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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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