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New Hire Orientation 101


It's a big decision to start a new job. For many it’s the fear of the unknown—what will the organization culture truly be like? Will I fit in? Will it be an easy transition?

New hire orientation is a critical step in the recruiting and onboarding experience—a step that could make the difference in a new hire’s level of engagement going forward. A well-organized orientation can set the tone for a new employee’s entire experience with your organization. On the other hand, a disorganized or chaotic new hire orientation will leave your new employee filled with doubt and fear about their new position and their role within the organization. 

Here are some things that your organization should consider when creating your own new hire orientation: 

1. Make it official and be consistent. If your organization does not have a written orientation procedure—or it's in desperate need of revamping—meet with hiring managers and executive leaders to identify what attributes of orientation are important to them. Use their feedback to create a written, formalized procedure.

Identify who should own this process in your organization, keeping in mind that it may take many different individuals to get the job done. Train these employees on how to execute their piece of the process. I’ve found that a checklist helps keep track of all the moving parts.

Going forward, use your procedure, checklist and any other tools you create to be consistent with your organization’s execution of orientation. 

2. Show enthusiasm. Your goal is for employees to feel welcome and valued, especially from the very beginning. An employee's enthusiasm for their job mirrors the enthusiasm shown by the people in your organization—so choose these individuals wisely.

Also consider involving other departments when welcoming new employees. Try scheduling a welcome luncheon with executive leadership or ask a team member to give a tour to your new employee, making introductions along the way.

3. Anticipate their needs. Remember that new employees know practically nothing about your organization. Items that are second nature to you now—like where to park, how to clock in and out, and where to get a cup of coffee—are all foreign to new employees. Make sure you have an onboarding practice that provides employees with detailed and thorough information on day one.

At Cobbs Allen, we have created a new hire guide that is given to employees on their first day. It includes important information like the addresses and phone numbers of our offices, instructions for setting up their voicemail, Wi-Fi passwords, a map of the office and a phone directory. Though they may seem like no-brainers, these simple facts go a long way in making employees feel welcomed and part of the organization.

4. Encourage feedback. Employees are never as objective as they are during their first 90 days. This new employee has wowed you through the interview process with their skill set, experience and work ethic. Surely you didn’t hire them to conform to your organization like a robot, right? Their experience outside of your organization might lead to the innovation your department is currently lacking.

Foster an environment that allows and encourages employees to give feedback on the work flows and processes of their position. You can catch this information by asking pointed questions, scheduling one-on-one time with them or conducting a new hire survey.

No matter what your process consists of, remember to be welcoming, reassuring and organized when onboarding new employees. It takes work to formalize your new hire orientation, but you could benefit from higher morale, employee engagement and retention as a result!



Cory French serves as HR Assistant at Cobbs Allen. She focuses on associate services including benefits and onboarding of new associates. Cory has more than eight years' experience in the HR field.