New employee orientation is a key element of the onboarding process, yet many organizations do not harness the power of this employee rite of passage to truly welcome their newest team members. All too often, orientation consists of nothing more than a stack of paperwork and an HR representative talking about policies, procedures, and maybe some benefits.
Snooze. We can do better.
What can organizations do to ensure that new employees’ first impressions are positive and welcoming? Here are 5 ideas:
1. Be consistent
Regardless of how often a new employee joins your organization, have a standard orientation process and agenda in place. This way, everyone receives the same experience, and important details are unlikely to be missed. For a global or otherwise remote workforce, leverage technology like Lessonly to engage employees who might not be in your office to attend orientation in person.
2. Don’t wait for day one
Once an offer is accepted, there are typically about 2 weeks before the incoming new employee is ready to start the job. During that time, most incumbents are excited and eager to learn as much as possible about the new organization and team he/she will be joining. Take advantage of the natural, high level of engagement.
- What resources can you share with the person in advance, to attack the learning curve head-on?
- Share industry and company overviews.
- Make LinkedIn introductions.
- Suggest industry thought leaders to follow on social media.
…whatever makes sense for the person, role, and company.
3. Involve key stakeholders
Orientation shouldn’t be the “HR Show” – recruit others across your organization to be involved in orientation. Consider bringing in an executive, your IT department, a sales organization leader or other experts to provide an overview of their area, how they work with other teams, or to just get acquainted with the newest members of your team.
4. Leverage supplemental resources
During orientation, new employees are soaking up all of the content being provided. Often though, there is so much content that they are overwhelmed by the end of the session. To combat information overload, make sure that user-friendly, accessible training, tools and resources are readily available. If orientation attendees know there are tools available, they will be more likely to relax and be engaged in the session itself, rather than feeling the need to write everything down.
5. Do something special and unexpected
Give new employees a reason to smile on the drive home after orientation. Incorporate something fun or special into the first day.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Have fresh flowers, candy or fun office supplies waiting on the new employee’s desk.
- Distribute branded t-shirts or other company swag.
- Take an orientation group “selfie” (à la the now-famous Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie); post it to your company’s internal site or social networks.
- Bring in a catered breakfast or lunch, or provide fun snacks during the day.
- Send new employees on a scavenger hunt to navigate the building.
- Organize an informal welcome reception at the end of the day – encourage employees to stop by and introduce themselves to the new team members.
Make your new employees excited to come back for Day Two!
There is no “one size fits all” approach to new employee orientation – every organization will put its own spin on the experience. Find what works for your organization, team, and culture and create a welcoming orientation experience that engages and educates your newest employees.
Learn how companies are using Lessonly to onboard new employees here.
Image source: Giphy