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Posted: 2005-01-13 / Author: Charleen Allen

Five Steps To Successful Employee Orientation

Every time an employee quits, it costs the company an average of $45,000 in profits. What can HR do to keep good employees? Unwanted employee turnover is costing U.S. companies more than $140 billion annually.

Retention begins on the first day on the job. Using a well planned multi-dimensional process for employee integration can improve employee retention be as much as 25%.

The key is to integrate new employees socially and emotionally, while streamlining the process. Here are a few tips to help you make your new-hire's onboard experience as successful as possible for all concerned:
Step 1: Onboarding
Have a smooth onboarding process where your company is prepared to welcome the new employee on the first day of work. This is the most difficult for companies with knowledge workers. Have available their phone number, email account, and user ID's.

Make sure they have a cube assigned with the computer and software already installed and ready to go. When they arrive the first day, have their name plates printed and installed. To make a real impression have their business cards printed and on their desk.

The first day should be a welcome celebration. Show them you are happy they have joined your organization. Demonstrate your culture instead of just telling them about it. Give them the opportunity to meet key leaders in the company.

Step 2: Acclimation
Starting with a new company is like going to a new country. Everything is different - the people, the systems, the language and the culture. Acclimation brings a new employee on board by addressing these types of issues.

Help new employees become familiar with the work environment by developing aides to help them to do their work. An online orientation can provide one location that can steer them to the answers.

Provide them with support tools such as acronym dictionaries, process diagrams, checklists, organizational charts, phone lists. These types of tools help them feel comfortable in their work, and enable them to begin to be productive immediately.

Step 3: Integration
Many people spend more time at work than they do with their friends & family, but who wants to spend their workday with total strangers? An emotional connection develops when new employees really get to know their co- workers and create friendships with others in the workplace.

This connection positively contributes to employees wanting to stay with the company. Create opportunities for new employees to meet other employees in the company, beyond those in their immediate work group.

New employees come into an organization with a fresh perspective. Encourage them to share any new ideas or approaches to products and processes that would increase productivity or customer satisfaction. Smart organizations take advantage of this source of innovation at their fingertips.

Step 4: Relationship Management
Help employees build lasting relationships by having regular one-on-one conversations with management. Go out to lunch together and get to know each other as people. This will keep them in the company longer.

During the first ninety days, initiate scheduled times in which new employees can discuss things with management. Even senior management should plan regular events, such as a monthly breakfast, where they can meet with new employees and share ideas. Use this opportunity to share goals and business strategies. Alignment of goals within the organization can produce a competitive advantage for your organization.

Step 5: Expectations
Both employee and manager are coming into the relationship with expectations. It is important to share these expectations with one another. Find out what the new employee expects. Encourage questions because many things you take for granted are unknown to the new employee. Persuade new hires to be proactive and network. Assign them the task to find out how their job provides value within the overall organization.

Set specific performance goals with new employees inside the first 90 days. Assign an immediate goal of getting to know the organization and the job. Encourage the new-hire to create his/her own network within the organization. Align their performance expectations with the organization through mutual goal setting.

Integrating new employees into your organization and reducing turnover is one of the most effective ways of increasing company profits while reducing headaches, financial loss, and risk.

Putting It All Together
Take this opportunity now to make changes in your New Employee Orientation, so you will be ready. Making people feel welcomed, able to get work done immediately, and add value will not only reduce the learning time, but also increase retention.

About the Author Charleen Allen, experienced in corporate training internally for Fortune 100 companies and as a consultant. She is principal for Orientation Passport which specializes in onboarding, orientation, integration and retention of new employees. For more information, contact her at or email at

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