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Remembering back to when you last accepted a job offer, you likely felt a bit of anxiety coupled with the excitement after landing a new role you’ve worked hard for. When the anticipation and newness wear off, it’s important that employees still enjoy the daily grind or, in other words, feel satisfied with the career path they have chosen.
Rather than hope they learn a lot during their first few weeks on the job, you must design an onboarding training program that sets employees up for success from the moment they begin working at your company or organization.
What is orientation in the workplace?
Workplace orientation is defined as how a new employee is introduced to their new job, responsibilities, work environment, and co-workers. It allows the new hire to get accustomed to their new team, department, and objectives at the organization.
Familiarizing employees with the company’s history, policies, and contribution to the industry can help employees feel like an important part of your organization.
Purpose of an orientation program
The early onboarding stage for new employees is the best time for employers to make an impression and set their expectations. Developing a well-thought-out workplace orientation program is worthwhile for proficiency, confidence, and retention in the first few weeks to months of employment.
The better the training program, the more likely new hires will feel acclimated to the job and company, which helps their performance and, in turn, impacts whether they find value in the job.
What can business owners do to support the employee onboarding process?
When developing an orientation program, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind that will help with your deployment of the onboarding orientation program and how you can resonate with your new hires.
1. Learn from leaders in the industry
Whether you’re a new startup or a large corporation, it’s worthwhile to look towards companies leading the way to onboarding employee programs. If you are interested in developing your onboarding experience to retain the best talent, take a look at some of the top employee onboarding programs and what makes them unique.
For example, Buffer has developed a “three-buddy system” to help new employees feel comfortable and confident with their work, role, and culture from the moment they accept a job.
Whether it’s meeting the CEO of your company in the first week of orientation, a thoughtful welcome gift, or some company swag, creating a personalized approach to orientation can set your organization apart from others.
If you want the top talent working at your company, you’ll want to make sure that you stand out among your competitors. Creating a memorable and impactful onboarding experience will allow your new employees to feel part of the team early on and better understand what makes your organization a great place to work for.
2. Leverage onboarding software and technology
In this day and age, the human resources department (HR) is often overflowed with tasks and responsibilities to keep the company running smoothly. By leveraging technology and taking advantage of affordable software solutions, companies can streamline their efforts to onboarding new hires, free up time for HR, and save all the paperwork effort.
Your company is unique, and so is your training—which is why it’s helpful to review some highly-rated employee onboarding software options to see what will help your company and your new hires the most.
From generating hiring forms and centralizing documents to tracking training progress, using modern technology in your onboarding can save your HR department from doing repetitive, tedious tasks that should be automated.
3. Begin with your training managers
As a business owner or leader, you probably won’t be involved in new employees' specific training and onboarding process. With that said, your managers and training directors must understand your vision for the program and intend to create a positive experience for the new employees.
If those teaching and training don’t seem inspired to be at work, they will unlikely make a good first impression on new hires. Everyone learns and receives information differently, which is why training your managers and providing them with leadership skills is a key contributor to your onboarding process.
Give your current managers advice about bringing new employees up to speed. Please encourage them to incorporate visuals, examples, and interactive learning tools that will excite the new hires and engage them from the start. Remind those in charge of training to be patient and encourage questions.
Certain tasks or responsibilities that might seem simple to one person might overwhelm another. Being mindful of everyone’s background, education, and prior work experience can help your managers and training team teach new hires most effectively.
4. Cultivate culture and connection
Creating a strong company culture that represents your values begins with leadership. New employees will pick up on organization, internal communication, and reporting structure. That means your employees will give an impression to new hires about what they can expect.
Developing a company culture that you are proud of as a business leader is important if you want to hire great people who align with your standards.
Encourage and allow suggestions that might improve efficiency, communication, or simplify a process—support team members by hearing new ideas and recognizing a job well done. Call out exceptional work and create a welcoming environment for creativity, positivity, and growth.
An adaptive yet organized approach can help your company navigate industry changes, economic fluctuations, and turbulence. With your employees’ trust and support, your organization will be able to adapt without falling apart in the process.
5. Explain benefits, retirement & insurance offerings
During the onboarding process, it’s good practice to provide your new employees with the company information surrounding benefits, retirement, and insurance options. Doing this shows your dedication to your employees, families, and future. Also, taking the time to explain what you can offer them helps alleviate confusion later on.
Creating an easy-to-access company online portal with all this information is also recommended so employees can go back to review and apply at their convenience. Revisit your offerings to employees regularly to ensure that you provide the most popular workplace benefits that will keep employees satisfied at your company.
If you want to go above and beyond and show your commitment to your employees’ wellbeing, assist them in preparing for future financial stability and success. Help educate them on the importance of contributing to their retirement as soon as possible to create the best opportunity for financial security in the future.
You can also inform them about the benefits of purchasing a life insurance policy to protect themselves and their loved ones. Doing so earlier in your career and life is often more affordable due to a lower risk of health complications.
It’s also helpful to protect family members who might not have the ability to take over your financial obligations should something unexpected happen to you. Taking time to outline these housekeeping materials will help your new employees feel valued and appreciated.
6. Highlight additional job perks
If you offer other company incentives, orientation is a great place to make your new employees aware of these additional perks. This might include things like client discounts, a gym membership, covered wellness visits, vacation time, child care assistance, and so on.
Anything extra that helps your employees or offers them additional ways to enjoy their lives is worth noting.
Fostering this type of care for your employees and exceeding expectations goes a long way in how they perceive the company and its leadership. When you show your appreciation through additional programs and perks, your employees gain so much more than just a place to do a job—it becomes a team and community they feel connected to.
7. Offer continued education and learning opportunities
Another area in which you can offer some incentive and contribute to your employees’ future is through continuing education programs. Some employers offer to assist with paying for grad school or professional degree programs.
If this is not something your company does, you can still creative ways to learn on the job and expand their skill set. The more education you provide them with, the more valuable they will be to your company.
Setting up courses for extended learning or training down the road will benefit the company in the long term.
An effective workplace orientation program is more than just informing new employees about their duties and responsibilities. It’s your chance to sell them a promising future with unlimited growth potential. By dedicating time to creating a great workplace, you are setting your business up for success as you will have inspired employees interested in growing their careers with the company.