A complete job orientation can help your employees feel welcome and comfortable within your organization from their first day. Orientation also allows new hires to overcome confusion the new role brings and become productive sooner, which boosts their overall performance. Studies have also shown that when companies take the time to provide a well-designed job orientation process, they see significant gains in employee retention and productivity.
This is a win-win for everyone.
How can your organization develop a job orientation process that sets up new hires for success? Further, what elements are essential for making a new hire experience positive?
What is job orientation?
You’ve probably heard many terms associated with the start of a new employee’s journey in a new job – preboarding, orientation, onboarding, training.
In the plainest of terms, a job orientation happens either prior to the new employee’s first day or right when the new employee starts their job at your organization. Common activities taking place during the job orientation include office/workplace tour, introducing colleagues and the team, a company presentation, introduction of company policies and safety regulations, and more. It is also a time for the new hire to sign employment paperwork like tax and payroll forms.
This critical process ensures that every new hire understands their role in the organization and has all the resources, technology, and instructions to perform the tasks of the job. The employee may review company policies and meet with management to get started. It will also be a period when the new hire engages with their immediate supervisor with regular touchpoints.
Job orientation is typically a one-off event that aims to welcome the employee, help them fit in quickly, and navigate their role and the company. In contrast, onboarding is a longer, comprehensive process that focuses on the new hire’s ability to assume their role and become a productive member of the team. Orientation can be considered as the first step of onboarding.
The days of throwing a new hire to the wolves and hoping they make it are over. Today, organizations are taking a lot more time to set their employees up for success.
During a job orientation, employees are paid their agreed-upon rate.
It’s critical to set up a job orientation so that every new hire has the opportunity to work on a customized job action plan for long-term success. This activity also helps set expectations from the start, giving employees a roadmap for achieving more. It may also be applied to temporary workers, as well as volunteers and interns.
How long is a job orientation?
A typical job orientation lasts anywhere from a couple of hours to a full work week. It usually depends on how complex the role is and on the organization. Again, it is important to note job orientation is not to be confused with onboarding, which is generally a longer process.
Why is a job orientation important for new hires and the organization?
Starting a new job can be overwhelming. Therefore, a structured job orientation can help a new hire ease into the role with the proper guidance and resources. Its benefits for new hires include:
Getting to know the organization
All new employees need to learn more about their place in the organization and how they can relate to the corporate culture. They also need to know what the general rules are regarding company policies and procedures. A job orientation goes over these items to help employees understand the company’s mission and values. They will also learn about any perks that come with their new role, such as benefits and support for career growth.
Establishing positive and productive working relationships
New hires can sometimes struggle to become part of their new team. A job orientation focuses on welcoming them into the group and identifying their strengths and values early on. This improves their chances of developing a sense of belonging, so they are able to connect with peers and do their best work.
Reducing confusion and setting the tone of the job
A job orientation is an excellent time to make sure the new hire is not confused about their role at the company. It also helps set their expectations. Communicating the specific tasks to be performed can further clarify what the employee needs to focus on in the following onboarding process. They also need to know why they are important to the overall company objectives and why their contributions matter.
Did you know that 4% of new hires quit after a disastrous first day and 22% of turnover happens within the first 45 days on the job? A solid job orientation process will help your organization avoid that.
There are benefits for companies that invest time and create a job orientation for new hires too. Organizational benefits include:
Getting to know the new hire
The company can use the job orientation as an opportunity to learn more about the new hire and their career goals. This leads to a better relationship between the employee and management. It also helps to know what the new hire is actually capable of producing early on and what skills gaps may exist. That enables you to provide support to bring them up to speed.
Improves employee retention
A job orientation can help employees adapt to their new workplace by giving them a favorable first impression. In fact, employees who participate in a structured job orientation are 69% more likely to remain with their organization at the three-year mark.
Reduced time to productivity
The orientation process helps employees to become familiar with the requirements of their new role and the organization sooner. Since they understand the job you hired them for, they can become productive that much faster. This improves the return on the investment made by employers.
How to make a job orientation at your organization a success
There are some proven best practices for making job orientation a success at your organization. Here’s a job orientation checklist to keep handy:
1. Reduce first-day jitters
Include a plan for the employee’s start date to reduce stress and communicate it to them. Inform them when they should arrive. Provide them with detailed directions for how to find the workplace and where to snag the best parking space. Let them know what door to access and whom to report to. Include information about the dress code and if they need to bring any documentation with them.
If your new hire is remote, let them know in advance how to check-in and what to expect on their first day.
2. Ready their workstation
In advance of their arrival at work, have all work-related items your new employees need ready and waiting for them. This can include technology, identification badge, keys, cabinet or locker, desk supplies, email and passwords, and invitations to company communications and project systems.
Remote employees will need these items sent to them well in advance. Be ready to provide them with some helpful guidelines for setting up a comfortable and professional home workspace.
3. Welcome them to the team
Personalize the job orientation with some nice new hire perks, such as a corporate t-shirt, notepads, pens, and water bottles. Add their name to their workstation before they arrive.
You can also welcome the new hire with a plant and a thoughtful card signed by all their peers. Host a group lunch or online event to get to know everyone. Assign a mentor from your more seasoned employees to show them the ropes.
4. Have the job orientation program schedule ready
When developing your job orientation program schedule, make sure it includes items they need to know and have your new hire’s needs in mind. Add in plenty of snacks, breaks, and a touchpoint with a supervisor at least twice a day. Continue with this practice in the first few weeks as well.
Encourage employees to ask questions and get to know their peers. Keep the program specific and consistent for all new hires by crafting a quick job orientation checklist.
5. Create a visual presentation
Instead of a bunch of people droning on and on about the company, try creating a visual presentation for your job orientation. Here is a simple and free job orientation template from Microsoft PowerPoint you can try. The advantage of having a presentation is that it provides some visual and auditory stimulation to new hires.
You can also send out in advance of employee onboarding. It can also be displayed to new hires in a virtual meeting (such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams) or during an orientation webinar.
6. Group job orientation sessions by topic
A typical orientation will include going over the company culture, leadership, mission and vision, and processes and procedures. Remember to include time for an office tour, introductions to core team members, department leaders, and the facilities where they will be working.
Group sessions by topic so that HR is handling administrative tasks, leaders are handling vision and mission-driven talks, and more. Of course, you can manage remote sessions in much the same way.
7. State the expectations of the job
While each employee may be assigned to different jobs and tasks, there are some core expectations that you need to communicate from day one. For example, all employees must take responsibility for their work and do their best. They must be problem-solvers and seek help when needed. The new hires have to aware that they need to learn new things on a regular basis, act professionally, and have integrity. They need to be honest and accept that people make mistakes sometimes — and it’s OK. Most of all, they need to know that respect is vital to a positive working relationship with others.
8. Let them know they are valued
In addition to voicing the expectations of employees, the company should also communicate how it values and rewards them for their hard work. Make sure all employees understand the performance system and how it ties to recognition and promotion. Moreover, all employees need to know that you offer a fully inclusive and equitable work opportunity where everyone can thrive.
9. Give them an introduction to the project they were hired for
Employees will be eager to learn about the work you have in mind for them, so feel free to give them a high-end overview of any projects they will be a part of. Give them some background on the project, who they will be working with, and how important they are to the success of the project.
10. Ask for feedback about the job orientation
In order to improve things, always have a survey ready to send to employees to get their feedback on the job orientation process. Note any concerns that employees bring up, suggestions for improvement, and questions they may have.
This is also a good time for a quick review of their performance to ensure the employee has settled in well. Don’t forget there is always room for improvement with any job orientation.
A final word
A structured job orientation provides your new employees with a great start at your organization. Neglecting this step can result in early employee turnover, which is something you want to avoid.
With this in mind, it is crucial to have a well-designed job orientation in place to help your employees boost their productivity, performance, and engagement with your company from the very beginning.
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