Hiring a new employee can be an exciting experience. It gives leaders the chance to show off what they have built and to share their passion and vision with someone fresh. You might envision what a new employee could bring to the table. As excited as the hiring manager might be, the employee is probably just as excited as well as nervous. It helps to overcome some of that nervousness by working hard to provide an excellent orientation program that puts them at ease.
What Is the Purpose of New Employee Orientation?
To provide an excellent orientation, you must first be clear on what the purpose is. It is intended to introduce the new employee to his or her new job, colleagues, and the setting. Orientation sets proper expectations by going over things such as dress codes, work hours, and other things.
How to Create an Effective Orientation Program
Though the details change from company to company, the following are nine guidelines for creating an orientation program:
1. Get feedback from recently hired employees.
A short time after new employees have settled into their roles, they will be able to point out things they wish they would have known and things that were difficult to learn. Get feedback from new employees after a month or so and put their opinions and suggestions into effect.
2. Schedule it on a day that you can focus on the orientation training for new employees.
Be strategic about when to schedule a new employee orientation program. If you know that Thursdays and Fridays are the busiest days for your company, do not schedule an orientation for either of those days. You should be able to focus on your new employee and spend time with them, not being interrupted every two minutes.
3. Have a plan.
Before an employee orientation program begins, you should know what you need and want to go over. Set goals and guidelines to both you and them to follow. This will keep you on task as well as provide a foundation for another person in the event you cannot do the orientation yourself.
4. Be prepared.
After setting your goals, make sure you take some time to prepare. If you know you will need pens and notepaper, get them ready. If you are walking around for a while, have a couple of bottles of water available. Additionally, make sure your new employee’s workstation is stocked with what they need to do their job.
5. Provide a list of FAQs, buzzwords, contacts, and other pertinent information.
Giving the new employee a list of FAQs will likely cut down on confusion and probably answer many questions before they even are asked. Providing buzzwords and industry definitions will help keep everyone on the same page. If you let your new employee know who they should contact for different topics, it will likely decrease feelings of being overwhelmed.
6. Assign a mentor.
It is a fact that new employees will need help regardless of how well-prepared you are. There is too much to go over and remember at once. Assigning a mentor and introducing him or her to the new employee will offer some degree of comfort and relief.
7. Explain the importance of the new employee’s role and how it will benefit the company.
We all like to know that what we do is important in some way. A new employee needs to know not only that their role is important but also how it is fits into the big picture of the company. Informing them that they are a vital part of your company will make them feel appreciated and, most likely, more dedicated.
8. Keep it upbeat and hands-on.
Almost every new employee of any company has been there: trying not to fall asleep during orientation. No one wants to make a wrong impression, but forcing yourself to sit through long, boring videos is very difficult. Orientation training for new employees should be engaging and hands-on. Leave your employees feeling exciting about their new job.
9. Beware of information overload.
If you have already provided the new employee with a handbook, a list of FAQs and contacts, definitions, and whatever else you deem necessary, there is no need to bombard them when more information now. Try not to overload them. Answer questions that they have without carrying on and on. Give them time to process what they are taking in.
Set the Right Tone
Although part of your brain may be saying, “Let me fill this new guy with information and get him to work as quickly as possible,” that would be a bad move. You set the tone for the employee on their first day. They need to know that their new boss values them. Rushing through orientation and leaving them to fend for themselves will not make them feel valued. It will make them feel lost, demotivated, uninspired, and ready to quit before they even get a good start. Instead, focus on setting the right tone by following the guidelines above and creating an effective orientation program.