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Define Orientation: What is an Effective Employee Orientation?

A Sample New Employee Orientation Program

Build your new employee orientation presentation package. Define orientation goals and ensure you cover the details of what your employees need to know to work in your organization. Use a sample new employee orientation program to effectively welcome new employees.

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A Sample New Employee Orientation Program

The First Day on the Job:

  • No matter how busy you are, welcome your new employee - do not abandon him/her. If you do not have time to spend with the new employee, assign someone to that responsibility.
  • Discuss the plan for first day. Review the package you have prepared (above) for the new employee.
  • Introduce the employee to other staff members.
  • Show the new employee around the office: show them the lunch room, the washrooms, the emergency exits. If you have a large facility, try to have the facility lay-out mapped and give the new employee that map (this is usually required for your safety plan).
  • Review the job description and organizational charts with the employee.
  • Explain parking, ride sharing and transportation services available.
  • Review telephone, fax, e-mail, and Internet use and policies.
  • Review the hours of work, attendance expectations (how to handle lateness or absences: who to call, what the policies are) and vacation entitlements. Also discuss holidays the company pays for (e.g. Christmas Day?).
  • If you haven't already given the new employee the employee handbook (company policies and practices book) and employee compensation and benefits package or materials, give them to the employee now. Ask them to review the documents carefully and get back to you, or the appropriate person, with any questions or requirements for clarification. If forms need to be filled out (for taxes, benefits, payroll, etc.), have them do it on the first day or give them the forms in a separate package and have them bring it back the next day.
  • Your offer letter will have included mention of a probationary period, remind the new employee of that period. Discuss the company's process for performance evaluations, and how the employee will be evaluated.
  • Discuss security in terms of locking file cabinets, passwords for voice mail and/or computers, locking access doors, etc.

Create a checklist for the new employee orientation. Then make sure that as you work through the checklist, you have agreement from your new employee that they are aware of the information and understand it.

Once you’ve completed the new employee orientation, usually in the first week, have a sign off procedure for both the new employee and you (or the individual who was assigned to handle the orientation). You want to make sure that nothing important has been overlooked or forgotten.

Follow up with the new employee during the next week, then the next month, then the six months probation review and finally the annual performance review (use your employee performance evaluations program). Do not leave issues alone, hoping they will fix themselves. Make sure that you discuss issues before they become reasons for termination and you end up firing employees.

If you have concerns about performance or other issues, address them directly and early.

It is difficult finding good people: when you hire new employees, ensure that you provide enough employee training development and orientation to help your employees become successful additions to your team and to ensure that you retain your employees.

Your small business growth depends on the quality of the people you hire. Once you've hired them, define orientation as a priority. Effective employee orientation will jump-start the training cycle and provide stronger alignment between the job descriptions and the performance evaluations (and performance results).

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Increasing New Employee Success

New employees have a better opportunity for success when you provide a strong orientation for them on day one.

But follow up on that orientation, make sure that they understand what's expected of them and that they have the training and the support to do well.

During the first week, set aside some time each day to check in with them and debrief; listen closely to what they have to say and see if they highlight areas of business or process improvement: sometimes new employees see things that existing staff just don't see anymore.

Be sure to communicate progress and expected results regularly. Provide a written summary performance review after the first month - not at the end of the probationary period - by then it may be too late. Make sure the summary provides both the good results and the areas for improvement - with feedback on how that improvement can be achieved.

Communicate the organization's plan for the future and how the employees contribute to those plans and mission.

Make sure that the culture of your organization is one that attracts the type of people you want working for you. Assess your environment objectively - or hire someone to come in and do an employee survey or assessment for you.

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Performance Evaluation Best Practices

Provide feedback regularly and consistently (and frequently for new employees or those that appear to be struggling).

Recognize good work openly and in front of other.

Consider poor performance as an area for improvement: focus on only one or two improvement areas at a time.

Provide employees with the opportunity for input into their evaluations - this should not be a one-way communication effort, rather it needs to be a two-way effort.

If there are action items that come out of the performance evaluation, and typically there need to be some goals or actions in each evaluation, then follow up - do not wait for a year to go by to check in.