How Successful is Your Employee Orientation Program?

Posted by Cathy Reilly

bigstock-Choice-and-decisions-business-59047445You’ve just hired a new account manager who’ll be starting in two weeks, and her employee orientation is fast approaching. When she gets here, she’ll no doubt be greeted at the front desk and shown to her office, but then what?

Will she be ushered into a windowless room to emerge eight hours later having gone through every policy, procedure and guideline in the employee manual? Will she be schooled on the company’s history and mission? Will she be forced to sign a never-ending pile of forms and sit through awkward “informational” videos made in the 80s?

While a good employee orientation program incorporates these things in small doses, the best programs have different goals. The best employee orientation programs combine information about organizational culture and values with relevant job-related training to get new hires excited about the company they chose to work for.

How do you know if yours is achieving these goals? Sit down, look at your employee orientation program and ask yourself these four questions:

1. Is our program interactive?

Think about those lecture classes in college where you sat and listened to the professor drone on about world history or basic biology. Boring, right? Didn’t classes where you got to interact with the professor and your classmates feel more engaging?

Apply that logic to your employee orientation program and you’re one step closer to an effective program. At the beginning of Day One, new employees are excited to learn more about their new responsibilities. If your employee orientation program doesn’t keep them engaged, you risk losing their interest for good [click to tweet]. 

Find ways to have the new hire interact with the material and the different people in the office to ensure you keep them engaged and excited about working for your organization.

2. How many different people are involved in our employee orientation program?

It may seem like a waste of resources at first, but getting multiple people at different levels of the organization involved in your employee orientation program will help you keep your new hires engaged and happy, which makes them more likely to stay for the long haul.

When it comes to who should be involved, a recent BambooHR survey of 1,000 employees who recently quit their jobs revealed that 33 percent of new employees want their managers showing them the ropes, followed closely by the HR team (28 percent), other members of their department (27 percent), trainers (23 percent ) and their colleagues (22 percent).

In other words, new hires want to meet and learn from more than just the HR team during employee orientation. Look at your orientation program and find ways to, at the very least, get the new employee’s manager involved in the program if you want to keep your new hires engaged.

3. What’s the focus of our program?

Is your program, like many others, focused on the organization? It shouldn’t be. Yes, it’s important the employee learns more about the organization’s mission and values, but it’s even more important that they come out of Day One with a purpose and a pathway toward 100 percent productivity.

Instead of focusing on organizational information, focus on preparing new employees to hit the ground running on day two and beyond [click to tweet]. After all, 76 percent of respondents in the BambooHR survey agreed on-the-job training was the number one thing new employees need as a part of their employee orientation program to start making an impact quickly.

Are you focusing enough on your new employees?

4. Is our employee orientation program manageable, or is it an information dump?

The key to a good employee orientation program is delivering information and training in a effective, timely manner, which means not overwhelming your new hires from the start. Dumping every piece of information you have on new hires during employee orientation shows them you’re not organized and you don’t value their time.

Instead of burying new hires under a mountain of paperwork and information, break your employee orientation into short, manageable sessions that the new hire can digest and remember. If possible, schedule times over the course of the new employee’s first week to deliver timely, relevant information when they need it most.

Remember, just as you are evaluating and creating an impression of your new hires on Day One, they are doing the same. Use these four questions to make sure your new employee orientation program makes them feel excited, at home, and confident they chose the right place to work.

What other questions could you ask to determine if your employee orientation program is effective? How often do you re-evaluate your program? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: Orientation

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