I thought of this when I saw that Ray Sims has a great summary post with tips on New Hire Orientations or what they're now calling "onboarding." Can't say that I like the term too much--conjures up visions of boarding a plane and those generally haven't been my most pleasant experiences. Be that as it may, Ray's post has some good info worth checking out.
A couple of key points I'd highlight:
- Orientation is a process, not an event. It takes awhile for people to get up to speed, so use a process approach when acclimating new hires.
- Orientation is not just "what to know" but "WHO to know." Make sure that new employees are introduced to key people in the organization and that they get a chance to spend some time with the experts and information providers, both within your organization and at other organizations.
And a few tips I'd add to the list:
- Think about ways to begin the orientation process before the new hire starts work. I think that Netvibes or a similar tool is a cool option.
- Make sure you hook a new hire up at lunchtime. I'm sorry, but THE loneliest thing in the world is starting a new job and when lunchtime rolls around, you're on your own. Please don't do that to new people. Seriously. It's rude and speaks volumes about how your organization REALLY feels about its people.
- Try having staff build the orientation process based on their own experiences as new hires. What questions did they have? What do they wish they'd known sooner? Who do they wish they'd spent time with? Staff could be a gold mine of information in pulling something together.
- Don't forget the fun factor. Having been the victim of some really awful orientations, I'd like to plead for putting some fun into the process. Make some jokes, be interactive--whatever you do, don't lock people in a room for 8 hours with your organization's most boring talking heads. You want to KEEP new people, not make them start working on their resumes by the end of day one.
- Build in opportunities for regular dialog with the new employee--I say do check-ins after the first day, the first week and the first month. Plus have an open door policy. Make sure that the new hire is comfortable with how things are progressing and that there are no questions or issues brewing.
Oh--and one final thing. Please remember when a new employee is starting. If you don't, it really is downhill from there.
How does your organization handle New Hire Orientations?
Flickr photo via awcole72