Importance of a New Hire Orientation Program

Smart hiring practices involve a great deal of time and planning. If done correctly, management plans out who they want and how the position will enhance the organization. It requires a large amount of resources to source, select and recruit talent. By the time an offer is made, countless management hours will be expended. If a third party is used, a fee will be owed. In an economy where waste must be kept to a minimum, smart hiring practices save money.

However, once the candidate is hired, what does your company do to transition the new hire into the fold? I find it amusing that it is common in the workplace to have a party when an employee is leaving the job or retiring. A relocating worker will treated to a send off lunch with the team. A retiree will receive a parting gift. But what is done for a new hire? There may not be any fanfare at all.And what do you think this says about your company?

First impressions are lasting and a well-planned “welcome” can be the best steps to insuring that the recruiting efforts are not spoiled with a bad reception. A New Employee Orientation Program helps a new hire bond with the organization and its people early on. It can help a new employee to acclimate the culture, policies and procedures of your organization. It is a great opportunity for knowledge transfer.

How bad could it be without a program? Let me give you some real life examples:

  1. A new manager sits at her desk without a telephone, a computer or email for the first week!
  2. The new hire’s manager has gone on vacation during the first week!
  3. A new manager quickly finds out that a member of his team is disgruntled about not getting his job!
  4. A Wall Street firm on the West coast fails to tell the new hire that business starts at 5:30 a.m. due to the market opening on the East coast!
  5. The worst- Payroll never was told about the new hire and does not process their pay!

The Welcome Package

Once the candidate has accepted employment, Human Resources should send a Welcome Packet as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior. The packet should contain a brief description and history of the company, where to park, the official start date and time to show up, and the time the day ends. The packet will contain Company brochures, salary information, the Employee Handbook and benefits enrollment forms/booklets. A critical piece of the program is the assignment of a Mentor from Human Resources. As a part of the new hire orientation program, management should designate this person to be the new hire’s mentor. The task is a part of the HR employee’s job description. The welcome packet will contain information about their Mentor and outline the agenda on the first day.

PREPARING FOR THE ARRIVAL

The Human Resources Mentor will be assigned to the new employee at the time the offer was accepted. The Mentor’s job is to guide the new employee into their position. The Human Resources Mentor serves as a trusted advisor or teacher to the new employee. There should be no limit on how long the assigned employee is viewed as a Mentor.

The Human Resources Mentor should be given a summary of the new hire’s job description and he/she needs to have some understanding of the new hire’s background and skill level. The HR Mentor should work with other parts of the company to schedule software training, order equipment and supplies, set up technology needs and security. The HR Mentor will coordinate any training that is required and will develop the employee’s first week’s agenda. A lunch or reception should be organized in the first week, attended by team members and the employee’s manager. The HR Mentor should let the new employee know that they and another employee will be taking them to lunch. This should open up an opportunity of dialogue that might not occur in the office. The HR Mentor should consider asking the new employee and another employee on the second day as well. The more people they get acquainted with, the more comfortable they will become. The HR Mentor should mention to the new employee the lunch opportunities that they have, such as use of cafeteria, eateries nearby and that some employees may prefer to each lunch in their offices, depending on what they have going on that day.

The Arrival

The HR Mentor will greet and welcome the new hire(s) and introduce them to the rest of the organization in the order of necessity. It is important that the HR Mentor understand the role. They should smile and tell them they are glad that they have come to work there. This can make a big difference to the new hire. The HR Mentor needs to disseminate the culture. It is the opportunity to stress “how things are done around here”. It is the best time to create the attitude that is desirable in performing their jobs. The HR Mentor can set the tone for the employee’s time with the company. Be sure this is a positive experience and give the new employee the opportunity to ask questions along the way.

The new hire will be shown their workspace. The workspace should already be equipped with all the essentials to perform the job and look as if they were expected. Inform them where to get any other supplies they might need. Support staff may be needed to set up voicemail or computer logon. A tour of the building is important- security do’s and don’ts, the bathroom, the lunch area, time record systems, exits, office equipment and mail procedures. It is

important that the HR Mentor make new employees feel comfortable and relaxed. ther employees are introduced along the way. The new employee won't be able to remember everyone's name when they are through with the tour, but this will at least have given other people the chance to know whom the new person is. Technology has helped a great deal.I’ve seen a great email system where faces where attached to the internal phone list. New employees reported that this tool was invaluable when they began working.

Human Resource administration

Time needs to be carved out for HR administration such as payroll forms, legal requirements, and profile summary and company forms. HR will also spend time reviewing the Employee Handbook, policies such as vacation/time off and answer questions or describe thoroughly all the company benefit plans.

OnGoing Communications

It is the HR Mentor’s job to follow the new hire(s) through the agenda outlined in the New Hire Program. Things happen unexpectedly and the new hire

should not be left out in the cold. In about six months out, the HR Mentor should schedule a one-hour meeting to see how things are going and how the new hire feels about things in general. This may also be a good time to perform a six month performance review.

Some pitfalls to avoid are creating a program that is overwhelming or boring, or leaves the employee to “sink or swim”. This type of program can backfire with lower productivity and lower retention rates. A successful program will allow new hires to “hit the ground running” and lower retention rates, which impact the bottom line. They should be designed to be fun and engaging. Future success of the organization and a sustainable competitive advantage are exclusively gained though well-trained talent who are dedicated to the organization. Companies, who consider the welcome program as a part of a learning and knowledge transfer process, can realize the desired level of commitment and enthusiasm that supports the organization’s continued success.

Call Pinnacle Today to streamline your New Hire Orientation process.