Tips for an Effective New Hire Orientation

Effective New Hire Orientation

Is your orientation program giving your new employees the information and resources they need to excel in their roles? Or are they getting bogged down by lackluster training and seemingly endless paperwork?

An effective orientation program is critical to nurturing and retaining new talents. In fact, 69% of employees who go through an excellent orientation and onboarding process are more likely to stay with a company for more than three years.

Yet, many employers downplay the importance of proper orientation, and some don't even have an orientation program in place. 

A recent study by ServiceNow revealed that 80% of new hires experience issues when starting a new job. According to the survey, 10% of the respondents reported their company even forgot it was their first day on the job. 

So, what can organizations do to improve employee orientation?

An effective new hire orientation program is the key. In this guide, we'll share tips on implementing an effective employee orientation program. We'll also touch on the best practices for effective new hire orientation. Let's dive in! 

What Is New Hire Orientation?

New hire orientation introduces new employees to their jobs, colleagues, and the company. It aims to acquaint new hires with the company, show them how they fit in, and why they are important. 

A new hire orientation program marks the beginning of a new relationship between the employee and the employer (recruiting company). 

Employee Orientation vs. Employee Onboarding: What's the Difference?

The terms "onboarding" and "orientation" are often used interchangeably, but they are two different concepts. 

Employee orientation welcomes new staff to the workplace by introducing them to their jobs, colleagues, and the company culture. 

Think of orientation as a first date. It's a one-off event that gives you insights into whether the person is the right one for you or not. Likewise, orientation is an event that lasts just a few hours or even days, meant to brief you about the company and the work environment.

Employee Onboarding, on the other hand, is a continuous process that lasts several months. It starts when the candidate signs the offer letter and ends when the employee can perform the job they were hired to do with little to no supervision. 

Think of onboarding like dating, lasting between three months and one year. It aims to equip the employee with the knowledge they need to perform the job as expected with zero to minimal supervision. As such, orientation is an essential part of the onboarding process. 

Essential Things to Go Over in Your New Hire Orientation

Without further ado, here are the things to go over in your new hire orientation. 

1. Organizational History

Discuss your organization's history—from how the idea was conceived to how the company came into existence. Brag about how it started and how it's growing. 

Talk about your culture and growth. Perhaps the company started with only two founders, and now it has become a multinational enterprise. Show pride in how the company has evolved and how it helps employees discover they're a part of something big. 

2. Introduction to Executive Leaders

It's great to introduce your new hires to the company's management, including directors and their immediate supervisors, at the beginning of the orientation. 

Managers should also introduce the new employees to other departments and departmental heads to promote departmental collaboration. If possible, schedule your most prominent executives as speakers during the employee orientation.

3. Policies & Procedures

One of the most important functions of the HR department is to provide employees with a blueprint of what's expected of them. 

The HR should present the new hires with your company's policies and procedures on matters pertaining to:

  • Employee conduct
  • Emergency procedures
  • Quality control
  • Dress code
  • Security
  • Absenteeism
  • Performance monitoring
  • Social media use, and
  • Workplace protocols

It's helpful to put all this information in an employee handbook and have the content available on the company's intranet or Wiki for easy access. 

4. Department or Team-Specific Information

If your organization comprises many departments, have a manager from each department speak to the new hires. You could also have the new hires meet the departmental heads in their respective departments to acquaint them with the company better. 

5. Common FAQs

Prepare a list of questions a new hire will likely ask based on the previous orientation sessions. These miscellaneous questions can give your new hires a deeper understanding of the company and its environment. 

Best Practices for Effective New Hire Orientation

An effective orientation program is critical to retaining top talents. Follow these tested and proven practices to improve the effectiveness of your orientation program. 

1. Create a Single Source of Truth

A consistent orientation experience is critical for the success of an onboarding process. 

You can make it easy for employees to access all the information they need to know, including company policies and processes, by putting it in a central place. 

A company's Wiki page is a great place to start. The good thing about an enterprise Wiki is that employees, and even management, can update the Wiki pages with new information from time to time and remove outdated information. 

2. Allow Management to Introduce Themselves to the New Hires

Create an inviting environment for the new hires by allowing them to meet the senior executives and departmental heads. 

Sometimes, employees find it hard to interact with the top management. 

You can eradicate this fear by giving them an opportunity to interact and get to know each other. Have senior executives come and introduce themselves to the new employees. This interaction builds trust that leads to a productive work environment. 

3. Include Ice Breaking Activities

One of the best ways to integrate the new employees into your workplace is to let them participate in social activities like ice breaking. 

Before sending the new hires into the conference room for hours, allow them to break the ice and get to interact with their new colleagues on a personal level. Whether it's an after-work event or a weekly dinner, these social activities help to build a bond that gives the new employees a sense of belonging. 

4. Ask for Feedback

Feedback helps to improve the orientation process. 

After orientation, send out surveys to new hires to ask them for feedback. Ask them for areas they want to be improved or dropped, and they'll be happy to provide feedback. This can help you gauge the effectiveness of the orientation program and improve on it, if need be. 

Wrapping Up

Orientation is all about introducing new employees to their jobs, colleagues, and the company. It aims to acquaint new employees with the company, show them how they fit in, and why they are important to the company. 

Done right, orientation can help build trust among the employees and a bond that will last long-term. Organizations can improve the effectiveness of their orientation program by creating a single source of truth, allowing management to interact with the new hires, including ice-breaking activities, and asking for feedback.

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