How To Plan An Effective Orientation For New Employees

Effective employee orientation is a critical driver of onboarding success. Nearly 50% of employees who received effective onboarding reported contributing to their team within the first week. Many companies make the mistake of focusing too much on the organization and too little on the employee during the orientation process.  Piles of paperwork and employee handbooks can be boring and overwhelming for employees who are confronted with too much information right off the bat. Such an approach also perpetuates the existing corporate culture without taking into consideration the fresh ideas that new hires can bring to the company.

Here are four ways to shake up your orientation process to not only make employees feel welcome but also equip them with necessary tools and information to start contributing quickly:   

Set targeted employee goals

According to the State of Employee Engagement report, almost 60% of companies fail to set goals for new hires.  Setting specific goals and objectives for employees as part of the orientation process helps them better align with organizational expectations. One recruitment agency’s suggestion was to outline employee goals over the initial three, six, nine, and twelve month period can bring much needed clarity to new hires looking for direction. Several big organizations, such as, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to set goals to ensure better alignment during orientation.

Define a clear orientation process

The success of an orientation program depends on two important aspects: its structure or content as well as the soft skills of the presenters who lead the orientation process. A structured orientation process lays the foundation for effective onboarding by helping employees feel more committed to the organization (18 times), more connected to their co-workers (91%), and more integrated into their company culture (89%). On the other hand, high profile presenters with good public speaking skills and understanding of the various divisions of the organization can act as role models, enthusing new hires with their passion and involvement.

Use technology to create engagement

Using the latest tools, content, and technology is key to making the orientation program more effective and engaging. New age media such as videos, game-based quizzes, and social media contests can help draw team member’s attention and build excitement around their new jobs. Many companies today choose to make their orientation and employee training accessible on an online platform to expedite the process, allowing new employees to review the materials whenever they want.  LinkedIn offers a weekly online guide that is designed to accelerate the learning journey of new hires and help them become more productive from day one.

Collect feedback

Follow up should be an integral part of the orientation process – what works today may not work in the future given the dynamic nature of today’s workplaces. Soliciting feedback on the orientation process is therefore vital to course correction and making the process more engaging and relevant. Sending out surveys 2-4 weeks after the completion of the process can help organizations meet new employee needs more effectively. Some companies even encourage verbal feedback to expedite the process and address employee concerns or questions right away. Others like Zumper explain the company culture to new hires over lunch to make the process more informal and fun.

While designing an effective orientation process takes time, energy, and commitment, the pay-off can be significant for all stakeholders - the employee, the department as well as the organization. It promotes strong internal bonds and enhances accessibility to resources for new hires, helping them become productive. Google sends a just-in-time email alert - comprising a checklist of just five items - to the manager under whom the employee is supposed to join the next day. This has netted the company an astonishing 25% increase in productivity.  The lesson here: even simple orientation processes can be effective, provided they are well thought out in the context of the organization.

Sources:
https://www.bamboohr.com/blog/effective-onboarding-infographic/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/falonfatemi/2016/08/31/want-to-set-goals-like-google-use-okrs/#1091669c2b8e
https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2015/03/7-elements-of-a-good-new-hire-orientation
https://www.saplinghr.com/blog/top-7-employee-onboarding-programs
https://www.inc.com/michael-schneider/google-increased-new-employee-productivity-by-25-percent-with-1-email-heres-what-you-need-to-know.html

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