New Employee Orientation: Employee Onboarding

New employee orientation is the process you use for welcoming a new employee into your organization. The goal of new employee orientation is to help the new employee feel welcomed, integrated into the organization, and performing the new job successfully as quickly as possible.

In organizations, a core of information exists that you need to share with every new employee. But, depending on the level of the job, the responsibilities of the job, and the experience of the new employee, components will vary.

New employee orientation, often spearheaded by a meeting with the Human Resources department, generally contains information in areas such as:

  • Safety
  • The work environment
  • The new job description
  • Benefits and benefits eligibility
  • The employee’s new manager and coworkers
  • Company culture
  • Company history
  • The organization chart
  • Anything else that is relevant for the new employee to working in the new company

New employee orientation often includes an introduction to each department in the company and a list of employees to meet who are crucial to the new employee’s success. The best orientations have set up these meetings prior to the new employee’s arrival.

Employee onboarding also includes training on-the-job, often with a coworker who does or has done the job. New employee orientation frequently includes spending time doing the jobs in each department to understand the flow of the product or service through the organization.

Timing and Presentation of Employee Orientation

Various organizations do new employee orientation differently. Orientations range from a full day or two of paperwork, presentations, and introductions to a daily orientation program that was effective in one company for years.

In the daily orientation program, the manager of the new employee’s department sets up a 120-day orientation during which the new employee learned something new about the company every day while also performing the job.

From meeting the CEO to operating each piece of equipment in the plant, this longer-term orientation welcomed the new employee and gradually immersed them in the organization’s operation, history, culture, values, and mission.

Early in the 120-day program, new employees attended training sessions and completed the necessary employment and benefits paperwork, but the rest was custom designed for the employee.

Effective new employee orientations often contain components over time whether for 30 days, 90 days or more. It is not effective to hit a new employee with too much information during their first few days of work.

Finally, many organizations assign a mentor or buddy to the new employee. This coworker answers all of their questions and aids the new employee to quickly feel at home.

The selection and training of these employees is critical. You don’t want a disenfranchised or unhappy employee mentoring others.

How to Have a World-Class Orientation Program

Dr. John Sullivan, head of the Human Resource Management Program at San Francisco State University, concludes that several elements contribute to a World-Class orientation program.

The best new employee orientation:

  • Has targeted goals and meets them
  • Makes the first day a celebration
  • Involves the family as well as co-workers
  • Makes new hires productive on the first day
  • Is not boring, rushed or ineffective
  • Uses new employee feedback to continuously improve

If your new employee orientation incorporates these six factors, you know that you are on the right path to an effective orientation that both welcomes and teaches your new employees.

Also Known As New Employee Onboarding, Orientation, Induction.