The Orientation Process…Clarity and Focus for the New Employee

Once an applicant accepts a job offer within your organization, the first few weeks working can be both a fearful and uncomfortable time for the new employee. One role of both administration and the manager is to take away that fear and bring new employees to a point where they can begin to trust and believe they are an important part of their new employer!  How can this be achieved? By taking the time to orient the person to the organization and let him or her know vital information about the organization, the little things that make life easier within his or her job surroundings and the specifics of his or her new position. For your company to be known as a voice and reach organization, it is vital to give all new employees all the tools possible and help acclimate them to the policies, procedures and methods of the organization, their department and the job itself in a prompt, timely manner.


Here are the items I consider important to be included in the orientation process:


DECIDING on WHO will share WHAT during the orientation process.                                          


Human Resources or “administration” should share information about the organization, including the following:


·         The history of the company, benefits, systems, and policies related to the overall organization.

·         The employee handbook. (Hint: Videotape a reading of the handbook and have every new employee watch the video. This demonstrates consistency and will eliminate the argument that “I was going to read the handbook later but forgot.”)

·         Schedule a pre-placement health screening, alcohol/substance screening and complete any documents necessary for the hiring process (W-4, I-9, application).


The manager of the new employee should share information about the department and section in which he or she will be working, including the following:


·         All department or sectional systems and procedures that are part of the employee’s position.

·         Anything that is directly or indirectly related to the new employee’s job.

·         Going over in detail the employee’s updated, accurate job description, standards and procedures. Set job expectations for the new employee to help get him or her up to speed in performing his or her new job.

·         Developing a time frame of training to teach the employee the specifics of the new position. Remember, don’t rush, even when you really need the person on the job. If you do, you will have an employee who feels uncomfortable in what he or she is doing, and the employee may not get it right because he or she does not truly know what right is.


The MANAGER and the NEW EMPLOYEE                                                                            


What are the GOALS of a manager when orienting a new employee to his or her work area?


·         Sharing with the new employee that the manager’s primary role is to do everything possible for the new employee to succeed (this is your number one goal).

·         Taking away the fear of coming to work in a new job and/or new location!

·         Bringing about clarity and focus for the new employee in covering all aspects of the company policies and procedures not shared by human resources or administration.

·         Giving the new employee a detailed target or path—his or her new job description.

·         Consistency, consistency, consistency.


What does a new employee WANT from the organization and management during the time of orientation?




·         Leaders who demonstrate they care.

·         Clarity of purpose (i.e., focus)

·         The vision, mission and values of the organization and how the employee’s department and job description support them.

·         Tools to do the job and, if needed, the schedule for training the new employee with those tools.

·         Consistency, consistency, consistency.


TIPS for the Supervisor Orienting the New Employee




·         Recognize it takes time to bring about a quality orientation meeting(s).

·         Determine who is going to orient the new employee to the company, the department and his or her job. If the organization is small, it could be his or her manager or a personnel administrator.

·         Don’t avoid the orientation process because you are too busy and you assume the new employee will figure it out in time. Orient the new employee on his or her first day.

·         Have both the manager and the employee accountable during the orientation process by using a New Hire sign-off sheet (see below).  When an employee initials the completed items, this sheet could become a legal document showing the employee understood what was shared.

·         Introduce the employee to everyone and show them everywhere.

·         Give the person a map of your facility.

·         Make sure the new employee knows the quickest route from his or her home to work!

·         Tell them about the best local restaurants and fast food near your work.

·         Cover the department’s/organization’s methods, procedures, systems and processes. Don’t forget to include all forms, directions in filling out the forms and secrets for getting things done quickly and accurately. 

·         Go over the areas of the employee handbook that are important to you and your department, such as bathroom locations, break times, parking, emergency procedures, etc.

·         Cover in detail the organization’s code of safe practices and, if applicable, the organization’s material safety data sheets (MSDS) coupled with hazardous materials and right-to-know training.

·         Don’t assume the employee knows anything.  It is always better to share it and be sure the employee is aware of what could be a very important issue to you.


In CLOSING                                                                                                                                      


For clarity, focus and a clear beginning, orient your new employees during their first days at work. Some organizations spend four hours, one day, even a full week to complete the process, depending on the size and depth of the organization. Others start off sharing briefly the vital information about the organization, enough to get the employee working and comfortable. Then they revisit the subject on a regular basis, say quarterly, to share with a group of new employees about the detailed history of the organization, in-depth benefits, retirement, etc. Either way, the important thought is to set up an orientation process that works for your organization, that gives your new employees a feeling of ownership, belonging and comfort in their new job.  


When this is achieved your “rookies” will quickly hit home runs in their work and throughout the organization with a sense of both confidence and pride.

New Hire Worksheet




last name                                             first name                                                      hire date



social  security  number                                                                                            department




__________   Application

__________   I-9 Form with ID

__________  W-4 Form

__________  Employee Handbook Sign-off Sheet(s)

__________  Safety Rules Sign-off Sheet


ITEMS to be COMPLETED WITH  THE PERSON DOING THE HIRING    (have new employee initial each line)


________________________________                                  ___________________________

person doing hiring                                                             position



__________  Orientation into Company   (when completed)

                     Employee  Handbook is passed out, highlights below are gone over with the employee.

Employee brings back the Handbook Acknowledgement sheet the next day.


                  ____ break times                                              ____ medical and personnel record access

                  ____ alcohol/substance                                     ____ 3-day rule

                  ____ lunch area/time                                         ____ pay scale and raise system

                  ____ payday                                                     ____ overtime policy

                  ____ time sheets…punching in & out                  ____ discipline procedure

                  ____ calling in due to absence/late arrival           ____ dress standard                       

                  ____ hours worked                                            ____ safety policy

                  ____ ethics & confidentiality                              ____ where to park & bathroom/lunchroom

                  ____ holidays/vacation policy                            ____ retirement plan

                  ____ sick leave/family leave policy & pay           ____ security

                  ____ introductory  period of 90 days                   ____ harassment

                  ____ health /dental/life insurance available          ____ problem?  see HR first


__________  Emergency Preparedness procedures are explained to the employee

__________  Basic Job Description Explained

__________  Training carried out for the job (as needed)  __________________ > completion date

__________  Basic Safety & Workers’ Compensation Benefits Explained


ADDITIONAL ITEMS to be COMPLETED by  HUMAN RESOURCES                                                      


__________  Input new employee into their master file system

__________  Register  the new Employee for payroll purposes

__________  Set up an Employee Folder

__________  Input employee into payroll master file and give employee an employee number

__________  Set up a Time Card for the Employee if non-exempt

__________  I-9 Form placed in proper binder

__________  Make note that Employee is eligible for Insurance(s) and when Introductory period ends

About the author:


Ron Smedley is president of Synergistic Resource Associates, a full-service human resource/development consulting group that works directly with both marketplace and ministry organizations.  As a professional human resource generalist, Ron is often called upon in the area of labor law interpretation and policy/procedure writing with the focus on practically, strategically, and relationally synergizing the systems of the organization with the development of their leadership and employees.  Besides consulting full-time, Ron instructs graduate adult students at Biola University and Claremont Graduate Universities within leadership, performance management, personal and corporate conflict, human resource strategy and ethics courses.


Ron’s passion is seeing men, women and organizations grow beyond their paradigm and the “box” they so often place themselves within.  For questions or support surrounding this article or other people development areas, email him at or call 714.993.5003. His office is located in Placentia, CA.

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