Fermilab, you should enroll yourself and eligible dependents in FRAs health benefits plans.

Take Action: Steps to Enroll in FRA Health Benefits

  1. Review information about FRA Health, Life and Dental Plans

  2. Key information about our benefits plans can be found on the Benefits website.

  3. Choose Your Plan (include FermiWorks screen shots and links to vendors)

  4. Once you have reviewed the information and are ready to enroll, access your personal benefits portal by navigating to the upper right corner of the Benefits site. Hover your mouse over "My Benefits" to select a log in option. Once you are finished enrolling, be sure to print your confirmation statement.

    You have 31 days from your hire date to complete this process. You and your dependents are not covered by any of Fermilab's health benefits plans until you enroll. If you do not elect your health benefits within 31 days of your hire date, you will automatically be assigned limited benefits for yourself only, until the next annual open enrollment period or unless you have a qualified life event change.

  5. Provide Documentation of Your Dependents

    You have 31 days from the date you add a family member to your health and life benefits coverage to submit documentation that confirms they are eligible for coverage. Fermilab will mail you a request for the documents that includes instructions on how to submit them. If you do not submit documentation by the deadline, your dependent's enrollment is canceled and they will not be covered prospectively until you send in the documentation.

  6. Need Help? Contact our Benefits staff.

Quick Links

Eat-Sleep-Work-Play Atmosphere to Drive Discovery

Fermilab is a place where researchers and staff easily connect, work collaboratively and exchange ideas in their quest to lead, inspire and enable the world's scientists. Fermilab's vision is to "lead, inspire and enable the world's scientists to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time for the benefit of current and future generations."

Fermilab has a number of policies and resources that promote work-life integration to foster an atmosphere to drive discovery.

The Fermilab Wellness Office which is a component of the Benefits Department is committed to providing a wide variety of recreation, fitness and wellness programs that encourage employees, users, visitors and contractors to live balanced and healthy lives. We offer:

  • Athletic Leagues
  • Clubs
  • Educational Wellness Programs and Events
  • Fitness Center
  • Fitness Classes
  • Pool

Work-Life Integration

The Children's Center is sponsored by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, the operating contractor of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It is a service available to all FRA and DOE employees, Users, and long-term, on-site subcontractors.

The philosophy of The Children's Center is to promote the social, academic, emotional, and physical development of each child while taking into account his/her level of interest and ability.

The parent handbook has information related to our care philosophy and objectives, food plans, policies, rates and more.

Inclusive Community

One of the characteristics that makes Fermilab so remarkable is its multifaceted global community. Our goal is to provide an environment where we leverage the best local, national, and international talent to contribute to our research and our innovations. Everyone is encouraged to participate fully, grow professionally, and reach their highest potential. These sites reflect the Fermilab community's shared commitment to raise awareness and increase access.

Quick Links

Growing and Learning

The Office for Professional & Organization Development is a resource of continuous learning for all Fermilab employees. We provide learning programs and services that assist employees in their job performance, career development, and professional growth. We are dedicated to providing our customers with program excellence and exceptional service.

Quick Links

Manager's Guide

As a manager or supervisor, this guide helps you understand your role and the role of the Human Resources/WDRS in orientating your new hire. The goal is a smooth and successful orientation experience for your new hire, which benefits you, your organization and the laboratory at large.

The orientation process is a comprehensive process in which supervisors and managers supplement learning beyond the initial formal HR/ESH&Q orientation session.

Formal HR ESH&Q Orientation

The formal Human Resources orientation combines completion of important required FermiWorks on-boarding steps with an enhanced orientation to FRA benefits and policies. The morning orientation session is presented by the Benefits and Employment departments of WDRS and consists of: Welcome to Fermilab video, anti-harassment training, overview of benefit and retirement plans, overview of computing policy benefits, and I-9, E-Verify document review. The afternoon Laboratory Safety orientation session is presented by ESH&Q and consists of: Ergonomics, material safety data sheets (MSDS), lockout tag-out procedures (LOTO), personal protective equipment (PPE), general employee radiation training (GERT).

HR/ESH&Q Orientation Schedule

Manager/Supervisor Best Practices

The formal orientation session is the beginning, but the bulk of new hire orientation is conducted by you within your department and continues through at least the first month on the job. To help your new hire feel prepared, informed and work-ready as possible, consider these manager best practices to department orientation:

  1. Let your organization know your new employee is coming on-board with an e-mail (See Manager Tools for e-mail template)
  2. Attend New Hire Orientation to Welcome your New Employee
  3. Complete Laboratory Department Orientation Checklist Week 1 - 4: Who, What, When and Where?
  4. Assign An Office Buddy. New employee's orientation is greatly enhanced by assigning an office Buddy, a fellow employee (other than the manager) who provides advice and guidance on the different aspects of working at Fermilab. A Buddy is also a "sounding board" who offers encouragement as the new employee acclimates to Fermilab's culture and workplace.

Office Buddy Selection Criteria and Process

The successful Buddy is an employee who fully understands the Laboratory's culture and environment (has been at the Laboratory for at least one year) and wants to be a Buddy.

Additional criteria include:

  • Time to be accessible and available to the employee.
  • Familiar with employee's role and work unit.
  • Solid performer.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Exemplifies the Laboratory's values.
  • Has demonstrated patience and empathy.
  • Well regarded and trusted by others.

Individuals can volunteer to be considered as a Buddy or recommended by others. HR Partners and/or the hiring manager can make the final choice based on the selection criteria.

Buddy Responsibilities

  • In assisting a new employee acclimating to Fermilab a Buddy serves as a valuable resource by creating a trusting relationship.
  • Responsibilities include:
    • Providing information on policies and procedures.
    • Identifying resources in the workplace.
    • Familiarizing the employee to Fermilab's culture, norms, and unwritten guidelines.
    • Introducing the employee to others in the unit and throughout Fermilab.
    • Taking the employee on an expanded tour of the workplace and campus.
    • Answering questions and referring the employee to the appropriate resources.

Manager/Supervisor Tools

Quick links:


What if my employee can't attend orientation on their scheduled day?
Orientations are held on a biweekly basis with the exception of May - July when they are held on a weekly basis. It may be necessary for your employee to have a later start date and attend the next orientation period.

My new hire is a former benefits eligible regular or term employee. Should he attend?
Yes. It is imperative that all benefits eligible employees attend orientation for updated benefit plan and ESH&Q laboratory safety information.

My new hire is a contractor or on-call. Should she attend?
Non-benefits eligible personnel (Contractors and on-calls) can enroll in and complete the on-line HR morning orientation session. Provided that they have made an appointment on their start date with their HR Recruiter to process all I-9/E-Verify documentation. All personnel must attend the afternoon ESH&Q laboratory safety orientation.

How long does orientation last?
It depends on the volume and complexity of questions. In general you should expect your employee to be in orientation for the entire day, 4:00 p.m. at the latest.

Can I visit my new hire during orientation breaks?
Hiring Managers are strongly encouraged to join your employee in the Employment department (WH 15E) prior to orientation (at approximately 8:15a.m.) for a brief meet and greet session. This is also an excellent opportunity to provide directions to the work area and a first work day agenda.