Planning Your New Employee Orientation Program
A Successful New Employee Orientation Program:
- takes time to develop
- uses a systematic approach to collect information
- has the support of senior management
- it is a unique program, but easily customizable
The key points to remember about a well-planned program are:
Successful orientation programs take time to develop. This is not a quick or overnight solution to your employee engagement and retention challenges. In some cases, it can take months to gather the necessary information and prepare an effective program. Be prepared to dedicate the time and resources necessary if you are committed to creating a worthwhile program.
You should use a systematic approach to gathering information to ensure that everyone affected by the new program has the opportunity to contribute and that the true needs of the new hire are discovered and addressed.
Many of the same techniques your organization currently uses to research your customers will be easily exploited to determine the likes, dislikes, needs, and wants of your employees.
Don’t skimp on this process. If the program you finally launch does not obviously respond to the needs of the new hire, it will be shelved and departments will go back to using their own processes. Can you imagine the money it will have cost your company if you have spent even six months developing the New Employee Orientation Program “company-wide”?
Like any other company-wide initiative, the New Employee Orientation program must have the support of senior management, supervisors and the HR team. Getting this support is crucial for the development team to continue with the surveys, etc. and you are assigned a project budget, but an equally important reason for obtaining executive support is to gain “buy-in” from the entire company. Without fully understanding by everyone in the organization that this initiative is supported by top management and is truly a company-wide initiative, individual departments or workgroups will continue to use their own “ad hoc” methods to onboard new staff.
Also note that it is one thing to have management support on paper, perhaps buried in the middle of a few minutes for a meeting somewhere, but it is quite another to have this support communicated clearly and unequivocally throughout the organization. . Make sure your New Employee Orientation Program initiative is well known by promoting the idea on your intranet and in your company newsletters. Include letters from executives supporting the project and describing its benefits. Maybe consider an official launch party and invite everyone.
The objectives of the program should also be clearly communicated to everyone in the organization and be in line with the objectives of the organization. The goals of any project that your organization is willing to pay for should align with the needs of the organization. There must be a clear business reason for investing time and money in developing an effective New Employee Orientation Program. If one of the company’s needs is to reduce employee turnover by 20% in the next three months, for example, then one of the goals of the New Employee Orientation Program should be to reduce employee turnover by 20% within that time.
The heart of the program should be a single multipurpose program that has been designed for the level of employee most frequently hired. However, your new hire training program must also be flexible enough to meet the changing needs of your organization. You don’t need a completely new program for every level of employee you join. By developing your program for the most common cases using easily customizable components, reinvention of the wheel is minimized and therefore the initial cost of hiring a new employee is reduced.
Here’s a sample checklist for those who are developing a New Employee Orientation. For maximum results, take a clear project management approach that includes work breakdown structures, milestones, and Gantt charts. Times listed are for guidelines only and will likely vary in different organizations and depending on whether the program is delivered in a group meeting, online, individually, or a combination. The point here is to start developing the plan long before your new hire’s first day.
Also note that the tasks listed in the first eight months are for program development. Once you have the schedule in place, only items from the last two weeks need to be repeated for each employee.
SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS before launching the program
- Decide the best time to deliver each piece of show content based on interviews with newly hired employees. Also consider mandatory time requirements set by industry or union regulations.
- Determine the goal (s) of the program. Remember to align these goals with your organization’s business goals, mission, and vision. This awareness will help “sell” the orientation program to executives / managers in the organization who will pay for it. Be sure to answer the question, “What are the current / future business needs that the orientation will meet?”
- Determine the specific learning objectives to be met by the orientation program. What does the new hire need to know, do, and believe when they have finished the program? Align these learning objectives with the goals of the program.
- Identify supervisors, subject matter experts, managers, course developers, trainers, web masters, HR professionals, and employees who could contribute and request your support.
- Interview employees with one or two years of experience. What was your experience as a new employee? Remember to take advantage of your organization’s current customer research methods.
- Perform a Target Audience Analysis (TAA). A TAA provides you with enough relevant information to design an effective targeting program and identify the most common audience characteristics and highlight how many custom modules (if any) you will need to create.
- Review exit interviews of employees who left within a year of being hired and identify what could have been done differently during orientation to improve retention. Determining why the left will give you a very good idea of what should be included in the New Orientation Program. For example, if they indicated that they did not feel they were qualified enough to perform as required, be sure to incorporate a comprehensive on-the-job training component into your New Employee Orientation Program. This is a basic example, but I think you get the idea.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS prior to the launch of the program
- Coordinate logistics. Talk to the right people to organize tours of their departments. Reserve classrooms, technical equipment and other training aids.
- Create a detailed plan for the new hire’s first day.
- Create activities for both counseling sessions and “at the desk” time. Include the goal / purpose and time for each.
- Decide how the content will be delivered (large group, small group, self-directed, etc.) taking into account when the information should be delivered. Not all information needs to be delivered in the same way. Using a variety of media provides the new hire with a broader and more comprehensive learning experience.
- Decide what will be done for the new hire’s family. This step is not necessary for all types of work, but for some, such as jobs that require long absences from home, it is necessary to include the family in the orientation process.
- Determine how to represent the “corporate culture” of the organization.
- Develop written material like the employee handbook or workbook. Prepare audiovisual, visual scripts, etc.
- Identify the best presenters for the in-person parts of the content.
- Prepare presenter materials.
- Review the learning objectives and presentation methods with the presenters.
THREE TO FOUR MONTHS before the launch of the program
- Decide how you will evaluate the new orientation process to ensure that the program has met its stated objectives.
ONE TO TWO MONTHS prior to program launch
- Run a Beta-Teach of the new program with newly hired employees who did not receive an orientation.
- Make the necessary adjustments.
- Recognize the advisory board / task force members for their efforts.
- Train new hire orientation facilitators and supervisors.
TWO WEEKS before the arrival of the new employee
- Arrange for computer / software and phone installation.
- Gather relevant organizational materials
- Coordinate a meaningful first work assignment.
- Identify and potential “friends” contacts.
- Identify and contact potential mentors.
- Request business cards.
- Apply for company credit cards or set up an expense account.
- Apply for identification plate / security pass.
- Order supplies.
- Prepare work standards (consult with the human resources team and / or union representative).
- Prepare the work area / desk; remove the signs of the previous employee.
- Schedule orientation sessions for new hires.
- Send an internal note to coworkers announcing the new hire’s name, position, arrival date, and duties.
- Send a welcome letter confirming the time, date and place of the report.
- Send a welcome letter.
- Set up an email / voicemail accounts.
- Configure the network identification.
As you can see, developing a comprehensive new employee orientation program really isn’t a quick or overnight solution to your employee engagement and retention challenges, but following these checklists and a clear employee management methodology. projects will make the process much more manageable. And it is really worth the effort. A well-designed and delivered program increases employee engagement and retention. And increasing employee engagement and retention allows you to keep and earn more money.