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New hire job orientation: 5 ways to set employees up for success

November 22, 2022 - 17 min read
 
 

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What is job orientation?

The benefits of job orientation

What to include in a job orientation

Considerations for remote job orientation

How to prepare for new employee orientation

5 tips for seamless new employee orientation

New hire orientation FAQs

New hires are often intimidated by their first day, but job orientation can make them feel welcome, increase productivity, and even improve employee retention long-term.

 

That’s because when it comes to a new job, first impressions matter. New hire orientation has the potential to leave employees feeling empowered, informed, and excited about their work. Plus, a positive start can lead to higher rates of employee satisfaction.

Creating a job orientation program that gives employees the confidence they need to succeed is crucial for any sized organization. Let’s dive into what new employee orientation is, what to include, and how managers and HR should prepare. We’ll also share our five best tips for a seamless job orientation program.

What is job orientation?

Job orientation is the process of welcoming new employees to the organization. It usually occurs on their first day of work (but can last up to a month at some companies) and includes completing new hire paperwork, reviewing company policies, and meeting co-workers. What’s important to remember is that when creating a job orientation, there is no one-size-fits-all. It’s about personalization and customization for each organization.

What happens during job orientation?

During the job orientation process, newly hired employees learn about the company’s mission and values. They also review benefits with the human resources team, complete paperwork, and attend role-specific employee training sessions. 

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The benefits of job orientation

Job orientation is a critical part of the employee onboarding process. If your organization wants to reduce turnover, ensure productivity, and improve collaboration, it starts with efficiently orienting your new team members.

Job orientation benefits for employers

It might be easy to see why a job orientation benefits a new employee. But what about your organization as a whole? 

Most importantly, studies have shown that a practical new hire orientation experience can boost employee satisfaction. When workers know exactly what’s expected of them and are given the resources they need to succeed, they’ll feel more prepared to do their jobs — and when employees feel empowered, they’re happier

Here are a few more reasons why job orientation is excellent for employers:

  • Starts the employee lifecycle off on the right foot

  • Allows you to set clear expectations for new employees

  • Reduces turnover by increasing satisfaction and job preparedness

  • Ensures that all employees have the same resources and information

How job orientation benefits employees 

No matter who you are, joining a new team can cause stress or anxiety — not to mention many questions. The cure to that stress is a practical employee orientation. 

Here’s why job orientation is great for employees:

woman-leading-a-meeting-with-employees

What to include in a job orientation

As employees walk into their new work environment, you want to make sure orientation covers everything they need to know. The list below will make sure you don’t miss any crucial information as you build the most effective job orientation possible.

Organizational overview

Even if your interview process is thorough, new employees are bound to have some questions about the organization, its values, and company culture. Share this information upfront and you’ll be able to anticipate some of the most common new hire questions.

Policies and procedures

This part of the job orientation process might not be fun, but it’s essential. Company policies and procedures (P&P) cover all the guidelines that employees must follow while on the job. That includes safety regulations, dress code requirements, equity policies, and details about how P&P violations are handled.

Benefits and payment details

Employees should get all the information they need about benefits and payments from day one. This tends to be one of the more confusing parts of starting a new job. If it’s not handled properly, questions about wellness perks, insurance coverage, and payroll could distract employees for days on end.

Roles and responsibilities

If managers don’t have roles and responsibilities outlined before a new hire begins, it’s a recipe for confusion. Employee orientation should clarify what’s in their job description, and what’s not. This will help new team members stay focused on the work that matters.

Facilities tour

If your new employees are on-site or participate in hybrid work, this is a crucial element of job orientation. Most importantly, a facilities tour shows the new hire where their desk is or where there is a space for them to work. On a practical level, the tour should also include showing them not only where the office break room and bathrooms are but also coffee, snacks, and office supplies. 

Introduction to their new team

Finally, job orientation should include team introductions. This includes the people your new hires will be working with daily. You may also want to facilitate introductions to future collaborators — for example, a new marketing manager may want to ask a sales leader for insight on campaigns. 

It’s also a good idea to encourage existing team members to set up time with new hires to welcome them and explain how they will (or may at a later date) work together.

employee-attending-job-orientation-virtually

Considerations for remote job orientation

These days, many employees complete job orientations virtually. Though it comes with challenges, this type of orientation can be just as engaging and impactful as it would be in person. Here are a few tips for ensuring virtual teams get the same value as on-site employees:

  • Instead of a facilities tour, introduce these employees to tools like Slack and Zoom and provide links to remote training resources

  • Make sure virtual hires are aware of relevant perks (for example, a stipend to purchase home office items) 

  • Help integrate new employees by sharing information about virtual social events, company-wide meetings, etc. 

  • Host a virtual “get-to-know-you” meeting that gives the employee’s new team a casual opportunity to say hi 

  • Introduce new employees to the company or department with a celebratory email

  • Help the new hire schedule virtual coffee chats with relevant stakeholders

How to prepare for new employee orientation

Every great job orientation starts before the new hire walks in the door. When you’re prepared ahead of time, employees will feel welcome, comfortable, and confident from the start. 

Here are a few tips to help human resources, people operations, and managers prepare for orientation.

Share the plan in advance

To guarantee a smooth transition, share orientation plans with new employees in advance — at least a week if possible. This can be a simple email with a schedule for their first day. Or, if you’re ambitious, you can create a digital welcome packet with FAQs. No matter how you do it, employees will be grateful when you give them an idea of what to expect.

Prepare equipment and resources

Whether it’s cleaning off their new desk or shipping them a laptop, don’t forget about this crucial step. Make sure you have everything prepared for employees to complete their first week on the job successfully, from an extra computer mouse to the employee handbook.

Make sure your team is ready to say “welcome” 

Communicate with current employees ahead of the new hire’s first day. If they’re prepared to help welcome a new team member, it will make the entire transition easier. You can also coordinate schedules to ensure everyone’s available for a welcome lunch or coffee break.

employees-meeting-coworkers-during-job-orientation

5 tips for seamless new employee orientation

Now that you know what to include and how to prepare, these 5 tips will help you create the best employee orientation experience possible.

Focus on the new hire’s needs

Some job orientation programs spend too much time sharing information about the organization. However, studies show that focusing on a new hire’s identity is much more effective for employee retention


Instead of training new workers to be a cultural fit, try providing opportunities for them to be a “culture add.” During job orientation, engage in conversations around purpose and personal values. Ask new hires how they hope to contribute. Instead of projecting behavioral expectations, these conversations can help create a sense of belonging.

Make them feel welcome from the start

New employees are likely to feel overwhelmed on their first day. Small efforts to make them feel comfortable will go a long way. For example, you can leave a company-branded t-shirt on their desk or greet them with fresh coffee and breakfast pastries. In this case, it is the thought that counts.

Create a schedule

You can save yourself time by creating a schedule for job orientation. When you share it with everyone involved, you’ll anticipate and prevent a lot of questions. That will allow you to focus your energy on what counts: helping the new hire transition smoothly.

Use a digital orientation checklist

Similar to a schedule, a digital new hire checklist will make sure everyone (and everything) is on the same page. You can create it using an employee engagement tool like Asana or a simple spreadsheet. Either way, the checklist will help you keep track of the new hire’s progress and help them stay organized.

Do some team-building 

Team-building might get a cheesy rap, but it works. During orientation, it’s a powerful tool for fostering future collaboration and reducing the awkwardness that comes with so many introductions. Whether a virtual team-building activity or a team goal-setting exercise, this is one of the best ways to integrate a new employee. 

Ask for feedback


Finally, the best job orientations change over time. Take the opportunity to ask new hires their thoughts about the program. You can use an email survey or ask for some informal feedback after they’ve experienced a few weeks on the job. Once you hear their thoughts, the most important part is to implement the feedback.

New hire orientation FAQs

We know you might still have some questions about job orientation. The good news? We’re here to clarify a few things for you, so you can bring on new hires efficiently.

How long is employee orientation?

Employee orientation can last a couple of hours, an entire workweek, or even an entire month. It depends on the size of your company and the level of detail you feel your need to go into when onboarding. As mentioned above, there is no one-size-fits-all job orientation.

Should boomerang employees go through job orientation?

A boomerang employee is someone who previously worked for an organization and was later rehired. It’s a good idea for these employees to go through job orientation since a company’s policies and procedures can change over time. Boomerang employees will also have new hire paperwork to complete even if they worked for the company in the past.

Which documents are needed for job orientation? 

When an employee starts with your company, you’ll need a few essential documents to make things official. In addition to this list, be sure to check your local labor regulations.

  • W-4 form (or a W-9 form for contractors) 

  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form 

  • State Tax Withholding form 

  • Direct deposit information 

  • Employee equipment inventory list 

  • Internal documents like non-compete and non-disclosure agreements

  • Benefit documents detailing health insurance coverage, wellness perks, paid time off, etc.

 

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Published November 22, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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