Most orientation programs entail little more than some quick introductions and putting a disk in the DVD player or directing your new employee to a video file. But if you really want to do a great induction process you must first understand its goals and potential impacts. Some of them include:
Time to productivity. Any delay in providing new employees with the guidance, equipment and training they need can slow the time it takes for them to reach their minimum expected level of productivity. Each day of delay can frustrate the employee and may also mean the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue if product development or sales are impacted.
Competitive intelligence. By asking new hires about the best practices of their last firm, their new managers can gather some new benchmark ideas.
Your image as “the best place to work.” New hires will get many calls from their friends, past clients and previous work colleagues during the first week on the job. How they are treated during this crucial period has a direct impact on what they say when asked: “What it is like to work there?” If they say positive things about your firm and their new job, it might mean that their friends will also want to join your firm. Negative comments can also impact the overall image of the firm and even future product sales.
Setting management expectations. On the first day, it is important for the manager to make sure that the new employee knows the manager’s expectations, the departmental goals and what important contributions the employee can make to the product and the firm.
Understanding the employee’s expectations. It is equally important for the manager to find out what expectations the new employee has in the areas of training, promotion and preferred management and communication styles.
Explaining the employee’s “shared responsibility.” It is important to educate each employee that they share in the responsibility of making themselves productive members of the team. This can begin by communicating to the new employee that they must take a proactive role in “helping” their manager understand what it is that motivates and frustrates them.
Reinforce their decision. A manager needs to reinforce the sale by “Wowing” the new employee and reinforcing their decision to take the job. You also need to answer their questions, eliminate their fears and give them something to tell their friends.
Every manager needs to approach orientation using his or her own style but there are some things that most managers should include. The following list is a “toolkit” of possible things that a manager can do to improve orientation, increase productivity and eventually increase the retention probabilities of new hires.