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How Do We Master New-Employee Orientation?

What are the key components to successful orientation of new employees, from both the employer and employee perspective? Once the offer letter has been extended, signed and returned, what should be included in the process to give a good and lasting impression?


— Appearances Matter, human resources consultant, finance/insurance/real estate, Philadelphia

March 28, 2014
Related Topics: Onboarding, Employee Orientation, The Latest, Dear Workforce

Dear Appearances Matter:

Orientation is similar to that first day of school: a combination of excitement, high expectations, stress, fear and trepidation. Orientation programs seem to have lost track of the most basic human needs: fitting in and making connections.

This is where pre-boarding methods can help, such as a short, welcoming email from the manager and a separate one from a soon-to-be peer. The intent is to create a personal connection from the moment of the hire — well before the employee’s first day. Pre-boarding helps to foster engagement and provides the organization with an opportunity to make its own first impression.

Tell your story: Stories can stir emotions as a strategic and scientific way to help the brain make new knowledge stick. During onboarding, presenters are expected to go over key content. Encourage them to use cases or scenarios to tell your organization’s story and then deconstruct the scenario to highlight key policies.

Next, as you go around the office, invite each person to tell about their first month: “When I started working here, one thing I wish I would have known is …” This helps build strong relationships and offers a powerful way for current employees to remember what it’s like to be the new employee.

Use technology to simplify: The mistake many organizations make is to see the welcoming process as a chance to transfer large amounts of information, leaving new employees swamped and their heads spinning. This is a waste for everyone. We think the focus should be on awareness rather than knowledge. Change the outcome of your orientation materials to be: “At the end of this session, new employees will be aware of the information they need, where to find it and who they can go to for clarification.

For example, use the company’s intranet page to create a one-click stop for new employees to collect info as they need it. Include a checklist as a reminder of everything that needs to be done. For each task, provide links to all relevant documents and contacts. (We know managers who continue to use this page many years after their orientation).

SOURCE: Dominique Giguère and Jed DeCory, Currents Group Inc., Ontario, March 25, 2014


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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