Improving Orientation for New Employees

As the hunt for qualified talent continues to heat up, there’s a greater emphasis on what happens immediately after a new member is added to the company team. New employee orientation has always been a key element in effective recruitment and retention, but these days companies understand that getting this part right can significantly increase the odds that a new hire will become a long-term member of the organization?

Whether it is office personnel, employees in our hardwood sawmills, lumber handlers in our concentration yards, or even new additions to our forestry teams, we continually strive to change with the times and successfully integrate new employees into our workforce.newemployeeorientation

If you are looking for some ideas to help employee orientation go more smoothly, here are several tips we believe could be helpful. 

Get things rolling ahead of the first day on the job. There’s always a period of time between a candidate’s acceptance of a job offer and then actually showing up for work. Whether it’s days or weeks, this is an important time in which to prepare the new hire for their upcoming appearance in the workplace.

To help pave the way towards effective onboarding, be sure to:

  • Send necessary paperwork to the new employee, so he or she can fill out forms ahead of day #1.
  • Share manuals, newsletters, PowerPoint presentations, and other material about your company culture.
  • Provide a “schedule of events” for that all-important first day (or week), so the new hire knows what to expect.
  • Schedule brief “meet and greets” for the first day or first week, giving the new employee a chance to meet veteran team members.

Finally, be sure to offer a contact person in HR or elsewhere, whom the new hire can reach out to with any questions before they begin their new career in your workplace.

Help ease the new hire into your company culture. When employees feel at ease with company culture, it’s generally an indication that there’s a “good fit” between the employer and this new team member. But this can only come about if the new hire acquires a solid grasp of that culture early on.

In addition to the preparatory actions suggested above, help introduce your culture by:

  • Talking about the company’s mission and values
  • Informing new hires about the company’s origins and history of growth
  • Sharing stories about how your company interacts with the surrounding community (charity, business partnerships, etc.)
  • Stressing the importance your culture places on every employee working as part of a team

“The responsibility of clear communication is yours,” notes Relode, a recruiting service company. When onboarding a new employee, “you must ensure that all company goals are communicated clearly.”

Make Day #1 special. First impressions mean a lot when it comes to new employee orientation. HR experts advise making the Day #1 experience as upbeat and meaningful as possible:

  • Send a welcome message from business leaders.
  • Arrange informal meetings with co-workers and others within the organization.
  • Be sure their workstation is up and running, including all available technology.
  • Give the new hire something to do that offers value to the company.

“Tailoring the process to make it more focused on the individual makes for a much more poised employee,” says Jotform, a form-building company.

Emphasize the potential for career advancement. You hire a new employee for a position with specific responsibilities. But if you wish to retain this individual, it’s crucial that you lay the groundwork for potential advancement within the organization.

During the interview process, listen carefully to how the candidate describes their work-related goals. Then, as part of onboarding, stress the value your company places on enabling employees to grow professionally. Outline ways in which the new employee can hone his or her skills, through training and development programs, relevant webinars, ongoing consultations with their managers, and so on.

New employees who feel valued and see a bright future with your organization are the ones most likely to remain and flourish. The rest will probably stick around only until a better offer comes along.

Have you or your organization changed the way you have conducted your orientation process? What have you found to be effective? Let us know! We welcome your thoughts!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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