A Guide to New Employee Orientation

A Guide to New Employee Orientation

Preparing for New Hire Orientation: What You Need to Know

We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In many sectors, companies are beginning to hire. Jobs are coming back. This means employers must ramp up their orientation programs and make them accessible to employees who may not share the same physical space.

Companies that don’t invest in new hire employee orientation do so at their peril. Orientation – or the lack thereof – is an undeniable factor in employee productivity and also affects companies’ attrition rate. With a little planning and preparation, you can make your new employees’ orientation and first days of work an engaging experience and important milestone in their journey with your company.

Differentiating Orientation from Onboarding

But first, let’s get on the same page. What exactly do we mean when we talk about new employee orientation and how is that different from onboarding? New employee orientation is a planned event during which new hires are “oriented” to the company and its culture, people, processes, and expectations. Orientation usually happens on the first day or two of work.

Many people use orientation and onboarding synonymously; while they are related, they do have some significant differences. Onboarding is a comprehensive process, while orientation is one event, one step – usually the first step – in the overall onboarding process. Onboarding is more than just the first day or the first week of work; three months or even six months is a typical window for the onboarding process. It often involves deeper training specific to the role.

Why is New Hire Orientation Important?

While new hire orientation is among the first steps in the onboarding process, let’s not lose focus on why it’s important. It’s not just filling out the I-9 form, checking ID, and other HR paperwork; it’s an important bridge between the new employee and your organization, welcoming them and acclimating them to your vision, culture, and more. In fact, those first weeks and months on the job are critical in shaping how new employees feel about their role in your organization.

Orientation has both practical and emotional importance. It’s practical in the sense that it helps employees understand how to go about performing their job. An effective orientation, however, should also help integrate employees into the culture and increase their sense of belonging. Make sure you have clear avenues of communication in place and your new hire knows where to go to ask questions so they feel equipped and supported during their orientation and beyond.

First impressions count. Research by Brandon Hall Group found that 51 percent of companies report that most of their new-hire attrition comes in the first six months of employment. Developing a strategic and seamless recruiting, orientation, and onboarding process can help companies avoid this predicament.

Organizations that focus their efforts on getting new employees excited and engaged about their work and organization are able to develop loyal, longer-term employees. The sooner companies can get new employees up to speed so they’re making a meaningful contribution to the organization’s goals, the sooner companies can see a return on their investment. New-hire orientation simply makes good business sense.

Orientation in a Remote World

New employee orientation is something we’re used to doing in-person. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a transition from the conventional office-based work environment to a remote, or virtual, model. With the right technology, such as a learning management system (LMS), companies can easily deliver orientation to new hires that are geographically dispersed across different offices or even countries. A LMS is essentially a portal or central repository of digitized training courses and content which can be accessed remotely by employees using one simple web-based interface. Without a LMS, getting the same, consistent information to your employees, especially those who work remotely, is a major challenge; it can be hit or miss.

Planning for New Hire Orientation

Pre-orientation planning is essential. What can you get out of the way now? Hello, paperwork! A secure candidate portal can be used to send new hires digitized agreements, which employees can review and sign using their favorite mobile device. You can also send them a welcome note or other useful information through the portal. Start instilling that sense of belonging before they begin their first day of work.

If you’re matching up your new hires with a mentor, now is a good time to make those plans. Another consideration is reaching out to IT. Human resources must communicate hiring plans to their IT partners so that they have adequate time to get the proper equipment ready for the employee’s start date.

New Employee Orientation Program Checklist

Use this new employee orientation checklist, based on new employee orientation best practices, to keep track of your orientation tasks.

Administrative and Legal To-Dos

  • Review company processes and procedures like how to enter and depart the building, place orders for supplies, and request time off.
  • There will be administrative and legal paperwork to fill out, including I-9 & W-4, background check, and direct deposit forms.

Review Company Policies

  • Review company benefits such as health and life insurance, car and phone policies, wellness programs, and stock options, among others.
  • Provide an overview of vacation and time-off policies, flextime and work-from-home policies, as well as sick leave, safety, and security protocol.
  • Depending on your industry, you’ll have various agreements that new hires will need to consent to. Examples include non-disclosure, non-compete, and confidentiality agreements.

Set Expectations

  • Review regular work times, lunch hours, and other breaks.
  • Provide a copy of and walk through your employee handbook.

Help Them Adjust

  • Give new hires an office tour, including kitchen, bathroom, gym, common areas, and meeting rooms. Point out where the emergency exits are.
  • Match new hires with a mentor.
  • Introduce HR and IT teams and explain how they can support them.
  • Facilitate welcome and introductions to different departments.
  • Arrange for one-on-one meetings with team members and department heads.
  • Show them how to reserve meeting rooms.

Prepare Workstations

  • Explain how to work office equipment, technology, and software applications.
  • This should include not just the phone and printer but also the intranet as well as video conferencing tools and training portals like a Learning Management System (LMS).

Book a demo today to learn how the World Manager LMS can streamline and supercharge your organization’s orientation and onboarding program. Contact Us today!

Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

The best companies use World Manager to train staff, maintain standards, and set the company up on the road to success.