Excerpted from Onboarding: Creating Value in Today’s Organization by Tara Kachaturoff. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved in all media.
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. While first impressions start with the candidate’s initial interface with the organization — usually with the corporate website and then through interface with internal recruiters, the next most significant interface happens during a formal orientation program. By investing in creating a solid, comprehensive program, with some customization for each candidate, an organization can reap a number of benefits. Let’s explore some of the more important ones:
#7 Introduction to the corporate culture. Orientation content and how it is delivered is an expression of the company culture. This will be the first time new hires get the real scoop on what it’s like to work at the company. This is a wonderful opportunity for the company to express who they are, how they do things and why — their culture is really an extension of their brand. The new hire orientation is really another chapter in the story of their brand. Benefit: introducing corporate culture.
#8 Everyone wins. There’s an associated benefit that results from implementing an orientation program — other employees will be grateful! Not only is it stressful for a new employee to begin a job, it’s stressful for everyone else! And, if a lot of new employees are onboarding at the same time, then there will be even more disruption to others in the company. It’s not that others do not want to help the new person; however, it’s disruptive and costly in terms of time, money and resources. So the more knowledge transfer that takes place during orientation, the less costly it is to the overall organization and current employees.
Departments or teams should also have their own mini-orientations that include materials, videos, and interaction with team-members for a set period of time. The more systematized this is, the faster the new employee can be oriented to specific requirements of their new position. And, of course, there’s the added benefit of creating a process that can be efficiently and effectively repeated going forward for other new hires. In fact, this should be a standard requirement for every department in the company. Benefit: quickly acclimating the employee for the benefit of all.
#9 Awareness. Orientation is all about creating awareness — about all aspects of the company. This is the fastest path to acclimating the employee to every aspect of the firm. From educating him or her about the company mission, vision and values to training them on the finer points of the job requirements or even where to find the cafeteria, each and every morsel of education will serve to create connections between the organization and the employee. The more positive connecting points, the more likely the employee will stay with the organization. The more you know, the better you’ll do. The new employee orientation is a framework for their success. Benefit: general awareness/framework.
#10 Workspace ready. On of the key components of an orientation process is to handle all the basics. Their office or cube should be fully stocked with supplies. They should have a computer, usernames and passwords to all the systems, a phone, any other materials they will need. This helps the organization because the employee has everything they need to get to work — now. The less obstacles in the way, the faster the employee can become productive. These little things are foundational to productivity and to creating an environment where the employee feels like they were expected and warmly welcomed. This is all a part of creating an environment of success. Benefit: successful environments create more productive employees.
#11 Reduce anxiety and stress. There are few things in life more stressful than starting a new job — and especially if one’s career is a top priority. One of the key benefits to the organization of creating a comprehensive orientation process (not just a few hours or their first day at the job) is that it will significantly reduce the employee’s stress and anxiety. You want the employee to come back on Day 2 eager to move forward and to learn more. That’s only going to happen if the organization shows that they care and are going to be supportive during this process and beyond. An informative and memorable orientation, hands down, reduces the tension and terror associated with any new job. Benefit: happier employees are more engaged and productive.
#12 Social Network. Social connections are key and they start with the initial recruiting efforts. They become even more important at the new employee orientation. Doing whatever possible to create social connections for new employees will reap dividends and accelerate productivity. Things get done with people and through people. Introducing employees to key employees their first week will make all the difference in them getting things done faster, easier and with less effort.
This means connecting them with a coach, mentor or buddy. It means connecting them with key people in human resources, facilities and other departments which will help them navigate their day-to-day needs. And, most importantly, it includes connecting them with their manager, team and others with whom they will need to interface. Strong and positive social connections make all the difference when it comes to employee happiness and engagement. Benefit: building a social network and promoting employee engagement.