Supervisor Toolkit

Supervisor Toolkit

Find your Talent Acquisition Specialist, Compensation Specialist, or HR Business Partner (HRBP) HERE.

Recruiting and Selection

Finding Talent

The Rice University Talent Acquisition Team strives to partner with hiring managers to attract and hire the best talent for positions. Our goal is to create a world-class employer brand and candidate experience, both for internal and external candidates. This begins by identifying the need.

Identify the need

Position Descriptions

Identifying the skills and experience needed for a position, along with the essential functions and primary responsibilities, is critical in order to attract the best candidates for open positions.

Define and describe the job

Posting a Position

Partnering with your Talent Acquisition Specialist, such as having a pre-posting consultation, supports hiring managers in creating the plan to post positions, including where to post, how long the posting is open, and types of candidates the posting could attract, etc.

Post the job

Assess and Interview Candidates

Assessing candidates is a critical step in the hiring process. Every aspect of assessment (e.g. application review, communication with candidates, the interview process, cadence, etc.) plays a role in identifying the most qualified candidates.

Interviewing can include several phases (e.g. phone, on-site with the hiring manager, panel interview, etc.) and should be structured in a manner that provides the greatest insight and evidence that a candidate can meet or exceed the requirements for the job. Hiring managers are encouraged to work with their Talent Acquisition Specialist to develop an interview plan that includes behavioral interview questions and a method for rating candidates.

Assessing and interviewing candidates

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Select the Finalist

Though it is easy to allow only one aspect of the selection process to determine a candidate's ability to move forward in the process, it is critical that hiring managers look at all aspects (e.g. results of the application review, interviews, reference checking, etc.) of the process.

Select the finalist

Check References

Conducting proper reference checks allows the hiring manager to verify skills, experience, performance, and behavior that candidates have shared during the hiring process. Confirming proficiency levels in essential areas support effective onboarding and overall acclimation to a new position, team, and organization.

Conduct reference checks

Related Policies

Facilitate Finalist Conversation

Working with your Talent Acquisition Specialist will be necessary in order to present the appropriate information at this stage of the process.

Finalist conversation

Making the Official Offer

Our Talent Acquisition Team will make the official offer, in consultation with hiring managers, which ensures a consistent process occurs with all job candidates.

Official Offer

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Onboarding and Orientation

Onboarding your new employee

Onboarding is more than just new employee orientation. Onboarding is a process of introducing your newly hired employees to the expectations, behaviors, and culture of your organization.

Orientation is an event – the first step in the onboarding process.

Before the Start Date

After the job offer has been extended by Human Resources (HR) and accepted:

  • give the employee a warm welcome by phone.

  • verify the employee's actual start date and remind the employee to bring the documents noted in the offer letter and onboarding checklist for part 2 of the I-9 with them on the first day of work.

  • complete the new hire process so the employee can be set up as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  • identify and prepare the employee's working space, necessary office supplies, computer needs, telephone, etc.

  • prepare a small bag of Rice swag for their first day and arrange for lunch with co-workers.

  • assign a current employee ("buddy") to help the new employee get acclimated to the department, school/division, and Rice.

First Day(s) of Employment

All new employees (faculty and staff) must come to HR (3rd floor of the Cambridge Office Building) to complete the new hire process, specifically the second part of the Federal Form I-9. For any questions about this please contact HR Services at 713-348-2232 or email

For additional resources, questions, etc., about new employee onboarding, please contact your Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) or email

  • Present the employee with their Rice swag and help them get settled into their new workspace.

  • Have lunch with the team, co-workers, etc. (on-campus or off-campus).

  • Share a copy of the job description with the employee, as well as a few departmental, school/division details, such as the organizational structure and goals of the department.

  • Share the interactive map ( with the employee.

  • Discuss relevant office/Rice policies and procedures, such as:

    • work hours

    • lunch breaks

    • time-keeping/paycheck information

    • requests for time off and upcoming paid holidays

    • calling off for emergency absence

  • Introduce the new employee to team members, colleagues outside of the team, key managers/leaders, and other individuals with whom they will be working.

  • Give the employee a tour of the work area, building, etc., and include restrooms and break areas where lunch can be kept if they choose to bring their lunch.

Related Policies

Rice New Employee Orientation

Supervisors will be notified by Human Resources as to the date their new employee has been assigned to attend New Employee Orientation.

New employees will be provided this information in their offer letter.

Training and Development


Traning by nature is an activity that is generally formally conducted, time-bound, and has a concrete target that is required to be achieved upon completion. The activity of training is to provide the learner with a set of specific skills and competencies to gain.

Completing any form of training whether face-to-face, digitally, distanced-learning, practical based, or a combination of these, all have the same end goal and serve to build on a long-term vision and what constitutes professional development.

Supervisors should create a training plan (or include training expectations on their onboarding plan/checklist) for each new employee which includes but is not limited to:

  • training required for all employees
  • training required for employees in the division/school, department, and your team
  • training required for employees by position (job-specific training)
  • New Employee Orientation (for benefits-eligible employees), the date on which supervisors will be notified
  • other training, job shadowing, etc., identified to support the new employee's acclimation to their job and Rice
Professional Development

Identifying that there is a difference between training and professional development must start with understanding what professional development means. It is a long-term process and vision which requires various components and experiences to be encountered to reach the overall goal. This most likely means completing various and numerous training initiatives. The whole process of professional development is constantly evolving with time as you are building on your previous experiences and adapting from your learnings.

The following template follows the 70-20-10 model of adult workplace learning, which you can learn more about HERE.

Resources and Tools

Engagement and Recognition

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is distinct from employee happiness or employee satisfaction, though it can be associated with both traits. An engaged employee is someone who is completely invested in their work and cares about their job, their coworkers, and their company as a whole. Engaged employees experience a real sense of fulfillment from their work on a day-to-day basis, which is not only reflected in their individual employee performance but also in broader business outcomes.

Types of Engagement

Cognitive engagement: Employees who experience cognitive engagement are aware of and fully engaged with their organization’s overall plans. They know what they need to do to get the best possible return on their job efforts. Cognitively engaged employees also understand and are clearly aligned with their company’s mission.

Physical engagement: Physically engaged employees devote a large part of both their emotional and physical energy to their work. In order to be physically engaged, employees need to be equipped with this physical and mental energy. Companies must take steps to support the health and overall well-being of their employees.

Emotional engagement: Emotionally engaged employees have an emotional connection with their work and positively channel their feelings into their jobs. These employees have a sense of belonging, are confident in their organization, and feel good about the work they do. Emotionally engaged employees have greater job satisfaction and help boost business success.

Employee engagement is central to both employee retention and performance. Employees who feel that their company values their well-being, recognize their contributions, provides opportunities for advancement, and enables them to do their best work are typically more dedicated to the company’s success and more motivated to help achieve its goals.

Recognizing and Rewarding Staff

Recognition is the acknowledgment or expression of gratitude or appreciation for what has been done for a team, department, or organization. Upon using recognition, organizations can build engagement. Recognition comes in various forms, such as informal (e.g. a written note from a supervisor), social, or a reward (e.g. compensation, an experience, or development) or incentive, which is a reward promised in advance for anticipated achievement.

Resources and Tools

Performance Commitment and Accountability

Setting Expectations

Through clear expectations, ongoing feedback, coaching, and mutual accountability, employees and managers can agree to performance metrics that matter to the employee's work, interests, and goals of the team and organization.

Setting expectations includes but is not limited to:

  • outlining clear expectations for the role
  • co-creating SMART goals with each employee
  • aligning work with the team, department, etc.

Resources and Tools

*indicates the form is now available in iO Performance Management; contact your HRBP

Related Policies

Feedback and Check-ins

Assuming a supervisor has provided an intentional, effective onboarding experience and has outlined clear expectations, feedback is critical for employees as they begin their new role and throughout their employment at Rice.

There are numerous approaches when it comes to providing feedback. The following are a few selected resources and tools we have found to be effective. The Performance Commitment and Accountability training (a module in the Essentials of Supervision program) will cover feedback more extensively, as well as provide additional resources.


To use the Feedback and Check-in options in iO look for upcoming training opportunities on the Organizational and Talent Development page or contact your HRBP.

Managing Performance Issues

Supervisors are accountable for setting performance expectations for their staff and overseeing and providing feedback on their performance and behavior. It is the supervisor's responsibility to employ the appropriate interventions promptly when a staff member falls short of performance or behavior expectations.


Resources and Tools | LINK to folder

Contact your HRBP if you are recommending separating employment with an employee.

Related Policies

Performance Appraisal

Though we know that Performance Management is more than just the annual appraisal, the annual appraisal is a key aspect of the process and employee lifecycle. Please work with your HRBP to implement an effective, consistent annual review process and look for future training on Conducting the Annual Performance Appraisal in iO.

Resources and Tools

Organizational Planning and Talent Retention

Organizational Planning

Organizational Planning

Organizational planning constitutes all of the activities* which are utilized to set priorities, focus energy, resources, and assets, reinforce tasks, and guarantee that employees and different stakeholders are moving in the direction of a common objective. This process involves a comprehensive view of current and future goals and ensures that you have the right people in the right jobs with the right agility today and in the years to come.

Organizational planning is a partnership between Rice HR and the department or school/division. It can be initiated for several reasons and usually includes one or more of the following priorities:

  • Ensuring the organizational structure is aligned with short and long-term goals
  • Identifying critical positions and highlighting potential vacancies
  • Selecting key competencies and skills necessary for service delivery and operations
  • Focusing the development of employees to meet future needs
  • Modifying staffing needs based on current external circumstances or modifying the structure in order to be more agile in the future

*Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Role clarification, job design/redesign, and organizational structure analysis
  • Talent review, optimization, development, and retention
  • High potential development and succession planning

Though iO has a module specifically for Talent Review and Succession Planning, this module will be introduced after the Goal and Performance Management module has been presented and piloted by the HR team.

Resources and Tools

The following includes descriptions and selected resources from the organizational planning process:

Term Description Sample Resources

Workforce Assessment

Analysis of the workforce that is completed in order to determine the current state of staffing and leadership with the goal of achieving a desired future state (the right people, the right skills, in the right place at the right time).

Workforce Assessment Tool

Gap Analysis

Critical Role Identification

Job Design

Process of creating a job that enables the organization to achieve its goals, while motivating and rewarding the employee.

Position Description Questionnaire

Role Clarification

Role clarity occurs when employees understand what is expected (i.e. what success looks like) and involves more than the job description.

Role Clarification Exercise

Talent Profile

A talent profile is a compilation of talent and development-based information which provides a snapshot of an employee's skills, competencies, education, etc.

Talent Profile in iO

Talent Review

Talent Reviews help identify which employees are

  • doing the best work (performing at a high level consistently)
  • ready for promotion
  • possibly a retention risk

Performance-Potential Assessment

9-Box Tool

Talent Review and Succession Planning

Succession Planning is the process of identifying critical positions within an organization and developing action plans for individuals to assume those positions. A Talent Review is an aspect of Succession Planning.

Resources and Tools

Though iO has a module specifically for Talent Review and Succession Planning, this module will be introduced after the Goal and Performance Management module has been presented and piloted by the HR team.

Separation of Employment

Working With Your HRBP

If other performance interventions have not resulted in improved performance or behavior, supervisors may wish to separate employment. Supervisors must work with their assigned HRBP or email for consultation prior to any corrective action or employee termination.

Exiting Rice

In the event, voluntarily or involuntarily, an employee leaves Rice, supervisors should ensure that all steps are taken to gather information and collect any equipment, materials, etc. issued by the university.

It is important to ensure the voluntary termination process is completed in a timely manner and that all required actions are completed in iO (including submission of the employee's final timecard) in conjunction with the payroll deadlines. For questions about this process, please email

Resources and Tools

For Employees

For Supervisors and Managers

Exit Process Workflow Processes in iO


Job Aids