The amount of care you take when you process each new hire into your company will be reflected in their attitudes, performance, and longevity.
Do it right – and everything is better for your company, for you – and for them.
Get it wrong and you are very likely to get less productivity from your new hire – and they are much more likely to quit and leave within the first few weeks to the first few months.
Most companies get it WRONG.
In fact, many are damn near TERRIBLE at processing in new people.
That is because they lack any specific systematic systems and procedures for taking care of Orientation and Onboarding. Even though the same company will spend thousands of dollars per new hire for marketing to attract them and get them to apply in the first place – they spend very little money and even less effort on the remainder of the hiring process.
That is foolish.
How to Do BETTER
Sit down with a legal pad and think.
Figure out the specific steps that need to be accomplished to complete the hiring process – start to finish. You will need input from other people within your organization, most likely.
That is especially true for any other departments who need to have contact with them during the process.
Your orientation needs to be systematized and scheduled.
That means a rep from each department or division needs to be scheduled to come to a classroom and conduct a short to the point presentation on the areas they cover. This is where they will get any forms they are responsible for completed as part of a packet that needs to be prepared and ready in advance.
Each such meeting needs to be allowed the amount of time needed – and no more. Reps need to be held accountable to those time frames.
This is IMPORTANT!
When people show up late, or unprepared it conveys the message to the new hire that your company is disorganized – and even worse – that it does not value them enough to even be on time for their own presentations. Yet presumably you want them to be on time and to do a good job once hired. Do you see how that makes no sense to fail to do that yourself as an organization?
Be on time. Be on point. Be systematic in all things.
There needs to be a logical flow to your process and people need to come in and do their presentations in the order that makes the most sense. In each case, they need to be ready with their presentations, and use a WRITTEN instructor’s guide of some sort – and use checklists and receipts for key points.
There also needs to be regularly scheduled breaks and they need to be kept on time – and of course, they need to know exactly where resources are for them. From the bathrooms to the coffee maker and break rooms, do not assume they will just find them on their own – be certain they know where to go.
Even Before Orientation…
Once a hiring decision has been made and they are about to be scheduled for orientation – someone needs to congratulate them on being selected and explain the next steps clearly. Preferably with a phone call or Zoom meeting and then also with a follow-up email and or snail mail letter in writing.
The date, time, location, directions, what to bring, what type of attire – where to park, etc. Cover it all. Let them know that either you or someone will be there and waiting to greet them when they arrive – and if they get there early where they can wait for you at.
Remind them of documents (social security card, specific license/credentials, blank check/routing numbers and bank info for direct deposit, beneficiaries correct names and addresses, etc for benefits).
Let them know if lunch will be provided (and it should be!).
Explain how long orientation will take – usually one to three days depending on the company and situation. Whatever it is make sure they know clearly what to expect. For example, orientation will be Tuesday beginning at 0800 and ending approximately at 5 PM. Then be sure to keep those time frames – and do not keep them there until 6 or later.
Have EVERYTHING READY!
That means all forms and requirements need to be in packets and folders and a sheet with each person’s name on it, and a cardboard name tag for their desk/table during orientation so they are readily identifiable to all presenters.
Make sure each person who is to be involved knows the schedule – who is coming – and that they are all ready as well. You can do this by routing an Orientation Sheet to them the day prior. They need to have everything they need ready and waiting.
This includes any gear and supplies they are to be issued – and a workspace if applicable – that needs to be ready.
Where you conduct orientation needs to be a classroom or meeting room of some sort that is CLEAN and READY and that is not to be used by other people at the same time. In other words, do NOT use a break room or employee lounge for orientation.
If you do not have a classroom or a conference room of some type – get one.
First Thing – Welcome Them Aboard!
Formally start your orientation by giving them all a warm welcome and simply telling them that you and the entire company are happy that they will be joining you and your team!
Then remind them of the day’s itinerary – point out the copy on the table in front of them. Explain that you and all other personnel will try very hard to keep that on schedule.
Make sure they are told where facilities are, and when the first break will be. Then get started – first fill out any forms that need to be completed. Do this by covering it and having them all complete it at the same time then placing it face down in front of them. Then the next form from their packet until it is completed.
Remind them other presenters will be coming in – in accordance with the schedule in front of them – and each will repeat a similar process for any additional forms needed by their respective departments.
Briefly cover your company, its values, mission, goals, and key policies and procedures. After that have your first break of ten or fifteen minutes and remind them to be back on time as the next presenter will be there to start then.
Continue the process until lunch.
Just before lunch, have someone come in and take their lunch order – usually, a choice of subs, pizza or salad – and then have it ordered and delivered- or have a staff member go pick it up. Make sure they know in advance this is being provided for them free of charge by the company. It costs very little but makes a big impact and it is just a nice thing to do.
After lunch, continue with any other presentation – or training that is needed.
Somewhere along with your day’s events – schedule in a short tour of your facility – and make sure all personnel know to expect it – and to behave professionally toward the new hires.
At the end of the day do a recap of events, key information, gear issued – and make certain they know specifically what to do next and when!
Have them complete an Orientation Questionnaire before they leave and give it to you – it should have been given to them first thing in the morning when they arrived, along with an explanation you will be collecting them at the end of the day. That way they can make notes and document their thoughts all throughout the day as the day progresses.
If you do this RIGHT it will help you make your own orientation BETTER! Keep in mind I personally have conducted thousands of orientations over decades – and have done this from the start. It helped me refine and improve my own orientations considerably over the years and many of the things I now teach came directly from improvements gained from those questionnaires over the years.
Then dismiss them for the day.
What Happens Next
Your company, and their position within it, determine what they will do next. If it is an office or worker position they will report the following day to their work reporting location and to their specific supervisor (whom they should have met during your orientation!).
Once they do that – there should also be a systematic approach to that meeting and to getting them started at work. Keep in min the first day or two is going to be critical to them and to your company, and it takes everyone time to adjust.
There should be weekly meetings of some type to review their progress and for feedback as well as resolution of any question they have on anything. This should continue for the first thirty to ninety days or so – corresponding with their new hire probationary period.
Do not discount the extreme importance of your orientation and onboarding procedures.
Done right it will dramatically affect your retention and your overall efficiency of operations. It will also lead to a much more pleasant work environment for all personnel.
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