DISCOVERING PEOPLE NEWSLETTER
Issue # 52
It Pays to Help New Staff Start Right!
Managers should invest wisely in well-designed staff orientation
programs. Effectively orientating your new employees can pay back big
dividends in staff retention, employee commitment and customer
Staff members who are properly trained and welcomed at the beginning of
their careers feel good about their choice of employer, fit in quickly
with peers and colleagues and readily contribute new ideas. They also
speak well about your firm to friends and family. And they represent you
more confidently to customers, business partners and suppliers.
Poor orientation of new employees can cost you dearly. Those who don't
start right don't tend to stick around long, either. High staff turnover
means you must recruit, train and orientate new staff all over again.
Staff turnover also takes a high toll on the morale of those who do stay
behind. When people leave your organization, those who remain begin to
wonder... should we be looking for new employment, too?
While many managers will agree that new staff orientation is important,
very few invest the time and attention necessary to make sure it's done
consistently, and done right. You can consider the following ideas.
Think long term. -
Effective orientation is a
gradual process. The initial induction of employees during the first few
days is important. It is even more important to make sure new employees
fit in and feel comfortable over the longer term. This can mean six weeks
for a factory worker, or up to six months for new members of a senior
A time for everything. Everything in its time.
- New employees arrive
with basic questions that must be answered quickly: What is the dress
code? Where are the tools for my job? How does the telephone system work?
When do people eat, meet and get paid?
After the initial induction period, your employee's questions will
change and mature: "How am I being appraised? Why is the system set up
this way? How can I (safely) suggest changes? Who can I see for guidance,
approval and support?" Don't try to answer all possible questions in the
least possible time. Stretch out the process to cover the first weeks or
even months on the job. This lets new staff absorb essential information
more gradually and completely. An extended orientation program also
reassures new employees. Newcomers are always under great pressure to
perform and adapt. Your extended program shows you understand their
situation, you care about their adjustment, and you will continue to show
interest and attention over time.
Involve everyone in the process.
- New employees are not
the only ones affected by the quality of your orientation program. Other
groups are influenced during this important period as well, including
peers, bosses, colleagues, senior managers, customers, suppliers and even
the new hire's family back home. Each group has different questions and
concerns about the new employee. Address those concerns by giving each
group an active role in your overall orientation program. Buddy systems,
lunch meetings, panel discussions, site visits, family days - these and
other methods can be used to involve diverse groups and individuals in the
The reputation of your Human Resource Department is also at stake. If
orientation is well planned and conducted, new employees will see the HR
department as a valuable resource for addressing their future concerns. On
the other hand, poor staff orientation sends an early message that the HR
department is ineffective or out of touch.
Now is the time to review your staff orientation program. Apply the
above ideas to be sure your staff "start right"!
Prepared by: Michelle Novotny
Source: Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Visit:
Please feel free to contact the team at Discovering
People if you would like more details on this candidate of the week, if
you have any questions, human resources issues to discuss or would like to
offer any feedback in regards to this newsletter Ph: 02 9570 2411 or email