They’ve Signed the Offer, Now What? A Guide to Employee Orientation

Onboarding, orientation, or induction, whichever word you choose to use to describe how you welcome your new employee will not change the end result if done poorly.  The first impression can be a lasting one and since you only have one chance to make a first impression, delivering the right information at the right time is critical to retaining key talent.

Structured orientation programs are designed to help employees adapt to their new working environments.  They’re used to convey all necessary information to ensure a new employee’s sense of belonging in the company.  An orientation strategy can significantly impact an employees motivation and support of the corporate mission, therefore it’s important to communicate to new employees as much information as possible on the organization’s culture, values, philosophy and expectations at the time of hiring. The more structured and effective the employee orientation, the better their performance will be.

In order to be successful, the process must be consistently applied across the organization, with effective orientation practices, training, and mentoring aimed to provide all new recruits with the same opportunity to succeed and grow within the organization.

Objectives of an Orientation

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  • To assist and foster the employee’s social and professional orientation into the workplace
  • To demonstrate to the new employee the company’s desire to help in his or her acclimatization
  • To enable the employee to obtain answers to his or her questions and to access relevant information
  • To support the employee and enable him or her to become effective as quickly as possible
  • To determine if the employee clearly understands the expectations to his or her tasks, roles and responsibilities
  • To ensure the employee is familiar with the company’s standards and policies
  • To familiarize the employee with the organization’s culture and values
  • To increase the company’s visibility and contribute to the enhancement of its image[/listdot]

STEP 1: PREPARING FOR THE ORIENTATION

Preparing for the induction involves organizing the new employee’s working environment. This step is carried out prior to the employee’s start date and is important, since it will make the employee understand that he or she is expected at the company and that his or her arrival has been planned. The new employee must have at their disposal, on the first day of work, all the documents and tools necessary to perform their job.

Every step must be taken to ensure an effective integration. Partnering the new employee with a mentor can help the transition into the specific work context, however, the mentor must be identified in advance, and is an experienced employee capable of answering all the questions the new employee may ask.  Before choosing the mentor, you may want to ask yourself if the chosen mentor:
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  • Demonstrates high performance?
  • Will be given time to be accessible to the new employee?
  • Is skilled in the new employee’s job?
  • Is proud of the organization?
  • Will be a peer of the new employee?
  • Exhibits patience and good communication and interpersonal skills?
  • Wants to be a “mentor”?
  • Is a positive role model (well regarded and accepted by current employees)?
  • Has been trained in “mentor” responsibilities?[/listdot]

The mentoring system allows a bond of trust to be formed between the employee and the mentor leading to an increase in the effectiveness and quality of learning and the reduction of the new employee’s anxiety level. Preferably, the immediate supervisor would prepare the contents of the orientation with the designated mentor, and together, ask the following three questions:

1 – What should be included in the orientation?

2 – What are the objectives?

3 – What does the new employee need to know about his or her tasks?

Points to remember
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  • Call or write to the new employee to confirm the date for reporting to work and the name of the person to ask for
  • Organize the work environment (workstation, access code, telephone number, email, office supplies, etc.)
  • Prepare all relevant documents as well as the documentation pertaining to the company
  • Inform existing employees that the newcomer will be joining the work team
  • Choose the mentor and prepare to introduce the new employee

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STEP 2: INDUCTION

As it will condition his or her relationship with the company, the new employee’s first contact with his or her working environment is extremely important.  The employee must feel supported and important. The first person he or she will meet is the immediate supervisor, who will present the corporate profile in addition to providing information on the organization’s background, values, clientele, services offered, staff, and expected behaviour. The immediate supervisor will also specify the newcomer’s role. The points listed below should be covered during this meeting:
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  • Word of welcome (presentation of the corporate mission and challenges)
  • Presentation of the organization’s key values and expectations (schedule, personal and organizational expectations)
  • Presentation of the employee manual, working conditions and organizational chart
  • Submission and signing of required documents (employee file, group insurance, etc.)
  • Tour of the workplace with the department manager
  • Designation of the workspace and tools available (computer, office supplies, etc.)
  • Tour of the different company departments including rest and recreation areas (employee lunchroom, facilities, etc.)
  • Introduction to staff and the work team[/listdot]

[superbuttoninline href=”http://www.pivotalsolutions.com/new-employee-orientation-guide/”]Download: New Employee Orientation Checklist[/superbuttoninline][clear]

STEP 3: ORIENTATION

This step encompasses the employee’s introduction to his or her new position.  During this phase, the employee will acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities and values necessary to adapt to their new environment.  Preferably, the mentor will accompany the employee during this step. The newcomer should integrate into the team and learn what is expected of him or her. This process may be enriched by training that directly relates to the tasks inherent to the job.

Points to remember
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    • Introduction to the mentor
    • Presentation of mutual expectations
    • Presentation of the roles, responsibilities and tasks relating to the job
    • Explanation, observation and experimentation
    • Presentation of work methods

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STEP 4: FOLLOW-UP

The final step involves ensuring the employee is satisfied with his or her orientation. Once the training period has ended, a recap meeting should be arranged with the department manager to answer any questions.  It can also be helpful to ask the employee about his or her satisfaction with the overall orientation and their current perceptions and this can be done by asking the new employee to fill out a form that can be referred back to during your discussion.

[superbuttoninline href=”http://www.pivotalsolutions.com/new-employee-orientation-guide/”]Download: New Employee Orientation Follow-up Questionnaire[/superbuttoninline]

 

A good orientation program takes work, therefore when it starts to become tedious, remember this:

Everyone wins – you, the employee and the organization!

Part 2: The Importance of a Mentor During The New Employee Orientation Process

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