What is employee orientation?

Employee orientation is the process of introducing new hires to an organization. Employee orientation aims to give new people all of the information and tools they need to be ready to work with their new team and in their new role.

Typically, new employee orientation focuses on giving people relevant information about company policies and processes and answering any questions they may have as they enter their new position. It also usually includes filling out any necessary paperwork.

Why should HR leaders care about employee orientation?

One of the most important functions of the HR department is to help new joiners integrate smoothly into the company and specific roles. Employee orientation is a key tool in this process. When companies conduct it well, employee orientation can set people up for success and start them off on the right foot with the organization.

Successful new employee orientation will allow people to be productive as early as possible, collaborate effectively with their team, and make full use of relevant systems, tools, and processes.

Employee orientation will help clarify expectations and reduce turnover. In fact, as much as 48 percent of people leave their roles because of frustration caused by unexpected responsibilities and misrepresented job descriptions.

Research also shows that people who have undergone well-structured orientations are 82 percent more likely to remain at a company for up to three years.

What can HR leaders do to lead successful employee orientations?

To create effective employee orientations, we recommend these best practices:

  1. Build a well-crafted onboarding plan. Solid onboarding and welcome processes are key to setting up new joiners for success. The best plans are curated for every individual and include essential information like which tasks and projects they’ll be responsible for, meeting the main stakeholders of their projects, and introducing them to their KPIs so it’s clear how their performance will be measured.
  2. Make an excellent first impression. The first day of work can be nerve-wracking, and employee orientation provides an opportunity to make people feel welcome and calm their worries. Be careful not to throw new people straight into numbers and paperwork. Instead, consider how you can create a sense of engagement and belonging right from the start.
  3. Focus on what is most important. New joiners need to access and absorb a lot of information. To avoid overwhelming them, begin with the most relevant, practical considerations such as setting up their desk, computer, and email. 
  4. Create connections early on. To help them integrate, introduce people to their new co-workers early, giving them a chance to build relationships and feel included right off the bat.
  5. Make room for questions. Don’t forget to give new people opportunities to ask questions and voice their concerns.

Why should employee orientation be a part of modern HR strategy?

Employee orientation is key as the basis for the rest of a person’s time at the company. It’s an excellent opportunity to help new people succeed at your organization and reduce turnover because it sets expectations, helps integrate them into their new team, and gives them the tools they need to be productive.