Whether it’s three days or 30 days, new hire orientation best practices are critical to reducing performance problems and employee turnover.(2) Best practices include complete understanding of the company manual, engagement, and meaningful work assignments.
The Company Manual
One of the most critical aspects of any new hire orientation is the reading and signing of the company’s employee manual.(1) This Human Resources bible outlines all pertinent policies relating to the employee’s new place of employment, from sexual harassment and personal discrimination complaint mechanisms to vacation, sick day, and coffee break rules. The reading and acknowledgment of this company manual is the foundation of all new hire orientation best practices, accompanied usually by follow-up from the HR end to discuss any questions or concerns a new employee may have.
The reading of the employee manual is but the first step. Next is engagement. It is not just a matter of making sure the employee’s workspace is ready, badges prepared, and email or other IT considerations handled. One of the best orientation practices is to assign a fellow employee to be that co-worker’s advocate. This person can formally introduce the new employee to the other workers and help point them in the right direction in the first few days.
Meaningful Work Assignments
Another critical component of the new hire orientation process is the type of work the employee is initially assigned. Some companies make the mistake of assigning so-called “busy work” to a new employee when they first start, rather than launching them into a more substantial project or task. However, in today’s competitive workplace, employees are ready to hit the ground running. Anything less will leave them feeling unchallenged, bored, and immediately, possibly, disconnected.
This sort of pro-active work assignment should be part of a larger effort to nurture new employees. The costs of employee turnover range from 30% to 100% of a new hire’s first year’s pay. So it benefits both the company and the employee to make a new worker feel part of the team from Day One.
(1) City of Mt. Healthy – New Hire Orientation, Retrieved July 2, 2011 from http://www.mthealthy.org/New%20Hire%20Packet%202011.pdf
(2) Tech Republic – “Priorities in New Hire Orientation”, July 15, 2005, Retrieved July 2, 2011 from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/priorities-in-new-hire-orientation/5788159