Jul 292008

One of the most critical aspects of the recruiting process is Orientation. Orientation is a function that allows a new employee to learn about the organization, what the expectations are in the position, who is responsible and accountable, and in general what they need to know to become an integral part of the company.

It is sad, however, that many companies not only don’t provide an orientation, but expect the new employee to be able to figure it out themselves. The problem is, if you don’t provide a formal orientation process, the employee will still receive an orientation and it may not be the one that will benefit the employee, their co-workers or the company.

As part of the hiring smart philosophy, orientations can be simple to prepare and conduct. All it really takes is planning. It actually begins at the point of hire when the offer is first presented. The offer letter can include a welcome and a brief overview of benefits, time to report, who to report to and what to expect the first day, week and follow-up months. By merely making sure the new employee is listed on the company roster and in the phone system can make the first impression very favorable.

On the first day, the employee should be given a tour of the facility, no matter the size, and especially those areas the employee will be most involved with during their work day. Introduce the staff and prepare a list of their names and job functions. Time should be made to go over the basic operations of the company and department, such as work hours, timeliness/punctuality, explaining the time tracking process, pay day schedules (including direct deposit information or banks used in the area), overtime policy, lunch time or break time policies, parking, telephone and Internet policies, security regulations and how the telephone system works. In addition, a review of the new employee job description, the filling our of necessary forms, and a schedule for any additional needed information – such as training.

This is an opportunity to explain to the new employee the importance of their position and how it works to the support of the goals of the company. Orient the employee to their work area and make sure they have all needed supplies, materials, documents and manuals that may be necessary for them to do their job.

Just as important as the work schedule and pay schedule is the listing of Holidays and time-off provided by the organization, or how to report a sickness or necessary absence. Explain that a 90-day review will be conducted to ascertain any difficulties or answer any questions about the job.

A good orientation may take a day to actually complete. A great orientation will continue throughout the next 3-months as the new employee learns more about the company and the job. This is accomplished by following up with the employee and asking for their feedback or evaluation of the orientation program.

A carefully planned and executed orientation program will go a long way toward helping to retain good employees because it shows the care and time given to the program. A poor orientation may tell the employee that nobody really cares. PodTech has a great article on the On-Boarding process.

Just asking the employee, “How are you doing?” will go a long way toward making your orientation a great one.

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  5 Responses to “Employee Orientation Process”

  1. i would like to comment about which it is said that orientation is done through planning. do we still need to plan? is it not that after we conduct recruitment, employees will be entering to the organization, it is already implied that orientation will now on stage.

  2. l appreciate the depth and simple, clear manner your presentation on the process of orientation is.

  3. Orientations should be a necessity. I completely agree that a great orientation continues the next three months after a first initial orientation day/week. In all reality that is about how long it will take for the new employee to really get a feel for the new company and their role. As an HR consultant I know firsthand that a great orientation can really go a long way to help shape a new employee’s role at a company.

  4. As a person with a learning disability, it would have been better presented in point form. But that’s just me. Great information.

  5. I really don’t see the necessity to waste employees time babysitting ‘Newbies’. My organization is, by its nature aggressively proactive in generating sales and meeting targets, therefore we hire people who with a proven record in the field which means they already have a thick skin. Getting a job today is a privilege not a right, and you have to earn your stripes from Day One. If somebody needs to feel ‘looked after’ on their first day then they are in the wrong job and I feel this is relevant in all workplaces in the 21st Century.

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