What is employee orientation? Meaning, benefits and checklist
Table of contents
- What is employee orientation?
- What is the difference between employee orientation and employee onboarding?
- What are the benefits of employee orientation?
- Employee orientation checklist
- Building a positive impression for new employees through orientation is the first step to retention
A newly hired employee arrives at work bright and early on the first day. They’re eager to start their new career. They go to report to the manager at the main office, but she’s nowhere to be found. Everyone at the office seems busy with their work.
It’s clear that no one has any idea who the new employee is or why they’re there. When the manager finally arrives, she’s unprepared. There’s no workspace available and no plan. The manager sets up a temporary table in a corner, hands the employee an enormous industry manual, and tells them to start reading. That’s the end of the new employee’s orientation — and their excitement for the job awaiting them.
Every day in organizations worldwide, people start new jobs — eager, excited, and anxious, but ready to do their best. Unfortunately, within the first few months or weeks, many new employees become discouraged and disillusioned, often as a direct result of how they’re introduced to the organization. New employees are often thrown into their new environment and expected to sink or swim.
What is employee orientation?
Employee orientation introduces new employees to their jobs, coworkers, and culture. Most organizations offer an employee orientation program coordinated by the human resources department. New employee orientations serve many purposes and have many meanings from both an organizational and an employee perspective, which we will explore later in the article.
What is the difference between employee orientation and employee onboarding?
In general, onboarding describes a series of events that enable new employees to learn what they need to do to meet the responsibilities of their new position. On the other hand, orientation refers to a company’s initial welcome of the new hire (usually over a single day).
At new employee orientation, a new hire typically:
- Is introduced to the company’s mission, values, and culture
- Meets their new coworkers
- Completes paperwork
With onboarding, a new hire:
- Begins to settle into their new job
- Takes part in department meetings
- Learn about the specific nature of their job responsibilities
What are the benefits of employee orientation?
The importance of employee orientation in an organization is often understated. The significance of orientation is equal to the significance of employee training. Employee orientation assists new recruits with the tools and information they need to succeed. It sets the stage for the organization’s human resource processes and company policy.
Here are some of the reasons why employee orientation is important in an organization:
A positive first impression of an organization fills a new employee with pride and enthusiasm, jump-starting the sense of loyalty towards the organization. Therefore, a company’s employee orientation should start with an upbeat tone; introductions; a vision statement; a mission statement; an explanation of the company’s goals, culture, and profits; and a brief outline of growth plans rather than with the company’s strict rules or firing policies.
During the first day on the job, nothing is more important than a session outlining the organization in digestible pieces. This helps reduce confusion. Making initial information straightforward to understand assists in streamlining the learning method, allowing everyone involved to get familiar with the company sooner rather than later.
An ideal employee orientation process makes the new employee feel welcomed, supported, comfortable, and able to interact easily with their colleagues. Encouraging questions and acknowledging them develops affinity and nurtures communication abilities from the get-go. It’s no secret that the better an organization communicates on every level, the more it can achieve.
Orientation day typically covers heavy policies. That’s why it’s best to post rules and guidance in a convenient location, guiding the new employee to reference them as required.
Organizations, too, can benefit from employee orientation programs. No organization wishes to lose employees because of a lack of direction or connection, especially after spending a lot of time handpicking them from a long list of interviewees. The ideal employee orientation program assists new hires by making them feel confident, understood, loyal, and enthusiastic to stay with the organization for the long term. Employees’ orientation programs may last for half a day or so. Still, the positive impact combined with an upbeat organizational culture assists in retaining an organization’s low turnover rate by keeping morale high.
Employee orientation checklist
Every new employee, regardless of their previous training or experience, must be introduced to the work environment and instructed to perform specific tasks. Therefore, the employee orientation program should cover the following checklist of items.
Building a positive impression for new employees through orientation is the first step to retention
An organization that values employee orientation creates an environment of transparency, makes employees feel valued, and gives employees a sense of belonging. It also shows that the organization views orientation as an essential aspect to carry employees along and make employees know the organization is ready to work with them, bringing about stronger employee commitment.
Through employee orientation, employees develop a learning habit that causes them to align with the organization’s strategy and helps to build knowledge, skills, and even competencies. This can also create an environment where knowledge is shared to achieve business goals and objectives.
Explore more ways to increase employee retention, a critical factor for organizational success, through our blog posts.