Some companies choose new employee orientation programs while others skip this process. What are the benefits of new employee orientation programs--and should you consider implementing one? Jean Scheid, an HR expert, looks at the top 5 benefits of orientation programs.
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What Orientation Should Mean
Many HR managers and business owners confuse the word “orientation" with “probationary" periods when it comes to hiring new employees. A probationary period not only sounds like the new employee is being watched through a secret camera, in some states, it’s even illegal to have a “probationary" period.
New employee orientation programs, on the other hand, give both the employer and employee the chance to see if the position is a good fit. While it’s not necessary to offer a full blown performance review at the end of an orientation period, by implementing an orientation program, you’ll have a chance to see what that new employee can do.
Below, we’ll answer the question, what are the benefits of new employee orientation programs?
Reaping the Rewards of Employee Orientation: Top 5 Benefits
Most large Fortune 500 companies do use employee orientation programs to help them discover how well the employee fits with tasks and jobs assigned. It also gives the new employee ample time to adjust to his new position. Here are some of the benefits this type of program can do for you:
Fair Due Diligence – No matter what your recruiting or interview process, any new job presented to a new employee will be different from his last job. Or, if the new employee is straight of out college, he needs experience working in the real world. A large benefit of orientation programs is observation and the due diligence time both you and the employee need to see how well he adapts to his new surroundings.
Interpersonal Skills – That new employee may shine during the interview process but usually it’s one to one. An orientation program can help you observe how well the employee fits in with co-workers and with customers or clients.
Training – Again, every workplace is different and has procedures plus technical or mechanical equipment a new employee may have never used before. When wondering what are the benefits of new employee orientation programs, this is perhaps a major plus. The employee has the chance to learn new things without the fear of pressure, especially if the orientation period offers ample time to get adjusted to new processes or procedures.
Unknown Skills – There may be skills or techniques and even suggestions a new employee may offer that your company doesn’t currently have. Often, these unknown skills are hard to decipher in an interview process.
Employee Benefit Costs – Usually, new employees are not offered benefits until they successfully complete the orientation period. This will save your company money while the new employee gets acclimated to his new position. If the orientation period doesn’t work out, you’ve not invested any employee benefit expenses.
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Setting Up Orientation Programs
When considering what are the benefits of new employee orientation programs—now that you know there are some benefits--it’s easy to set up your program.
First, speak with your HR manager to help you determine the correct and legal wording of your orientation program policy and make sure to include an “at-will" clause. Don’t downplay the orientation period so the employee is fearful of it. Instead, offer it as a “get to know one another" program.
Offer the employee the chance to ask questions about the program and do assign a supervisor or someone within your HR department the new employee can seek out if he has questions.
If the new employee completes an orientation period successfully, follow-up with a review (this doesn’t mean you need to offer the employee more money) and tell him how happy you are he has come on board.
If the new employee doesn’t complete the orientation period successfully, the at-will clause will keep you and your company safe if you need to terminate the employer/employee relationship.