Employee Orientations = Company/Employee Success

Employee turnover is very costly.  Aside from the tangible costs of recruitment, the revolving employment door takes its toll on your customers and other employees.  A solid orientation process creates a win-win for all parties, as well as a roadmap for a productive work relationship.

However, companies often assume that a new employee’s credentials automatically make him or her knowledgeable about the workplace and the employer’s expectations. The reality is that in order for employees to be successful, they need to know the specifics of their duties and the company’s rules and expectations.  Does it sound impossible to add time for staff orientation to your already-jam-packed day? Here are some suggestions to make the task easier and accomplish the goal of informed, committed staff with a successful and efficient orientation:

  • Try to hold the orientation session on the new employee’s start date if at all possible.  This will foster a positive first impression on the employee and communicate that you value the work relationship.
  • Sketch out an outline of the information to communicate.  The entire orientation process needn’t be conducted solely by the manager; capable, long-standing employees who understand and uphold the company’s policies can help too.  Make sure the company president stops in to welcome the new staff member.
  • Remember that you can use technology by including videos as well as printed materials.  These items can supplement the orientation process but should not take the place of human interaction.
  • Be sure to include an organizational chart.  In very small organizations (less than five employees), this might seem like over-kill, but in larger companies, it’s helpful for the new employee to understand the organization and specifically his or her role in the ‘grand scheme of things.’
  • Do include a company history and a company philosophy, making sure to include vision and mission statements.  If your company doesn’t have those, you may want to take some time to refine these concepts for your organization’s benefit.
  • Present and review in detail the company handbook which should include company rules, hours of work, disciplinary action, time off policies and benefit package, payroll schedules, etc.
  • Don’t forget to include items that may seem simple or self explanatory, such as how to transfer telephone calls, and other workplace expectations.
  • Discuss training and advancement opportunities.
  • Make sure to include plenty of question-and-answer opportunities.
  • If possible, assign a mentor or buddy to the new employee to ensure a good transition. Make sure this individual is one of your star performers who can uphold your company’s performance standards and set a good example.

Implementing a proper orientation program will take some time to plan and can be costly. However, the cost of having high turnover vastly outweighs the cost of a good orientation. It is a great investment that will pay dividends in more productive and satisfied employees.

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