The search is over. After what seems like an eternity, you found the perfect candidate to join your team. He or she accepted your job offer and starts in two weeks. What you do next – your new hire orientation — will determine whether the employee is productive, happy and hangs around for the long-term.
Purpose of New Hire Orientation
Employee orientation should be an important part of your recruitment and retention process. For the employee, a good new hire orientation process ensures they feel welcome, fully briefed on expectations and ready to succeed. For the company, it makes good business sense because it will
- Save Money. Employees get up to speed much more quickly so costs associated with learning on the job are reduced.
- Lessen Anxiety. The unknown is often stressful and can impede learning. When you provide guidelines for behavior and conduct, you take the guessing away.
- Reduce Employee Turnover. When employees feel under-valued or not properly positioned to do their job, they won’t stick around. Orientation helps provide the tools and training necessary for their success.
- Save Time. The better the initial orientation and training, the less time co-workers or supervisors need to spend re-teaching the employee. A good how-to manual is also helpful!
- Develop Realistic Job Expectations. The employee learns quickly what is expected of him/her and what to expect from others in the company.
8 Things New Hires Need to Know
#1 – They Belong. You don’t need to wait for the first day to welcome them to the organization. Send out a welcome kit with information before their start date. Announce the new hire to your team so they are ready to welcome him/her too! Take the time to introduce him/her to other staff members. If they have a workspace, make sure it’s ready and welcoming too.
#2 – Company History. Offer some background on the company — the past, present and future. Explain why you do what you do. Convey your vision and high-level goals. Share some insights about your customers – who you serve and why they choose you. Don’t limit customer discussions to sales and customer service people – everyone benefits from this knowledge.
#3 – Leadership. While your business may not have a formal leadership team, it likely has employees who take on leadership roles. Introductions help them connect with others and better understand the organization structure.
#4 – Culture. No two businesses operate the same way culturally. Share company traditions – from team lunches to monthly staff meetings – to help them understand the work environment. Help them fit in and grow with the company.
#5 – Documentation. New hire documents must be completed for payroll, taxes, and benefits. Get these out of the way and address any questions they may have.
#6 – Compliance and Policies. Your employee handbook will provide the details on policies and answer any questions. You don’t need to review each policy but discuss some that are highly relevant. Consider topics such as sick time, vacation, work schedule/start times, cell phone or internet usage, rewards/recognition opportunities and performance feedback. Also, include policies that apply to their specific job.
#7 – Performance Expectations. While you likely discussed and shared the job description during the hiring process, this is a good time to touch on goals and how you measure success.
#8 – Your Commitment to Improvement. Orientation is the perfect time to convey your commitment to continuous improvement and learning. In doing so, new employees feel comfortable asking questions to obtain the information they need to learn, problem solve and make decisions.
An orientation process takes time and commitment. However, it will make a significant difference in how quickly your new employee becomes productive and makes an impact. When done right, it is a win-win for everyone.
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