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Tips for a Better New Employee Orientation


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When we bring new nonexempt (hourly) employees onboard, we provide a standard HR couple of hours on policies, procedures, company history, goals, culture, punching in and work rules. We give a company tour and hourly employees then train and cross-train on the job.

Managerial and salaried (exempt) employees participate in a new employee orientation that is custom-designed for them. It includes the above information that is received by all employees. Additionally, their orientation may last one to two weeks and it enables them to meet the whole organization, their direct reports and more. They should leave this orientation with a clear picture of the organization, its challenges, its goals and their opportunity to assist with progress.

It is challenging to make sure salaried employees have the chance to do the orientation while also beginning their new job. Neither can be put on hold. My current new director spent the morning helping to write an RFP for a potential customer rather than attending his scheduled meetings. This is okay, but I don't want his orientation to get off track. It provides fundamental information he needs to succeed in this organization.

From an HR perspective, this may not be ideal for making sure he gets the organization overview, but it is ideal for helping him integrate quickly into the working business of the company - and that's the point. Right?

The best orientation I have ever known was instituted at Edgewood Tool and Manufacturing. Every manager who hired a new employee was required to write a 120 day orientation for the new employee. It involved one action a day. Actions included meeting the Director of Quality, calling on a customer and having lunch with the CEO. You can bet that new employee was thoroughly welcomed and integrated into the organization after 120 different orientation events.

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