How To Create a New Employee Orientation Program in 8 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 2, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated November 2, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

New employee orientation is guided training that provides information about a company to a new hire. It can include procedure, expectations and policies, along with specific training for that person's role. If you're a part of the human resources team, learning more about creating effective orientation materials and procedures can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what new staff member orientation is, show why it's important, detail how to design a recent hire orientation, and provide helpful tips for successful orientation planning.

Related: Tips for Successfully Navigating Your First Day At a New Job

What is new employee orientation?

New employee orientation is a program created by human resources and other people within a company to introduce new hires to the organization. Orientation allows an opportunity for new staff to meet colleagues and familiarize themselves with the building and equipment before their first day. It can allow human resources to complete important paperwork and provide materials like identification, devices, and login information.

Related: How To Start a New Job Virtually

Why is new employee orientation important?

These are some reasons new team member orientation is important:

  • Helps new staff members feel more comfortable in their roles: By providing information and specific steps for becoming familiar with the company, the recent hire orientation program can create a more comfortable working environment.

  • Provides consistent company and position information: When each new staff member receives the same training and information during the orientation process, you can ensure staff understands expectations for interaction and performance.

  • Encourages communication between staff and management: Your orientation process usually involves a process for feedback and asking questions, which can encourage new staff to feel more comfortable communicating with their team leaders.

  • Can increase new team member retention rates and satisfaction: By reducing stress for recent hires and helping them to become familiar with the working environment, you can improve your retention rate and promote employee satisfaction.

  • May improve safety procedure adherence and reduce accidents: Depending on your industry and organization, there may be important safety procedures for your staff to consider when operating vehicles or equipment. By providing standardized safety information during your orientation, you can ensure all staff understand how to operate safely.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself to a New Team

How to design a new employee orientation

You can follow these steps to design a new staff member orientation:

1. Determine your timeframe for orientation

When planning for orientation, determine the timeframe for activities and procedures. Depending on the size of your organization and how many people are in each orientation program, you may need different amounts of time. For some companies, a few hours is enough time for orientation. If you're leading a larger group of recent hires or covering more material, you may want your orientation to span a few days.

2. Provide relevant orientation and access materials

Depending on where you're conducting your orientation, you may need to provide your recent hires with methods for accessing the building, like a keycard or access code. Providing information like a map, instructions for accessing buildings, and where to park can help make new team members more comfortable during orientation. Including documents with information about what orientation includes and the timeline can help new staff members prepare for the day.

Related: Writing a New Employee Welcome Email (With a Template and Examples)

3. Conduct a tour of the premises and offices

To begin your orientation, you can start with a tour of the buildings and other areas the employees may need to access. For example, you can begin with a general tour of the office, including various departments, the cafeteria or dining rooms, break rooms, outdoor areas, and lobby area. Explain the best doors to enter and exit through, as well as emergency exits and procedures. You can also include information about where to park and where the stairs and elevators are.

4. Schedule a time to complete paperwork

Part of the onboarding process for new staff is having them complete the required paperwork. Scheduling a time during orientation can ensure all recent hires understand the paperwork and can complete it prior to beginning their position. It can also be beneficial for new hires to complete their paperwork with a human resources specialist available, so if they don't understand something or need help, they can ask you.

5. Incorporate current employees into orientation

It's beneficial to incorporate current employees in the orientation process. This may include having team leads or managers lead certain portions of orientation to show their leadership skills and begin building a relationship with the new team member. This may also include introducing the current employees to new staff members by including them in activities. You may also request that a few staff members volunteer to contact recent hires to welcome them to the company and ask employee-specific questions.

6. Lead team-building and introduction activities

Preparing your team-building activities before orientation can allow you to gather materials and organize each exercise. If you're leading a large orientation, consider pairing new team members together to have them introduce each other to everyone else. You can also consider providing conversation starters or organizing games that allow recent hires to work together or win prizes.

7. Provide training on programs and devices

Assisting each team member with installing and operating their technology can allow their first day of work to be more productive. For example, you may familiarize them with their computer or show them how to use a company program. Providing them with their log-in information and including information about how your company maintains your cybersecurity can help them protect their data and follow company policy for technology.

8. Prepare actions for after orientation

Prepare a plan for the actions to take after a recent hire completes their orientation. In this plan, you can include a supervisor or human resources professional scheduling a meeting with the new team member. Ensuring they are comfortable and succeeding at their job can improve retention rates. After orientation, your plan can include follow-up meetings two weeks, a month, and two months later. Depending on the organization and industry, different intervals may be more ideal.

During these meetings, team leads or human resources specialists can ask the following questions to better understand the new team member's feelings:

  • Do you feel you've been well-prepared for their new role?

  • Do you feel you understand the company?

  • How do feel about your role in this organization?

  • Are there questions that haven't yet been answered?

  • Has communication with your managers been productive?

  • What ideas do you have regarding employee development in the future?

  • Was the job-specific training you received helpful?

  • Did training provide enough information?

  • Do you feel your training was worth the time?

Related: Create a 30-60-90 Day Plan for Your New Job

Tips for preparing a successful new employee orientation

You can use some of these helpful tips to create an effective and successful recent hire orientation:

  • Create a welcoming environment: You can create a welcoming environment by greeting the new staff member as soon as they enter the building and providing them with information on where to go. Small gifts or welcome packets are also great ways to foster a hospitable atmosphere.

  • Provide ample information: It can confuse new team members when they don't understand what's going on or where to go, so be sure to provide them with as much information as possible. Consider emailing before orientation to ask about questions new staff members may need to be answered to better understand the information they need.

  • Include coffee and snack breaks: Depending on the length of your orientation program, you can include breaks for drinks, coffee, and snacks. It may help to keep the new staff energized and can provide opportunities for natural conversation.

  • Help employees set their goals: You can use time during orientation to help new team members set goals for performance and productivity. This can help to establish a timeline and allow them to measure their progress against their original targets.

  • Facilitate remote introductions: If some or all of your team is remote, consider encouraging your staff to introduce themselves to new hires. You can do this by asking each person to contact new hires through email or an online workplace.

  • Create an orientation checklist: You can organize and track orientation objectives with an orientation checklist that includes each task you'd like to complete. Consider providing a copy to the new staff member and keeping one to track their progress for yourself.

  • Ask for feedback about orientation: By using a survey or scheduling a meeting with new hires, you can gather feedback regarding orientation. New team members may offer suggestions for how to improve the process.

Related: How to Onboard New Employees With Tips

Now that we have reviewed eight steps you can take to create a new employee orientation program, you'll be better prepared to welcome new team members and set them up for success within your organization.

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