HR

New Employee Orientation: The need for an Effective Orientation Program

Published On
September 28, 2023
Read Time
7 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

A lot of companies go wrong with the new employee orientation. But, a well-planned orientation program can contribute to the overall success of your organization in a myriad of ways.

Orienting new employees to their workplaces and their jobs is something that many organizations do not pay much attention to. This is one of the reasons why many employees feel disappointed and not excited about the initial days at work. Those employers who focus only on paperwork and work expectations often end up confusing the new personnel. And, this could eventually make them leave such organizations before they celebrate first work anniversaries.

 An effective new hire orientation program can ensure that you provide the best experience possible and thereby improve the retention rate. Thus, it benefits those employers who always think of better hiring and retention strategies for their workforce. Here is all that you need to know about employee orientation including a few tips that will help you craft one.

What is new employee orientation?

Employee orientation is the process that helps new hires get introduced to their jobs, responsibilities, workplaces, colleagues, and everything they are required to know about the organization. The process is meant to make the new employees feel welcome and help them do their best in their new positions. It helps instill a positive work attitude in the new employees and motivates them. 

The new hires are provided insight into the organizational culture besides the meetings with their respective teams and leaders. They also fill in the necessary HR paperwork. SHRM finds that the welcoming of new employees is a collaborative effort that includes human resources (HR), the hiring department, and other teams throughout the company.

To make sure that you put your best foot forward, you need to have proper planning and understanding. You could be thinking about planning the first week of the orientation program, right? Well, it's all about communication and valuing the human side of onboarding.

However, employers are advised to engage with their new hires before Day One. Always remember this old saying ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

Make the first day the best

We know that there are many things to be done by the managers and the HR specialists on an employee’s first day. A new hire first-day checklist could come in handy. But, let’s look at some of the important things: 

●     Send a Welcome Email before the employee’s arrival.

●     Ensure that all the required supplies and equipment are ready at the new hire’s workspace. You may even place a welcome note or a welcome kit with flowers, chocolates, coffee mugs, balloons, or something else of your choice.

●     Once the employee is at your place, give an office tour and introduce the different departments in the company.

●     Introduce the new hire to the team. Arrange a Meet, Greet (and Eat) if the situation permits. It's a good idea to join the new hires for coffee or lunch so they can begin getting accustomed to their new role. Enjoy lighter moments during lunch or coffee breaks.

●     Make the new hires feel free to share their thoughts and ask questions if any.

●     If your company supplies the equipment (i.e., laptop), the IT Department has to see to it that the new hires have all applications already downloaded and ready to use.

●     Complete the unavoidable new-hire paperwork and review benefits information.

●     Provide the Employee Handbook and the company contact list.

●     Plan a team activity or an after-work happy hour. 

Since the first day offers you a chance to connect emotionally with the new clients, utilize the opportunity. There’s no harm in going the extra mile to make them feel valued. In fact, you must do that since these little things count, sooner or later. Make certain that the new employee's supervisor is available and he/she introduces the new hire to the colleagues and ensures that the latter is at ease.

Focus on the First Week 

●     Provide an overview of the organization’s mission, vision, and culture. Also review the key policies like anti-harassment, safety, confidentiality, time off, maternity leave, overtime, leave reporting, and the like.

●     Review job description and performance expectations and standards.

●     Discuss current projects, job schedules, and hours. Review payroll timing, time cards(if applicable), and policies and procedures.

●     Conduct Department Overviews. This can be provided by a management representative from each department where the purpose of and functions of each department will be explained.

●     Assign a mentor who’d help the new hire in the onboarding process. The mentor/ work buddy may interact and answer the questions the new hire asks.

●     Make sure that some meaningful training or work happens.

●     Ask the new hires how their first week went. You may survey to get their feedback.

Note: SHRM reminds us that the time spent completing new-hire paperwork and time spent in the orientation meeting are considered hours worked.

Orientation for your new remote employees

 Nobody can deny that new hires’ first day at work could be dull and boring if they are telecommuting. But, thanks to technology that employers can do so much to keep the new employees feel welcomed and engaged in their initial days. Almost all of these activities covered under the orientation program can be done in a remote work mode as well.

●    On the first day, you can use video to connect with the new hires. Introduce them to the team and other departments.

●    Some companies also plan virtual office tours and virtual lunch meetings. You can do the same if circumstances allow you to.

●     Make sure that new remote employees have all the resources they will need to set up at home. If you’re providing a computer, make sure it’s shipped well in advance. Also, see that the required software is installed and all necessary login credentials are provided.

●     It’s always advised to set clear expectations. Explain what’s expected of the new employees, how they can contribute to the team, and what their priority tasks are.

●     Make a virtual buddy available.

●     It’s a good idea to arrange a virtual town hall meeting in the first week. This will serve as a platform to communicate the mission, goals, and the organization’s culture to the new employees.

●     Ask for feedback, preferably after the first week.

●     Choose to go electronic with the new-hire paperwork and thus simplify the task, which otherwise is a tedious one.

The first 3 months

The first trimester is important in the new employees’ career with your organization. You may assess their work progress during this period. But, don’t forget to check-in with them regularly to see how things are going. Identify and address their needs.

Once this phase is over, you may think about discussing their career goals. It’s always a good idea to invest in your employees’ career development and skill enrichment. A recent Gallup report reveals that 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. If your teams are working remotely, consider online learning platforms. It helps enrich your employees’ skills and boost the new employee training.

That being said, the significance of planning the first year of a new employee becomes explicit. However, do not confuse orientation with an onboarding program. Though orientation is often considered an event focused on paperwork and compliance, it is not just that. Just like an onboarding program that looks at integrating the new employees into their role and helping them to be successful in it, a new-hire orientation program is also remarkable in achieving the same.

Key takeaway

Steering your new hire orientation program in the right direction can have positive impacts that you don’t even imagine. Make your employees feel valued as it helps develop a sense of commitment in them. You will witness how your employee productivity, retention, and satisfaction improve dramatically. Consider the points discussed above and frame a suitable orientation program as per your company’s culture. Ensure it works well during remote work too.

 

In the meantime, you can discover how OnBlick not only provides you a hassle-free onboarding experience but also helps you stay compliant effortlessly.

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