Employees and employers alike have high expectations for new-hire orientation. Using an orientation program to help newly hired employees become familiar with the organization poses several disadvantages. These range from preparation costs to the inability to personalize training and orientation.
Every member of the human resources team should play a role in developing new employee orientation. The compensation and benefits specialist presents a section that addresses his role in the department, how employees are compensated, withholding status, health care benefits and retirement savings programs. Likewise, human resources presentations on matters such as workplace safety, recruitment, promotion and selection, and how to report workplace concerns must be included in an orientation program. The disadvantages of presenting such a thorough orientation session is preparation and staff time, which is particularly costly for employers who frequently hire large numbers of employees.
When employers hire several new employees within a short period of time, they might want to save time and money by conducting orientation for the entire group instead of one or two new employees at a time. Scheduling challenges can arise from attempting to coordinate the schedules of hire dates and the corresponding orientation dates and times. In addition, if a department is already short-staffed, managers may need new employees to assume their duties and responsibilities before they have a chance to finish orientation. The disadvantage is that an employee must begin her job duties before learning as much as possible about the company's philosophy and business practices.
Orientation sessions should be conducted in a conference room situated away from busy work areas to prevent disruptions during class. Human resources staff can be at a disadvantage while trying to find a suitable area where the new employees can devote their full attention to the presentations and not be distracted by operations in a fast-paced working environment, unless the organization has a classroom or conference that can be specifically dedicated to orientation for several hours or several days
While many employers offer self-service, online orientation to maximize resources, technology use and minimize staff time, the disadvantage to learning about a new employer online is that it depersonalizes the process. New employees want to learn face-to-face, and put faces with names of people and their roles within the company. Online orientation presentations also pose challenges for employees whose computer skills are minimal or nonexistent. This can certainly cause frustration for new hires, which causes the beginning of the employment relationship to be on a shaky foundation.
Workplace rules, policies and guidelines change over time, especially for companies in the growth stage of their business. When these changes occur, employers revise the employee handbooks and distribute them to their workforce. Orientation for new employees is great, but an even better system would be to provide refresher training on the company's mission and values as they develop throughout the company's growth. The disadvantage of orientation programs is that they limit the information presented to new employees, and neglect to keep employees informed of organizational changes that may have been discussed during the initial orientation sessions. Preventing this disadvantage requires employers to maintain open communication lines with employees instead of relying on orientation to be the only introduction an employee has to understanding the company's philosophy and vision.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.