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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Employee Orientation

What Is Employee Orientation?

Employee orientation is the process of introducing newly hired employees to their new workplace. It provides the basic organizational information employees need to feel prepared for their new team, department, and role within the company. Effective employee orientation makes employees aware of company policies and expectations, handles essential paperwork, and answers any questions or concerns they may have before they transition into their new positions.

Why Orientation Is Important for New Employees

Orientation is important because it signifies the beginning of the relationship between employee and employer. The first day of work is the most important, as new hires are seeking to affirm their decision to accept your offer of employment.

A smooth transition into a new role benefits both new employees and their new managers and colleagues. By clearly communicating expectations and responsibilities to a new employee, they can start being productive quickly. As part of an effective onboarding process, a thorough and engaging orientation can also help reduce new employee turnover due to misunderstood or unmet expectations. Additionally, a clear policy for employee orientation will ensure that all new team members receive the same training and information.

How to Train New Employees in Your Organization

The key to successful new employee training is to make your new colleagues feel welcomed, appreciated, and productive from day one. To help employees feel welcomed, avoid overwhelming them with facts, figures, flowcharts, and new faces on their first day. Make sure their office and equipment such as phone, laptop, and email account are set up and ready to go, and that someone is prepared to show them how everything works. Don’t forget to be enthusiastic about their arrival! You can make the day feel special by planning a team lunch outing and by providing a welcome kit that includes a company T-shirt or other freebies.

On the more practical side, offer a map of the facility, a list of nearby restaurants, a glossary of company jargon, and an outline of the structure of your company and department that the new hire can refer to easily. Discuss how the employee’s own responsibilities fit into the bigger company structure.

Make sure the employee understands expectations, and invite them to offer ideas for improvement on current processes relevant to the job. On the first day, if appropriate, give them a simple project or two to get started on.

As part of training new employees, consider assigning a mentor to check in with the employee over the first few months. That way new employees know who to ask questions, have a built-in friend, and can be trained and mentored in their day-to-day tasks.

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What Is the Purpose of New Employee Orientation?

The purpose of new employee orientation is to welcome new employees to the organization, communicate important policy and culture information, and  introduce employees to their new place of work.

A set schedule and procedure for employee orientation will also take strain off of managers and training personnel, allowing them to remain productive in their day-to-day work while still getting a new employee started.

What Is an Employee Orientation Checklist?

An employee orientation checklist describes a formalized orientation process to make sure each new employee receives an adequate introduction to the company, meets the right people, and has the correct tools to quickly become a productive employee. If you’re looking for a comprehensive checklist about what should be included in employee orientation, check out our all-inclusive new hire onboarding checklist.

What Is an Alternative Term for Employee Orientation?

Employee orientation is often referred to as onboarding; however, they are technically different ideas. Orientation begins on the first day of work, and consists of first-day introductions and information. Onboarding, on the other hand, starts from the moment a candidate accepts their offer, and it encompasses the entire introductory process, which may extend weeks and months into an employee’s first year. In short, orientation is a part of onboarding, but they are not the same thing. Do You Get Paid for Orientation at a New Job?

Typically, employee orientation at a new job begins on day one of employment. Because of this, employees are typically paid their agreed-upon wage or salary for the time they spend training. Some companies may offer raises once an employee has completed specified certifications required to complete their job. Because there are costs associated with training new employees, it is crucial to create a streamlined process that welcomes new colleagues and empowers them to become comfortable and productive as soon as possible.

How Long Should New Employee Orientation Last?

The correct amount of time to spend on employee orientation varies from organization to organization. Different industries require different levels of training and briefing before new employees can fully participate in their responsibilities. However, the widely accepted general standard for a new employee’s orientation duration is around three hours or no longer than a full workday.

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