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Employers: How to Take Your New Hire From Orientation to Integration

First impressions are lasting impressions. That’s why a good orientation is an indispensable step in ensuring that your new employee starts off on the right foot. Beyond getting the paperwork completed, this is an opportunity for you to communicate important information about the organization, your products or services, key corporate values and policies and procedures. If done well, an orientation will instill confidence and motivation.

The checklist below provides an overview of important topics to cover in an orientation. The process should include a tour of the worksite, an introduction to co-workers and time for the new employee to ask questions and clarify expectations (yours and theirs). Ensure new employees know you promote fair treatment and resolution of conflict. Let them know from the beginning that you have workplace policies regarding ethical practices and harassment.

Make sure all relevant personnel (co-workers, supervisors) know the new employee will be starting work that day and that his or her work space is prepared and supplied. There is a lot to cover here—consider whether your orientation could be phased in over several days.

Orientation Checklist

The Organization

    ____  History

    ____  Products or services

    ____  Customers

    ____  Mission and values

    ____  Organizational policies and expectations

    ____  Organizational structure

    ____  Facility layout (map, parking)

    ____  Facility tour

    ____  Names of key people

    ____  Questions?

General Information for Employees

    ____  Employee records

    ____  Benefits

    ____  Pay schedule

    ____  Pay scales

    ____  Vacations and holidays

    ____  Sick leave and absentee policy

    ____  Training and promotion policy

    ____  Employee development opportunities

    ____  Disciplinary policy

    ____  Questions?

Job-specific Information

    ____  Job location

    ____  Job description

    ____  Job tasks

    ____  Salary and wage information

    ____  Probationary period

    ____  Benefits

    ____  Introduction to the work unit

    ____  Safety requirements

    ____  Operating procedures

    ____  Work standards (performance criteria)

    ____  Tools and equipment

    ____  Hours of work, scheduled breaks

    ____  Where to go for help

    ____  Questions?

Integration is the process of a new employee becoming a part of the family, so to speak. Fostering positive work relationships and a sense of belonging are key to retaining workers. Employees who are strongly connected to the workplace socially are less likely to want to leave. Here’s how you can encourage strong links among your employees:

  • Introduce workers to the whole operation, not just their work unit.
  • Explain how the work units relate to, serve and support each other.
  • Set up mentoring or buddy systems, especially for new hires.
  • Have regular staff meetings, with time for employees to talk.
  • Plan staff social events (parties, breakfasts).
  • Support employee clubs or recreational teams and volunteering in the community.
  • Cross-train or create cross-functional teams.
  • Provide new hires with information about community activities and resources.
  • Encourage and support staff participation in community events.

Well-planned orientation and integration strategies will help your new employee make a smooth transition into their new role. And over the long term, your organization will save money and stay competitive by reducing time and costs related to employee turnover.

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