Firms skimp on new employee orientation

Businesses may claim they want new employees to hit the ground running, but many firms are not providing sufficient orientation, according to a Robert Half International survey.

One-third of workers said their employers offered no formal orientation program when they joined the company, according to the suvey, which included responses from 492 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

Workers were asked, "Did your current employer provide a formal orientation program when you joined the organization?" Sixty-three percent responded "yes," 33 percent responded "no," and the remaining four percent said "don't know/no answer."

This could be a missed opportunity for employers. A large majority of respondents (87 percent) who received this type of training said it helped prepare them for success with the organization.

"An employee's first days of work leave a lasting impression, and an orientation program helps staff acclimate more quickly and comfortably," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "These programs also provide employers an opportunity to reinforce the firm's values and set expectations."

Robert Half provided the following tips for an effective orientation program:

  • Remember the basics. Supervisors should give new hires a tour of the office, introduce them to their colleagues and explain security procedures.

  • Invite senior management. An appearance by an executive or other company leader adds credibility and weight to the session. If this is not possible, a high-quality video or virtual appearance may suffice.

  • Keep messaging consistent. The ideas conveyed in the orientation should reflect those expressed during the recruitment process and how the company presents itself externally.

  • Develop an agenda. Providing an overview of the discussion lets employees know what they can expect and signals the importance the organization places on the program.

    "To be effective, the orientation process must be an ongoing one," added Messmer. "Managers should consider assigning new staff a mentor who can provide guidance and answer questions."

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