4 Employee Orientation Mistakes That Destroy New Hire Bliss

Posted by Cathy Reilly

bigstock-Stacked-Files-69453109Employee orientation sets the tone for a new employee’s professional experience at your organization. When done correctly, it can create loyal, engaged employees. When done incorrectly, it can lead to higher employee turnover, lower productivity and dangerously low engagement levels that cost your organization money.

Here are four mistakes to avoid during the employee orientation process, to ensure your organization is giving new hires an experience that makes them want to dive right into work:    

1. The paperwork mountain

Paperwork. Most people hate it, and no one wants to spend their first day under a mountain of it. Yet, many organizations still consider their employee orientation the right time to gather signatures, tax information and other HR-related forms...they could not be more wrong.

When you bury new hires in paperwork during the employee orientation process, you are keeping them from meeting co-workers, experiencing the company culture and getting excited about their new organization.

Instead, have employees tackle the paperwork at home before they ever step foot in the office for their first day. With orientation and HR management technology, employers can securely send, track, and receive any HR-related documents that need to be filled out over the Internet, freeing up a new hire’s employee orientation time for more valuable exercises.

HR steers Day One 1st impressions. Here are 4 employee orientation mistakes that destroy new hire bliss. [Click to tweet]

2. Focusing on the organization, not the new hire

What does an orientation program usually entail? An overview of policies, procedures, company history, and a keepsake that the new hire will probably never use. Notice how organization-focused this approach is? Basically, most organizations show new hires why their new company is great and ask them to find a way to fit in.

This organization-focused approach works on some levels, but research shows it may not be the best way to engage new hires over the long term, according to research published in March 2013 in Administrative Science Quarterly. Results of the research suggest that an employee orientation process that focuses on the new hire’s personal identity leads to increased employee retention and customer satisfaction.

In other words, employee orientation programs that include and encourage new hires to channel their professional experiences, creativity, and personal identity into making the company better create more productive and engaged employees, than programs that suggest new employees become just another cog in the machine.

3. Focusing on processes rather than culture

Of course new hires need to learn the different processes that they’ll be required to use at their new organization, but they don’t have to learn them all in one day. Nothing is more boring (except maybe paperwork) for a new hire than listening to someone drone on about how to send inter-office mail, which forms to use for what, or what each page of the employee handbook says.

New hires want to feel comfortable and build their confidence that they chose the right company. Instead of walking through all the different processes the new hire will have to navigate, cover the essentials and move on. Provide a solid foundation for them in the beginning and then help them build upon it. Use the time you save to introduce new hires to co-workers, run interactive simulations, and help them get comfortable with the people in the office.

Remember, no one wants to feel like an outsider during their first few days at work. Cover the processes you need to cover, then give new hires a handbook that covers the rest, and start integrating them into the team, not just the organization.

4. “Winging It”

One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make in the employee orientation process is not being prepared. Sure, you can get the handbook from HR the morning of, go through it and throw your new hires in the deep-end, but neither the new hire or the organization benefit from that strategy.

How would you feel if you showed up for your first day and your new company didn’t seem organized or welcoming? Having an established, well-thought-out employee orientation program makes your organization look good and shows that you care about your new hires.

Don’t just wing it. Involve different team members in the employee orientation process and make sure everyone is on the same page when reflecting your company’s values and engaging new hires, from day one.

Remember, employee orientation is the first real experience new hires have at your organization. Avoid these four mistakes at all costs, to ensure that the experience is a positive one, not something that will make your new hires doubt their decision.

What other employee orientation mistakes have you seen? How do you avoid these mistakes in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Topics: Orientation

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