Mark Sinatra gives us his way of settling new hires in quickly.
One of the first steps to getting a new hire into the swing of things is completing their employee orientation.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of orientation programmes; not only do they serve as vital training for the tasks and responsibilities an employee will be performing later on, but they’re essentially a first taste of your company’s culture. And as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Here are the first five tips for creating a great orientation program—and, by extension, helping ‘newbies’ at your company feel welcome:
Be wise about scheduling
Although many folks are eager to begin their new jobs as soon as possible, you should take into account the office environment before picking the new team member’s start date.
If there’s a time very soon that the new hire’s supervisor will be on vacation, or that the office will likely be extremely busy (and your employees will be feeling stressed out), do not schedule their orientation for that period.
An employee’s orientation should be much more detailed and thought-out than simply telling them to shadow one of their co-workers or read the employee handbook.
It may be better to have an employee wait an extra week before starting, rather than to have them come in at a bad time and get a negative, uncaring vibe from the office.
Enable them to be prepared…
Starting a new job is nerve-racking enough, so help your new hires walk in with confidence. Discuss the workplace dress code and parking procedures in advance; that way, newbies won’t have to worry about committing a faux pas on their very first day.
Ideally, the person in charge of their orientation should also be waiting to greet them in the lobby/reception area so that the new hire doesn’t have to have to play ‘hide and seek’, or wait to be escorted to their workstation.
If that’s not possible, the new team member should at least know the name (and a general description) of the person they’re supposed to ask for, and said person should be available to meet with them almost immediately.
…and see to it that their workspace is prepared, too
Granted, certain things actually can’t be set up before the new hire’s first day of work. But there’s a major difference between an employee not being able to log onto their computer because they don’t have a User ID/password and an employee not being able to set their stuff down because they don’t have a desk.
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While setups for new hires don’t have to be pretty or elaborate, they should at least be functional. Providing basic (or better) accommodations sends a very clear message that you’re happy that they’re here and you’re ready for them to join the team immediately.
Have a plan…
This one should be a total no-brainer, but far too many companies don’t have a consistent, organised process for training new hires. An employee’s orientation should be much more detailed and thought-out than simply telling them to shadow one of their co-workers or read the employee handbook.
If your business lacks a full-fledged orientation procedure, you can develop an effective training plan through employee feedback. We will touch more on that later.
…But keep things interesting
At the same time, though, you shouldn’t bog down the employee with a million details, complicated jargon, and an endless stream of dull training videos on their first day at the office. It’s also not necessary to stick to the training procedure like it’s gospel and never, ever stray or do things in a different order.
Going with the flow and making it a fun, interactive experience can make the whole orientation process seem more relaxed and far less stressful. The new hire can enjoy some structured learning without being made to fear ‘rocking the boat’.
This piece will be concluded next week.
About the author
Mark Sinatra is CEO of Staff One HR.