Accidental HR℠ and Orientation
“Your employees are getting an orientation, whether you have a formal program or not. Unfortunately, it often isn’t the one you want them to get.” (From Rich Galbreath’s 2002 White Paper “Profiting Through Employee Orientation.”) And you know what he means by this… your current employees will talk to your new employees and you just never know what they are going to say!
There is no reason orientation can’t start before the employee even gets to the property. With their offer letter, you should include pertinent information for your new hire: where to park, what to wear, where should they take their lunch and even if you have refrigerators or microwaves in the break room. Do you provide beverages or should they bring their own? Can they bring headphones and music or is that frowned upon? Is it typically hot or cold in the office? All of this information will make the new employee more comfortable, and knowing ahead of time will ease some of those “first day jitters.”
Orientation should last longer than an hour! The two of you seated around a conference table while they furiously sign their name to 30 sheets of HR paperwork is not orientation. After that necessary business is out of the way, then you can begin to orient your newbie (called “nooglers” at Google!) Take them around to the different departments, introduce them to key people, provide them with meaningful work and then check back with them by the end of the first week. Make sure that all of their questions or concerns are answered quickly so they’re not unsure of the job or requirements right from the beginning.
Generally, it takes a new employee 9 – 12 months to become completely comfortable in their job; 12 – 18 months for managers. So, don’t you think orientation should last a bit past the first hour in the workplace?
By the way, the ol’ chuckle with a slap on the back and the phrase “so you decided to come back today? He, he, he.” is never funny. It gives a sense of a negative culture if you joke like that. You may just be joking, but the new employee may begin to worry.
Bottom line? Remember that your employee is NEW. Make them feel comfortable in their surroundings. If you need help properly implementing an orientation program for your new hires, give us a call today!
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