Everybody starts as a new employee. Whether it’s your first job or your fifth, being “the new guy” or “the new girl” in the office can be stressful. There are new faces to remember, new policies to follow, a new office to memorize, new forms to fill out, and a new boss to impress. Not to mention, a whole new role to learn. The list goes on. How do you cope? How do you settle in? The good news is that organizations conduct employee orientations to help you out. With a carefully planned orientation, those first-day jitters can be kept at bay.
What is an employee orientation?
An employee orientation is a process that aims to introduce new employees to the organization. For companies, an employee orientation is more than just saying “Welcome to your new office!”. It is a way to provide valuable information to newly hired employees that would set them up for a great journey with the company.
Employee orientation is designed to make new employees aware of essential company policies, rules, and regulations. The new employees also fill out needed paperwork with the guidance of the HR team. They can also ask the HR team and leaders any questions that they may have. Overall, an effective employee orientation allows new employees to feel prepared for their new roles and feel at ease with their new workplace. It is about encouraging new employees, imbibing a good work attitude, and motivating them beginning day one.
Why is an employee orientation important to newly-hired employees?
As we have mentioned above, the primary goal of employee orientation is to provide new employees with a smooth transition to their new workplace. Because anything new can initially be daunting, proper orientation can lessen anxiety and bring structure into the transition. By providing new employees with information on the company policies, guidelines, day-to-day house rules, and conduct, they will be more prepared as they adjust to the organization.
For example, new employees can be spared from guessing if there is a dress code to follow because they can learn that during the employee orientation. By letting them know what to expect, new employees can get settled in more quickly.
Why is employee orientation important to employers?
Employee orientation is not only good for new employees. Companies can benefit from an effective employee orientation as well. To understand this better, let us remember the goal of an employee orientation is to welcome and prepare newly-hired employees. By doing so, you are already setting them up for success. Proper orientation can lessen the learning curve and help employees learn the ropes more quickly. This way, they can contribute to the company more quickly.
Additionally, employee orientation can cover essential information that new employees should know. This can reduce the cost related to learning and training because supervisors and managers would not have to spend so much time teaching the same topics. Finally, an employee orientation can make new employees feel valued and cared for. This is a good retention strategy to reduce employee turnover.
How long should an employee orientation be?
The duration of an employee orientation will depend on the organization. Different job types across various industries may have different standards on how long an employee orientation should be. However, the general practice for employee orientation is a couple of hours to one full workday.
How can you plan for an employee orientation?
Whether you are planning an employee orientation for the first time or you are planning to revise an existing employee orientation, there can be a lot to think about. Here is a list of questions that you can consider during the planning stage:
What is the impression that you want to instill in the employee orientation?
How would you like the new employee to feel?
What are the top five things that you want the new employees to know about the company’s history, culture, goals, and values?
What tools and materials can you provide the new employee with to make them feel comfortable during the orientation?
What are the essential policies, rules, and regulations that new employees must know?
How can you make the orientation feel less boring and formal?
Who are the key people that you would like the new employee to meet on their first day?
How can you make the new employee feel welcome and valued?
What are some other things that an employer can do to make the employee orientation effective?
As in many things in life, it’s in the details. The same goes for employee orientation. It does not rest on the formal orientation within the conference room, each interaction and conversation that happens during a new employee’s first can make an impression. Strive to make it a good one. Here are some other ideas that may be useful:
Before the new employee’s official first day, check up on them from time to time. Keep them in the loop on what to expect on their first day, what the schedule will be, what to bring, and even what the attire should be.
Let the front desk know the name of the new employee and what time they are expected to come. That way, they will feel welcome right off the bat.
Consider setting up a welcome lunch for the new employee with one or a few members of their new team.
Have some key people say hello to the new employee during the day. They may be a manager, supervisor, team leader, or teammates in the department.
Dedicate some time to tour the new employee around the office.
Make sure that the new employee’s workstation is ready with all the needed tools.
Ask the new employee for feedback. You can ask the new employee to evaluate the employee orientation after a week or so. This way, they can note if the orientation met their needs and expectations.
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