A thoughtful new employee orientation program can reduce turnover and save an organization thousands of dollars. One reason people change jobs is because they never feel welcome or part of the organization they join. The most important principle to convey during an orientation is your commitment to continuous improvement and continual learning. That way, new employees become comfortable with asking questions to obtain the information they need to learn, problem solve and make decisions.
A well-thought-out orientation process takes energy, time and commitment, however it usually pays off for the individual employee, the department, and the organization. One such example is Mecklenburg County's (North Carolina) success in revamping its employee orientation program. The employer wanted to live up to its credo of employees being the organization's greatest resource. In 1996, as part of a larger initiative to redesign services to meet customer needs, the Mecklenburg County Human Resources Department staff made a smart decision. They viewed new employees as part of their customer base and asked their customers what they wanted.
Employees were asked what they wanted and needed from orientation. They were also asked what they liked and didn't like about orientation. New employees were asked what they wanted to know about the organization. Additionally, the organization's senior managers were asked what they believed was important for employees to learn when joining the county payroll.
Using feedback collected from employees, Mecklenburg's HR training staff first realized that meeting employees' needs required more than a half day training session. Trusting employee feedback, the trainers crafted a one-day orientation that gave employees what they said they wanted and what senior management believed employees needed to know. Essentially, the orientation mix now includes the less exciting topics such as W-2s and various policies and procedures, but it also includes details that let the employee know something about the organization.
Need more on how to plan an employee orientation that's beneficial and fun? Read employee orientation tips.