New Employee Orientation: A practical guide

Job analysis methods

What is new employee orientation?

The term “new employee orientation” describes all of the procedures used to acquaint freshly hired employees with their workplace. They consist of educating new hires on company policies, acquainting them with previous employees and divisions, and responding to their inquiries.

What is new employee orientation?

For instance, Walmart offers new hires a straightforward orientation timetable. A week is allotted for orientation. A day is set aside during that time for the business to introduce new hires to the company culture, sales training procedures, modes of communication, and dress standards.

To prepare new hires for their duties, this is being done. The fact that the majority of people experience their anxiety symptoms when beginning a new work helps manage anxiety. New hire orientation aids in easing any dread or anxiety that may be present.

Onboarding vs. new employee orientation

Onboarding vs. new employee orientation

Employee orientation is a one-time occasion for new hires to be welcomed to your business. It has a broader focal point.

On the other hand, employee onboarding is a sequence of activities and lessons (including orientation) that aid in the development of new hires into productive workers. It is more department- and job-specific.

Benefits of employee orientation 

The following are frequently cited advantages of staff orientation:

  • Lowering anxiety and tension. This is most likely the main advantage of new employee onboarding. No matter how well you’ve handled the hiring procedure, candidates will still feel anxious on their first day.
  • A well-planned orientation lessens this tension and makes clear what is scheduled for the participants’ first day and subsequent days.
  • Become more devoted to the company. A good orientation will immediately make new hires feel wanted, appreciated, and welcomed. This will strengthen their dedication.
  • Improve output while reducing errors. New hire instruction done right will hasten employees’ assimilation. It will also assist in preventing errors that are not required.
  • Reduce turnover. Employee turnover should decrease as a result of the three advantages just mentioned; employee orientation demonstrates the organization’s concern for its employees and equips them with the resources they need to perform their jobs effectively.
  • Fostering effective dialogue and relations between the new employee, their coworkers, and their manager.

New employee orientation best practices 

1. Make a checklist for new hire orientation

When bringing on new employees, there are many things to take care of, including administrative access, team introductions, and job forms. The average number of tasks in onboarding initiatives for new employees is 54.

Additionally, those events are exclusive to new employees. Managers and team members from HR and IT will also be needed to assist you. It’s not precisely practical to try to keep track of everything without a system in place.

Make a checklist for employee orientation to remain organized and make sure no crucial steps are missed. Here is a fresh Google Sheets staff checklist. (Note that you must first create a copy to use it.)

2. Begin the procedure Early

New employees always experience the excitement on their first day, but it can also be overwhelming.

From the time they accept your employment offer until their first day on the job, new hires experience a lot. Before the start date, let people know what to anticipate.

Begin the procedure early by letting them know the plan a week before their first day. A straightforward but efficient method to enhance the entire employee onboarding process is to complete the necessary paperwork beforehand.

Additionally, it means that new employees won’t have to waste time on tedious paperwork and can begin working right away.

3. Arrange for one-on-one time

Typically, new hires from other divisions participate in group orientations. This offers a chance for interaction and a formal introduction to the business for all new hires.

However, having managers set aside time to check in with new hires is the best way to get them ready for their duties. Continuous feedback and regular check-ins have a positive effect on the company, according to 89% of HR leaders.

To give feedback and guide new employees in the right direction, managers should make one-on-one time with them a priority. Their transition into their new positions will be aided by this.

Giving personalized attention and letting your new hire feel at home is the best way to enhance the orientation experience and motivate them to be productive.

5. Automate Paperwork

Before a new hire can officially work at your company, you need to prepare various forms as required by law.

The most common types of forms you’ll need for new hires include:

  • W-4 Form
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
  • State tax forms
  • Direct deposit form

You may also need to prepare additional documents for internal purposes, such as non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality forms, and more. 

Every organization should also have an employee handbook that compiles the company’s policies, operating procedures, and other job-related information.

Bringing on new employees always comes with paperwork. But this doesn’t mean you need to bury them (or yourself) under piles of forms.

New employee orientation ideas

1. Do a team lunch

The new employee lunch is probably the most standard orientation idea out there.

If you do nothing else, at least organize a team lunch. As a manager, there are several benefits:

It’s super easy. All you need to do is schedule a reservation and invite the new employee’s immediate team. The cost can be reasonable, especially if you pick a casual place.

People naturally bond and socialize over food. It also gives your team something enjoyable to participate in.

2. Start a tradition of orientation

Start a tradition of orientation

It can be anything.

The point is to turn lunch into an orientation tradition, that’s much more powerful than an ordinary team lunch.

Think of what makes a holiday meal such a great tradition. Part of it comes from the fact that holiday meals are only eaten during the holiday, we don’t generally have that food during the rest of the year. The exclusivity anchors the tradition and makes it stand out.

3. Have a swag bag waiting for them on their desk

I’ll be the first to admit, putting together a great bag of swag is pretty difficult. The bag of useless swag has long been a cliche.

A couple of high-quality swag items can still resonate with people though. As long as you carefully select each item while choosing quality or quantity, it’s well worth the effort. A bag of 2-3 high-quality swag items makes for an amazing orientation welcome gift.

There are a few standby swag items that always work:

  • The company t-shirt. 
  • Moleskine notebooks. 
  • The company hoodie. 
  • Logo stickers. 
  • Water bottles and mugs. 

4. Give a desk plant

Empty desks look… lonely. Sure, they may be a blank canvas but an empty desk is never welcoming.

One way to make the desk more inviting on the first day is by sprucing it up with a good desk plant. Not only does the plant make a good gift, it adds a lot of warmth to an otherwise barren desk.

A couple of tips for picking good plants:

  • Try to get one that lasts. A bouquet looks amazing but it’ll have wilted within a few days
  • Pick a plant that’s easy to care for. Most people have no idea how to care for plants. If you pick one that does well with sporadic watering, it’ll last a lot longer.

5. Write a welcome note by hand

Postcards and hand-written letters have almost disappeared entirely from our day-to-day lives. That means when we do get a handwritten note, it stands out.

Whenever I want to make a message resonate with someone on my team, I always write a note by hand. People remember them for a long time.

6. Pair the new employee with a mentor

 Pair the new employee with a mentor

Mentors have become one of the more popular and standard ideas for orientation programs. Most mentor programs work like this:

  • A senior employee is tasked as a mentor for the new hire.
  • The mentor checks in regularly during the first few weeks, then checks in every month for 3-6 months.
  • Mainly, the mentor asks how everything is going and if there’s anything that the new employee needs help with.
  • The new employee also has someone to go to for guidance.
  • This all sounds great in theory but can be a little trickier in practice.
  • The best mentors are senior folks with deep experience in similar areas for the role that the new employee just stepped into. They should also be deeply committed to coaching and nurturing colleagues more junior than themselves.

When the right people are selected as mentors, it makes an enormous difference during the new hire’s orientation.

7. Schedule a welcome happy hour

This idea is pretty common across company orientations. On the first day or sometime during the first week, invite the new employee along with some of their teammates to a happy hour at a local bar.

It’s easy to implement and all you need is a bar tab.

There’s one trap to avoid though.

In high-pressure work environments where everyone has a lot on their plate, folks will start skipping these happy hours. That makes sense, they’re stressed out and need every hour that they can get. But as a new employee, it’s extremely demoralizing to show up to your happy hour and only have a couple of other people attend.

So if you’re going to schedule happy hours for new employees, make sure there’s a decent size group that attends.

8. Give the new hire a “Getting Started Checklist”

As a new employee, there’s a lot to absorb right away. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

To ground the employee and give them some structure around their first few days, give them a “Getting Started” checklist that includes every orientation task that you want them to complete. This could include things like filling out all the HR documents, setting up their accounts and laptop, and attending a team happy hour.

Like any good checklist, keep it succinct. Explain all the policies and context elsewhere, the checklist should tell any new hire what they should be focusing on with a glance.

9. Organize all the onboarding paperwork for them

It’s your first day, and you’ve had a rush of information and meetings during the morning.

You sit down at your new desk, imagining what it’ll be like to work there in the coming months and hopefully years.

Then someone comes by and drops a giant stack of HR documents in front of you.

Your first “project” is to slog through all the documentation, find the stuff you’re supposed to sign, and hopefully fill it out correctly. It’s not exactly a thrilling or welcoming experience.

There’s no way around it, all the HR paperwork has to get completed. But during orientation, a little extra effort can make it a dramatically better experience for new employees. Go through all the paperwork and organize it into sections. Print out brief instructions for what each section is for and how to make the most important decisions on things like benefits. To go the extra mile, use those signature sticky notes to flag all the signature sections and tag all the forms that need to be filled out.

A well-organized collection of paperwork communicates to the new hire that they’ll be supported throughout all their projects and can easily get help.

10. Give them the employee handbook

Putting an employee handbook together can seem like a trivial exercise for long-time employees. That’s because the curse of knowledge prevents us from remembering how long it took us to learn everything that we now know about the company.

Everything from policies, the mission, and values, to unwritten rules, core aspects of the culture, and who to go to for help. Learning all these day-to-day details takes new employees months to absorb even though we now take it for granted.

A well-written and succinct employee handbook makes an enormous difference for employees. It’s their map when they feel lost or unsure of themselves in the early days.

New employee orientation checklist 

A new employee orientation schedule for the first day and the first week is provided below. These can serve as an inspiration for your employee orientation, you can copy and paste them verbatim, or you can select and choose the components that apply to your business.

New employee orientation checklist 

Wrapping up 

Both the company and the newly hired employee look forward to orientation. Building a long-lasting relationship with your team members requires a well-organized and well-thought-out process that doesn’t sacrifice the emotional and human aspects of starting a new work.

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