The Purpose of New Employee Orientation

How does your company welcome new employees? Does it introduce them to their jobs and workplace or require them to fill out forms and sign policies? According to Gallup, just 12 percent of new hires are fully satisfied with the onboarding process. Employee orientation is an integral part of onboarding – if done right, it can boost work performance by 11 percent and retention rates by 25 percent. The purpose of orientation for new employees is to help them feel welcomed and provide them with the resources needed to be successful on the job.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Employee orientation programs benefit both companies and new hires. Their role is to help new employees feel comfortable on the job and understand what's expected of them. Organizations that implement such programs report lower turnover rates, improved performance and more productive working relationships.

What Is Employee Orientation?

As a manager, you want to make a positive first impression on new employees. That's where orientation programs can help. Their role is to introduce new hires to their roles and coworkers, help them understand how they fit into the organization and make their transition easier.

Employee orientation isn't the same as onboarding. The latter begins with the hiring process and involves several steps. New employees are gradually introduced to their department, receive training materials and attend meetings, among other activities. Orientation, on the other hand, focuses on their role in the company and prepares them for training. It's a one-time event.

Purpose of an Orientation Program

This process takes places in the first few days or weeks of employment. Its role is to help new hires understand the company's vision, organizational culture, policies and expectations. Their managers may organize interactive meetings, tour the facility and introduce them to their coworkers. They may also:

  • Explain how the company is structured
  • Provide new employees with a list of contacts in each department
  • Offer reference materials, guides and cheat sheets
  • Describe regular procedures, such as how to request a day off or book a meeting room
  • Ask them to sign non-disclosure agreements and other forms
  • Go over what a typical workday looks like
  • Schedule meetings for new employees with the company’s leaders and other staff members
  • Assign them a mentor to answer their questions and guide them
  • Review the job description and responsibilities

The purpose of orientation for new employees is to help them feel comfortable in their roles. As a manager, it's your responsibility to show them the right way to get things done, explain what's expected of them and give them a warm welcome.

Employee orientation can lead to lower turnover rates, greater job satisfaction and reduced stress. Furthermore, it helps prevent misunderstandings and shortens learning curves. New hires will get a better understanding of your organization as a whole and their responsibilities on the job. This process also serves a social role, helping new employees interact with their colleagues and build lasting relationships.

Why Is Employee Orientation Important?

According to the SHRM Foundation, 93 percent of companies have new employee orientation programs in place. About 20 percent of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. New hires who don't understand their role in the organization or realize that the company's culture doesn't align with their values are more likely to quit. The purpose of an orientation program is to prevent these issues right from the start.

The cost of replacing an employee is $3,000 to $18,000. If you hire someone and then realize that he's not a good fit, you'll lose time and money. Employee orientation benefits both managers and new hires. As a business owner or team leader, you'll get to know new employees and assess their needs. They will gain a better understanding of what's expected of them and how the job fits into their career plan.

More than one-third of new employees are ready to switch jobs within their first six months of employment, according to Harvard Business Review. This number is even higher among Millennials. A poorly designed orientation program can increase turnover rates and reflect badly on your business. You may end up with unfilled positions, lose revenue and find it harder to attract talent.

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About the Author

Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.