1 in 3 employers lacks orientation program for new hires: Survey

Schedule department lunch, provide detailed road map to make new hire feel welcome
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 03/30/2012

New-job jitters are common, but some employers aren't helping ease their workers' anxiety, a recent survey from Accountemps suggests. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of the 150 HR managers interviewed said their companies do not offer a formal orientation program to help prepare new staff.

Overlooking the orientation process could be a missed opportunity for employers to help new hires feel like part of the team — and ensure they are set up for a productive future with the company down the road, said Accountemps.

When asked to name the greatest benefit of their orientation program, 30 per cent of respondents said it helps employees better understand the company's values, guidelines and expectations, and another 30 per cent said that it assists workers in preparation for long-term success with the organization.

And 21 per cent said it helps new employees feel a connection with the company more quickly, found the survey.

"Employee orientation programs help facilitate a smoother start to the job," said Gena Griffin, a district president of Accountemps in Canada. "When professionals see that their company will provide guidance, set clear expectations and support their professional development goals from the beginning, they are likely to perform at a higher level quicker and feel more compelled to stay there long term."

Accountemps offers five tips for managers on helping new hires acclimate:

To help new hires acclimate, Accountemps recommends managers do the following:

Roll out the red carpet: The employee wants to make a great impression right out of the gate, and it's important for the employer to do the same. Try to personally greet the new hire on the first day to make him feel welcome. A manager should go out of his way to reiterate how happy he is that the individual has joined the team.

Aim to ease anxieties: Starting a new job is nerve-racking. Encourage questions and offer introductions. Schedule a departmental lunch to give the newcomer a chance to get to know co-workers in a less-formal setting.

Arrange day-in-the-life tours: During the initial weeks on the job, ask the new employee to meet with and observe key colleagues she will be working with across the company. These training sessions will enable the person to learn who does what, while gaining a broader understanding of various departments, job functions and the inner workings of the organization.

Provide a road map: Paint a detailed picture of what the employee can expect in the first few months. Address topics the new hire needs to learn, review core job responsibilities, explain top priorities and highlight performance goals. Maintain an open-door policy and schedule regular touch-base meetings to ensure both the manager and the new hire remain on the same page.

Make use of mentors: Consider assigning a mentor who can provide guidance and share institutional knowledge. A mentor can shorten the learning curve, allowing the new employee to make more substantive contributions early on. And from a purely emotional standpoint, being linked with a supportive adviser gives the new hire a stronger sense of belonging and accountability.

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