The importance of a good orientation – Katie Roth

Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer of The Center for Generational Kinetics, says Gen Y workers (and most likely their younger sibs – the Millennials) decide on Day One whether to stay with an employer long-term. If your orientation consists of handing a new employee your 75-page handbook, sticking them in a workstation or cubicle, and telling them to seek you out if they have questions – you are in trouble. 

It’s not hard to make the first day a memorable one for new employees. Here are some tips to help you craft a memorable first day.

Take them on a tour of the office – even if you did this during the interview process it’s still a good idea.  If your organization is a sea of workstations, tie helium balloons to their workstation in your company’s colors so they can find it after they return from a meeting, lunchroom or break.  

Send out an announcement with a brief bio of your new employee to welcome them and encourage your existing employees to stop by and say hello. Copy your new employee. 

Develop an orientation program with a PowerPoints or other visuals to more thoroughly explain your culture and how to be successful with your company.

  • Company history
  • Dress code
  • Attendance and hours
  • What to bring along if they go on a client visit or attend a meeting (i.e. a portfolio and pen)

Have them spend 15-20 minutes with each of the senior managers to learn what they do.

Take them out to lunch and focus on them, not your business or the position.

Have 10 pre-printed business cards.

Assign a mentor or buddy who will touch base with them every day for the first couple weeks to help them navigate and answer questions.

Make sure their workstation is ready and if you have premium or logo’d items like mugs, pens, water bottles, portfolios and the like – have them on their desk.

Have a binder of forms and processes they will use or a “cheat sheet” of common websites or applications for their position.

Wait till after lunch to have them fill out all their paperwork.

Add Calendar items to their Outlook of important company dates – the picnic, seminars, anniversaries.

  • Schedule time with them each week for the first couple months

And lastly but most importantly, underscore the importance of their job – what they do and why it matters. Many employees have no idea how their job affects the overall success of the organization.

Before the pandemic, unemployment was a record high.  When things return to normal, it will still be a buyers’ market for great employees. Your orientation program can go a long way in keeping successful, productive and long-term employees. It’s worth the upfront investment of time and effort. 



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