New Employee Orientations: Getting Employees Off On the Right Foot

new employee orientationAs an adult, your first day on the job is about as close as you can get to re-living the first day of school. There are a bunch of new people to meet and procedures to learn. Some are obvious, some less so. This all begs the question, what’s the best way to orient new employees to their new job.

Here at Adventure Associates, we have a particular methodology that we think works pretty well. Recently, we hired a talented new team member named Lacey Cope and we figured we’d get her fresh perspective on our process. Below you’ll find an outline of our practices and Lacey’s astute observations in quotes.

Provide a list of orientation assignments

Give your new hires a list of to-do items to help them get their feet on the ground and feel as though they’re making progress right away.

Having a structured list of orientation tasks but then putting the responsibility in the hands of the new employee to make sure it all happens is great. It gives an immediate feeling of autonomy and demonstrates a high level of respect and trust.

Create opportunities to interview co-workers

Teamwork is always enhanced by getting to know your fellow team members. Not only do you get a better understanding of how they contribute to the organization, you also get to know them as human beings instead of just Nancy from accounting, or Bob in sales.

“In previous work environments, I worked alongside people for months without ever fully understanding their role and responsibilities. I found it, frankly, refreshing to get to know everyone right off the bat.”

Encourage new hires to shadow other employees and eavesdrop on key conversations

A lot can be learned by osmosis if you just watch and listen. By making it a regular practice, employees become comfortable with this approach and a lot of knowledge sharing can take place. Moreover, this is a great way to learn some of the less obvious subtleties of a particular workplace.

“This has been one of the most effective ways for me to learn the ebbs and flows of the sales and program management cycles, along with the language we typically use with clients and more detailed explanations of our programs.”

Regular check-ins

Our new hires regularly check-in with their manager over the first couple of weeks, which helps with clarifying points about job responsibilities, expectations, and to just get an idea of how things are generally working out. We’ve found this approach really useful in getting our new employees comfortable as quickly as possible.

Especially in my first week, [my manager] would ask to go for a walk around the block to debrief how my orientation was going. This high level of support from my boss was highly appreciated since it gave me an opportunity to ask questions and confirm I was prioritizing correctly.

Having an orientation process is critical

The first few weeks of a new hire’s employment are a critical stage. It’s essential to make clear your organization’s expectations and provide the right type environment to allow your new employee to flourish. Hopefully our process will stir your creativity and get you thinking of other ways you can make your new employee orientations even better.

Doug Ramsay

Doug handles the marketing and web presence for Adventure Associates. If he's not geeking-out with the latest, greatest web marketing tools, then you'll find him swirling and sipping his way through wine country.

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