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How To Plan Your Job Orientation Program

How To Plan Your Job Orientation Program

How To Plan Your Job Orientation Program

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Remember your first few days at high school or college? You probably made many new friends (and frenemies), learned your educators' names, and where to find your classes and the restrooms!

Job orientation is much the same as an orientation week at school or college. It's a time for new team members to find their place and learn how to navigate their new roles and surroundings.

Your job orientation differs from onboarding, although it forms part of the onboarding process.

Implementing a job orientation program at your workplace has become a matter of urgency. You've probably heard of the Great Resignation trend that started in 2021, with an increasing number of employees leaving their current jobs and looking for other work or starting their own businesses.

Employees everywhere have been upskilled to work remotely, and most aren't looking to return to a regular nine-to-five office job. Gartner predicted that employee attrition would increase by 20% in 2022.

Not only does this mean that more candidates could be filling recruitment pools, but it also means that you're likely to hire a high volume of new employees soon as employee turnover rates increase. So, you must prepare well in advance to welcome and onboard fresh recruits and get them to stay for longer at your company.

In this post, we're going to look at the benefits of an orientation program for new employees at your organization, as well as what it entails.

What Is Job Orientation?

Job orientation, also known as work orientation or new employee orientation, forms part of the employee onboarding process and covers the practicalities of becoming a new team member. It includes showing them around the office space, meeting colleagues and the C-suite, and introducing them to the company's mission and core values.

Most leaders underestimate the importance of job orientation and would rather let new employees "get on with it." But job orientation can set the tone for a new employee, and a bad first impression could even lead to early turnover if they feel like they don't fit in.

According to Slack's FutureForum 2021 whitepaper, 71% of employees who are dissatisfied with the level of work flexibility are open to new jobs, while 57% of knowledge workers would be open to leaving their current workplaces in the next work.

Flexibility and positive employee experience are crucial to employees. An effective job orientation program can help your company address job satisfaction and inclusivity issues at the start of an employee's tenure at your company.

Benefits of Orientation Programs at Work

  • Help new employees meet their co-workers and connect to the company culture
  • Quicker onboarding ramp-up time
  • Remove practical blockers such as knowing where to find company resources
  • Open up a space for employees to ask questions and for managers to learn more about their needs
  • Introduce new recruits to mentors and other functions at the company
  • Improve employee retention
  • Quality assurance for all new employees to have the same welcome experience at your company
  • Instill a sense of belonging from day one
Job orientation helps new employees settle in and instills a sense of belonging.

Resources Needed for Job Orientation

Your job orientation program might look slightly different depending on whether you're hiring remote, hybrid, or office workers. Generally, it should follow the same structure but use different resources.

Human Resources

  • Culture team: Firstly, you need to assign a culture team who will run the O-weeks/O-days at your organization.
  • HR team: The culture team could consist of or work very closely with your HR team.
  • Mentors: These are employees who will work directly above or alongside the new recruits and organize regular check-ins with them.
  • Other team members who will be part of meet-and-greets and team-building exercises.
  • Leaders or managers who will present talks or have coffee with new recruits.

Financial Resources

  • A quarterly or annual budget set aside for HR programs
  • Software costs
  • Office rental or work-from-home stipend
  • Other costs involved in running office facilities, including upkeep, cleaning, security, IT, canteen, parking, furniture, and decoration
  • Uniforms and stationery (if applicable)

Material Resources

  • Technology, especially during orientation done via webinars or recorded videos with Q&A sessions
  • Office space (if applicable)
  • Name tags, pens, and notepads (if applicable)
  • Lunches and (or) refreshments (optional but strongly recommended)
  • Employee welcome kits, including company merch (optional but strongly recommended)

Time Resources

  • You need to set up a schedule for orientation programs and sync this with employee start dates
  • The relevant employee mentors will have to take time out of their work hours to assist with orientation
  • Your HR team will need time to manage new hire paperwork and create an orientation checklist
  • The new recruits will probably only reach productivity levels once they've been with your company for about a month, so it's important to take this time resource into consideration
  • The work time taken by other team members who will participate in ice-breakers and meet-and-greets
  • It's important that, as a leader or supervisor, you need to give some of your own time to new recruits to create a personal connection

As you can see, there are many benefits to organizing a job orientation process at your workplace to ensure newcomers are ready for their new position. And although there are extra resources needed to plan and execute a job orientation program, it's worth investing in your new employees to improve their experience at your company.

Think of job orientation as a long-term investment to ensure happier employees for longer.

Next, we'll look at how to plan a job orientation program and provide some simple steps for you to implement at your company.

Planning Your Job Orientation Program

Do you want to set yourself up for success and smooth out the entire orientation process? Then you'll need to perform a few administrative tasks first.

Get Feedback First

We recommend you run a survey or use some other kind of feedback tool to get input from your current employees: what do they love about your company culture? What would they change? How should orientation sessions be run at your company? These questions will help you understand current employee experiences and how to improve. Consider how enhancing your company culture could potentially increase college enrollment, as many students are drawn to companies with positive and engaging work environments.

Make an Employee Handbook

You need to prepare an employee handbook if you haven't done so already. Not only will this document cover the orientation and onboarding procedures at your company, but it will also help recruits understand your company policies and workflows. It should also include some helpful time-saving FAQs.

An employee handbook can be a hard copy or digital document, and you can decide how collaborative you want it to be. As an orientation day kicks off new employees' first day of work, it should help them make a smooth transition to your company from their previous workplace or college.

Tailor It to Your Company Culture

An orientation program must be tailored to your company's offering or expertise, the level of skills you have in your team, and the company culture.

For example, if your business provides motion graphics for high-end ads, it's a good idea to showcase the amazing skills and talents you have in your existing team with high-end motion graphics displays and presentations. A traditional or family-run business might want to focus on the company history to give new hires a sense of belonging.

Orientation is also the perfect opportunity to present your company's achievements. Has your talented team won any awards, landed some big clients, or acquired any special equipment lately? These achievements matter to new employees who may still be deciding if they'll grow at your company. It will also help new recruits understand the level of quality expected from them and get them excited for their journey ahead.

If it's part of your company culture to go out for a nice meal together on Thursday afternoons, then incorporate that into the orientation week to give new co-workers a taste of what they can look forward to. Be sure to show off any employee benefits or perks in the first week, as these can be a strong factor in employee retention.

Putting all of these admin details into a schedule or curriculum will help you tremendously with presenting job orientations and being consistent in your delivery.

Job orientation brings the team together and improves employee retention

Job Orientation Checklist

Consider the following:

  • How will you put new hires at ease and create space for interactions?
  • How might you ensure inclusivity and accessibility as much as possible?
  • How will you appeal to different personality types and learning styles?
  • Practicalities like setting up audio and video equipment for company presentations, the number of seats available, adding break times for refreshments and restroom breaks, etc.
  • How will you prepare for any meal preferences and allergies beforehand?
  • What are the best ways to make every activity or presentation interactive and engaging?
  • How can you create a space for questions and comments after team-building activities or presentations?

Once you know what you'll need to cover in orientation, you can structure these administrative details into a set schedule and plan your company's workflows around it.

How To Carry Out Job Orientation at Your Company

Let's get practical. Employee orientation is an excellent time to lay out the core expectations, establish a productive work relationship, and get buy-in for reaching company objectives. Follow our insider tips to make sure your new hire orientation is effective.

1. Pre-Orientation Employee Training

It's important for the entire workplace to know when O-days or O-weeks will take place and prepare your staff to see some new faces and make them feel welcome. The interactions new recruits will have with their new co-workers play an extremely important role in making a success of orientation.

If you set a structured job orientation cycle (for instance, once a month or once a quarter), you can add it to your employee handbook and company notice board. Remind employees when orientation time comes to keep a lookout for new co-workers and the dates and times for team sessions.

2. Pre-Orientation Admin

Before introducing new recruits to the company, preparing them beforehand is a great idea. Set up their company email address, send them the logins to the company intranet, and create a welcome pack with important information (and perhaps a company T-shirt!).

Knowing what to expect will help them prepare better for their new work environment and calm their nerves. This could include your company's dress code policy (imagine how embarrassing it'll be for new teammates if they arrive in a suit and tie while everyone else is wearing jeans and sneakers!?), where to park, arrival time, and assembly areas.

You could even put them in touch with a few of their colleagues before orientation so they have some people they know on the first day. Slack is great for this!

3. Create an Orientation Schedule

Consider all the important information that needs to be covered and how long each item will take. Assign sessions to particular individuals on the team – it's always more enriching and dynamic when orientation is a collaborative team effort!

Offer short break times in between sessions for going to the restroom or stretching their legs, and allow more time than you think might be necessary for lunch breaks. Why? Longer, unstructured breaks allow for bonding time and processing everything they learned in the orientation sessions. It will also give new co-workers some free time to explore the workspace.

For remote workers, allowing free time for mingling is a bit more tricky, so consider providing breakout sessions with virtual lunchrooms or online game areas where new co-workers can meet each other and play casual games.

Your schedule might look something like this:

Day 1

  • Arrival, coffee, informal meet-and-greet
  • Ice-breaker / team-building session
  • Presentation 1: Introduce the company, values, mission, interesting data, etc. This should be a "big picture" type of session. Allow for Q&A afterward.
  • Breakout session: Team problem-solving activity
  • Lunch break
  • Presentation 2: Tour of the building, fun facts, etc
  • Free time and end of day 1

Day 2

  • Arrival, coffee, informal meet-and-greet
  • Ice-breaker
  • Presentation 3: Recap day one, team member presentation about company culture or in-depth market insights
  • Breakout session: Divide into teams to solve a puzzle or develop a company-specific solution
  • Lunch break
  • In-person orientation sessions with supervisors or mentors
  • Give new employees one role-related task to complete before the end of the day
  • End of day 2

Day 3

  • Arrival, take seats
  • Presentation 4: C-suite leader's talk. Allow for Q&A after
  • Brunch with C-suite, make space for new recruits to mingle with C-suite leaders
  • Team sessions (each team or department organizes and runs its own sessions)
  • Short lunch break
  • Give new employees one role-related task to work on and complete before the end of the week
  • After-work drinks/games/dinner

Day 4

  • Arrival, coffee
  • Recap Day 1 – 3, send off
  • Onboarding begins

4. Book Venues (if Applicable)

Now you know exactly what the orientation will cover and all the resources you need. If you're going to run an office-based job orientation, you'll need to book your venues in advance, e.g., the canteen or the presentation hall.

Once again, if you're going to run orientation on a set schedule, this can be added to the company notice board and venue calendars to ensure you always have access when you need it for orientation.

5. Prepare Presentations

Decide who will speak and which topics they should cover. This can change based on availability. It's also a good idea to use this as an opportunity for current employees to grow by asking them to give presentations on their topic of expertise and data insights or simply to share their experiences of the company culture. Again, this will be invaluable for your new employees. In case of trouble with creating the presentations, they can use ChatGPT PowerPoint which can help with the outline.

Avoid technological hiccups by delegating audio/video to a specific team member or hiring professionals for the duration of the O-week.

6. Order Catering and Decorations

Technically, this is a nice-to-have, but the little things often count. Providing refreshments, lunches, and a welcoming atmosphere will make new recruits feel special and make it easier for them to slot into their new teams.

Some things should be done just because they incite excitement in people – use decorative elements to bring color, write messages on the walls, provide a selfie booth – whatever it takes to help new employees look forward to orientation and make good memories.

And don't think this can't be translated to virtual for your remote workers! You can send them lunch vouchers or order food deliveries from one of their local eateries. You can also translate the exciting, fun element online using funny video backgrounds or animated filters.

7. Hand Off to Team Leaders

Orientation is the first introduction to the company, not the entire onboarding. Once new employees are accustomed to their new environment, and the communication channels with the rest of their team have been opened, the supervisors or team leaders should take charge of the onboarding process from there.

This is where the real work begins, and the new hires can truly start experiencing everything that their job role entails. It would be a great idea to send a post-orientation email or survey to get some feedback on their experiences and any suggestions to improve the orientation program.

Final Thoughts

Preparing your workplace orientation program will be a fun and enriching experience for you, your current staff, and the new joiners who will be starting at your company.

Whereas there's no cookie-cutter approach to effective employee orientation, we hope the tips in this article help you decide on a process that works for you and your team.

flair is an all-in-one employee management software that will assist you in creating a positive job orientation experience for new employees with personalized onboarding workflows and templates.

This way, you can create customized welcome banners and include essential tasks such as signing employee forms, providing tax details and social security numbers, and completing their HR profiles in the Employee Hub.

Book a demo with us to learn more about how flair can help you create a comprehensive orientation program.


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