HR Processes

The Dos and Don'ts of New Employee Orientation

calendar icon 15th September 2021
book icon about 7 min read
The Dos and Don'ts of New Employee Orientation

So, there are a lot of new faces in the office. Good job in hiring a fresh batch of employees that will hopefully make your company grow even further. At least, once you’ve finished the employee orientation.

Employee orientation is a crucial yet often neglected part of the employee onboarding process. And no, this part doesn’t just involve introducing them to the rest of the team and showing them their desks. If you want your employee orientation to be effective, you should follow certain best practices.

This article will discuss the dos and don’ts of new employee orientation to ensure that your latest and future hires will hit the ground running.

Employee Onboarding Checklist: Download and customise this checklist to save time and streamline your employee onboarding process.


The Dos

Successful employee orientation isn’t just a formality that you have to undergo for the sake of politeness. It also contributes to a great onboarding process, which, in turn, provides a lot of key benefits, such as boosting productivity, minimising anxiety, increasing employee retention, and reducing turnover rates.

Obviously, an effective orientation should be a part of your onboarding plan. But how can you create the perfect process? In this section, we’ll talk about the dos of new employee orientation.

Plan well before the day of the orientation

If you’re still filling up your to-do list on the day that your employees should be oriented, then you’ve already fallen behind.

Just like everything else when running an organisation, your employee orientation should be a planned process. Otherwise, you’re inviting failure. Somewhere along the line of your hiring process, you should’ve already prepared your orientation program and only make a few tweaks as the day approaches.

If you still have time but don’t have a welcome program set in place yet, don’t panic. Here are a few parts of the process you have to keep in mind:

  • Ensure the logistics of the event. This includes the location, time, staff, and other resources that you might need.
  • Double-check the availability of other people involved. There’s nothing worse than awkwardly standing around with your new hires waiting for a department head that forgot to inform you about their urgent meeting. If you’re inviting other people, make sure to confirm their availability long before the event.
  • Communicate the details to your new employees. Answer questions that new employees might be too shy to ask, such as bonuses and salary increase queries.

Give them a memorable welcome

This part of the orientation will heavily influence how your new hires will feel for the next few days.

A smooth, well-planned, and warm welcome will put the employees at ease. It can even create an electrifying atmosphere that will motivate them to be productive the moment they step out of the conference room. 

Employee recognition increases retention rates – and this recognition can start from day one. After all, going through your hiring process and getting an offer is a success in its own right that’s worth acknowledging. 

To create a memorable welcome, consider the following:

  • Be friendly and positive throughout the orientation. Formality has its place, but your new hires need a human touch to help them navigate the anxiousness of starting a new job.
  • Arrange for the appearance of a higher-ranked executive. It doesn’t have to be a long spiel–just a few words to let them know that their leaders care. Being recognised by the top people of the company will help motivate and inspire your new hires.
  • Make a lasting impression by being different. Whether you want them to leave the orientation anxious to get started, comfortable to ask questions, or encouraged about their choices - being different and creative will help. For example, organise a small welcome party with the closest team members or prepare some unusual branded merchandise for your new hires beyond pens and notebooks. 

Strike a balance between celebratory and informative

You should do more than just speeches and appearances during your orientation. If you truly want their welcome to be a memorable one, give them meaningful information that will ease their first few days.

Don’t drown them with information, but don’t deprive them of it either. Make sure they have someone to talk to if they have any questions. Since it’s only their first day, there’s sure to be a lot. Having someone to point them the right way will be immensely helpful.

You can also incorporate lighthearted activities that can help them navigate their first few days. For example, you can give them small tasks to help them get along with the current teams. You can also make a game out of their first few tasks or invite them to drinks after work.

Make sure that your new employee orientation remains pressure-free and lighthearted while giving your newest employees a great start.

Have them do productive work

Beyond the warm welcome and games, a great way for new employees to feel included is by having them do productive work from day one.

Of course, as mentioned, this should be done in a way that won’t overwhelm them. Instead, give them the appropriate kind and amount of work necessary to acquaint them with their future responsibilities. Impress what impact their position has within the company and what contributions they’ll be making.

Another way to increase their productivity from the start is by introducing them to relevant people early on. As mentioned previously, introduce them to someone who can answer their questions. This could be a buddy, a department head, their main contact from HR, or all three. 

You can also help them be more productive by tailoring their experiences to suit their personalities and skills. For example, if they’re physically active, introduce them to the company’s sports teams. 

Ask for and listen to feedback

Orientation only happens on the first day of work, but that doesn’t mean it ends there for the employer. If you’re planning to further grow your company, that means you’ll have more nervous employees to onboard in the future.

After the orientation, make sure to ask for detailed feedback to find out what worked and what didn’t. You can do this through various means, such as surveys, interviews, or even just a quick group brainstorming session.

With the data you have, you can make the next orientation more effective for other new hires.


The Don'ts

Even if you do most things right, doing certain things wrong can easily cancel them out. In this section, let’s talk about things you absolutely must not do during your new employee orientation.

Be too formal or too casual

Strike the perfect balance between formality and lightheartedness when conducting your new employee orientation. You want new employees fee and give respect, but you don’t want to add unnecessary pressure on their first day.

How you want to express this attitude is up to you. That said, keeping up a helpful and light disposition throughout the orientation is a good start.

Leave them hanging

Communication is important in all aspects of life, and this is no exception. Poor communication has multiple negative effects in any office situation, such as lowered productivity, increased turnover rates, and low morale.

Don’t go radio silent the moment the orientation ends. Your employees won’t magically integrate with the rest of the team after your welcome address, so keep your lines of communication open.

More than that, monitor how their assigned work buddies or supervisors are handling their inquiries and complaints. Make sure to emphasize to other employees the need for an approachable and positive attitude when helping new employees navigate tasks, paperwork, and company dynamics.

You can also include them in email chains, update them about any news and changes, and invite them to appropriate social gatherings.

Neglect to check their performance

Regular, positive, and constructive feedback is valuable to employees. 

After the orientation, be sure to check in every now and then to see if your new employees are performing as they should. You can’t expect them to make the same progress as a senior employee, but they must show some improvement after a few days or weeks in the company.

Schedule regular check-in sessions with them and their managers. You can make these sessions part of their training. It can be scheduled about once a week when they start, becoming fewer and farther between as they get more integrated into the company.


Following the Dos and Don’ts of New Employee Orientation

If you want your new hires to be effective from the get-go, you have to give them an effective welcome.

Don’t just focus on productivity – you should also acknowledge and celebrate their presence in your company and make them feel significant. For a practical orientation, you should also avoid being too formal or too casual, keep them in constant communication, and give them regular check-ins.

If you follow all of these dos and don’ts, your new employees will surely have something to look forward to in their orientation.