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Make Them Feel At Home
By Brian W. Pascal

The purpose of an employee orientation program is to make the new hire feel at home in their new place of work. The more comfortable they feel the sooner the organization can begin receiving in return on the investment that they have made during the recruitment and selection process. Studies have shown that employees make up their minds about whether they are going to stay long-term with a company or business in their first three months so having a good orientation process may be a key element in your organizations employee retention plan as well.

Brian W. Pascal
Workplace Today®
Orientation for new employees should begin long before their first day at work. After all of the paperwork has been completed and an agreement to hire is in place new recruits should receive a welcoming package from their new employer. This could include an organizational chart, a benefits overview and copies of the latest mission statement, goals, and vision of the organization. It might also include technical or product reports in the employee’s area of expertise, not that they are expected to read or study them but just to give them more of an idea of what exactly is happening in their new workplace.

If the employee is relocating from out of town it might also be an idea to include a local map and some touristy information about things to do and see if their new location. If their family is relocating with them then a list of community recreation centres and parks would also be a very welcoming introduction to the new employee. Some companies even include a ball hat or a t-shirt to really make them feel part of the team.

New employees should also be given directions about where to park and which entrance to use to come into the building on their first day of work. That will ensure that they are not circling the parking lot looking for a space or waiting outside the wrong door to get into work on that important day.

The final item in their pre-orientation package should be a checklist of items that will be covered on their first day of work during their formal orientation process. This will allow the new hire to think about questions that they might to ask during that first day.

On their first day all new employees should be met in the reception area by a representative from their own work area. It can be their manager or supervisor but it should be someone who they will be working with in their new job. This person can take them to the Human Resource office for their documentation and paperwork but this is not just a job for HR. A successful employee orientation needs the direct involvement of the new recruit’s actual work area.

After the paperwork has been completed the new employee should be given a tour of his new working area. They should be introduced to their new supervisor and the other members of their team. Someone should be assigned to show them where the basics of office life take place. They shouldn’t have to ask where to eat their lunch or where the washrooms are located. More importantly they shouldn’t have to wait for an emergency to find out where the emergency exit is or which cupboard holds the first aid kit.

New employees should get a briefing on the role, purpose, and history of the company or organization. They should receive relevant policy and procedure manuals and a copy of their job description of one is available. Their new supervisor should review the organization’s expectations with the new employee and they should know how and when their performance will be measured and reported.

At every stage of that very important day the employee must be encouraged and given the opportunity to ask questions. And to receive an adequate response. If some question cannot be answered immediately there must be follow up to get the answer to the employee as soon as possible.

Employee orientation really just begins on that first day at work and should continue during the first weeks and maybe even months of an employee’s new career. This will include providing specific direction to the employee about actual job duties, operation of equipment and tools, information about reporting requirements and the inevitable filling out of various forms and documents. Once again it is very important that the employee be allowed to ask whatever questions they like. After all it’s going to be their home for a long time to come.

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