Ensuring New Employee Success with Effective Orientations

As the economy continues to pick up, more and more companies will be hiring.  While this is exciting news, some companies will be ill-prepared for the onboarding process.  The result? An unhappy or unmotivated new employee who becomes disengaged quickly. 

Being in the staffing industry for twenty years, we have received feedback from many candidates that we have placed.  Most of the initial feedback  is good; however, occasionally, the comments are less positive.  Whether it is an accountant, customer service rep, welder,  or sales candidate, the comments can apply to any organization.

When things do not go well for the new employee, it can have distressing results for both parties.  Companies invest a great deal of money in interviewing, screening, and selecting a candidate.  However, they often fail miserably with the orientation process.  Here are some suggestions that people have offered for the next new employee coming onboard:


Prepare BEFORE the Employee’s First Day – This entails having the work station set up and computer and cell phone ordered. It means having the email account and password created or tools placed by the work bench..  Perhaps it may be calling the supplier for new uniforms or ordering cubicles if available office space is minimal.  Many employees are excited to start learning the job but comment on having to sit idle for 1-3 days because nothing was set up prior to them arriving.  This poor first impression leaves the feeling that the company is unorganized all the way around. 


Have a Plan the First Day –   Have someone introduce the new employee to staff and offer a tour (explain the key aspects such as timecard process, bathroom location, lunch or break room area, best place to park, etc.)  Go over new hire paperwork, employee manual, and general procedures all at once.  It was also suggested to give trainers/supervisors advance notice so they have time to dedicate to training.  Often employees feel the manager or co-worked is overworked and frustrated in having to “deal” with the new person. 


First Week – If time permits, take the employee to lunch or offer to walk with them to the break area.  Assign a mentor or buddy system so the new employee has a go-to person regarding general policies, safety issues, or company expectations.  Explain the training agenda and have open conversation regarding feedback so the employee feels more comfortable asking questions.   If possible, split training with several people that week to break up monotony and help supervisors avoid frustration, if it is hard to commit to 40 hours of training. 


First through Third Month – Please do not forget about the new employee after the first week!  This time period involves a lot of learning and employees are often nervous. They want to excel but since managers are often pulled into many directions, they may feel forgotten at times.  Remember to check in, go over expectations and offer constructive feedback.  Candidates typically welcome feedback because it helps them understand what they are doing well and what they need to improve on.  Some candidates suggested using a checklist so both parties could break down the learning into specific tasks.  This helps to have a plan of action for moving forward.

Well planned orientations are key for both parties and the payoff is well worth it!  It is no longer just companies evaluating employees during the first 90 days, it is now the other way around.  If a new employee does not feel welcomed or properly trained, they will question their desire to remain long-term.   Organize an effective onboarding and orientation plan now and retain your key employees for many years to come!


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