Employees develop the most lasting impressions of the organization during their first few days on the job. This checklist helps you cover all the bases and give your new employee a proper orientation.
An effective orientation helps prepare the new employee to be productive right from the beginning. It offers the manager or supervisor an excellent opportunity to form a good relationship with the new employee and to set expectations.
New employee orientation is not an event, but rather a process. The following checklist includes a list of activities to be undertaken over a period of weeks, beginning before the new employee arrives.
PRIOR TO EMPLOYEE'S FIRST DAY
- Phone the employee to confirm the start date and time. Provide instructions for parking and checking in, if appropriate. If additional instructions are needed, send them by letter so the new employee will know what to expect and be prepared.
- Prepare the employee's workstation, including furniture, telephone, equipment (computer, printer, etc.) and desk supplies, such as letterhead, business cards, stapler, etc.
- Arrange for support services, such as voice mail, network connection, e-mail account, computer logon and passwords, and authorization to access databases, as appropriate for the position.
- Inform others regarding the new employee's arrival including coworkers, receptionist, security personnel, office manager, mail clerk, and appropriate personnel. Give them each the name and start date for the new employee.
- Develop a plan for how the employee will be trained to perform the duties of the job. If your organization provides a formal training program for newly hired employees, make the necessary arrangements for scheduling the appropriate sessions.
- Prepare an updated job description or list of duties and responsibilities. Include a list of criteria or performance standards by which the employee's performance will be evaluated.
- Consider designating a coach or a buddy to work with the new employee during the first few months. The ideal candidate is an employee of similar rank or position who is also a good performer.
- Prepare a binder or package containing relevant reference material. The contents may vary depending upon the nature of the work. For example, it might include a company name and telephone directory, emergency and security procedures, a narrative of the company background, history, mission and structure, a copy of the employee manual or handbook, standard operating procedures for the work unit, information pertaining to compensation and benefits, location of company facilities.
EMPLOYEE'S FIRST DAY
- Be present to welcome the new employee upon his or her arrival. Schedule plenty of time to meet with and provide the person a proper orientation. If you are not able to be present, appoint another person to act on your behalf.
- Help the individual obtain an ID badge or security pass, if appropriate.
- Direct the new employee to his or her workstation and provide a secure location for storing personal belongings.
- Provide keys to the building, office, desk, and file cabinet, as appropriate. Introduce the new employee to the computer, software, and equipment to be used including the fax machine, photocopier, and printer.
- Give the new employee an orientation to the company e-mail system, phone system, and computer network, including passwords and logon instructions.
- Explain the overall structure of the organization, including various functions and lines of supervision. Provide an organization chart, if you have one available so the new employee can become acquainted with the relationship of positions within the work unit and the organization as a whole.
- Provide the new employee with copies of any relevant policy or procedure manuals and reference materials prepared in advance. Be sure to address relevant security issues, including safety precautions and accident prevention. Explain how to report hazards and accidents. It's also helpful if the reference material includes information on how to request technical support or equipment maintenance, and how and where to order supplies.
- Review current goals and priorities for your work unit.
- Discuss the new employee's job responsibilities. Be sure to address primary duties of the position and why they are important to the organization. Make sure the orientation includes a review performance standards and evaluation practices, including the duration and nature of the probationary period of employment. Provide copies or access to work samples which represent the type and level of quality desired. Discuss the job training plan, including any scheduled orientation or training sessions.
- Begin to introduce the employee to coworkers and management, starting with the coach/buddy and others with whom the new employee will have frequent contact. Also, don't forget support personnel such as technical support, the person who orders office supplies, and maintenance personnel.
- Take the new employee on a quick tour of the work location. Be sure to point out the location of restrooms, lunchroom or cafeteria, conference and meeting rooms, copy and fax area, smoking areas, supply room, storage closets, bulletin boards, mail drop points, emergency exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, and other locations pertinent to the new employee.
- Explain the work hours, paid holidays, overtime needs and requirements, lunch and break times, and timesheet or other mechanism for reporting time worked.
- This is also a good time to review the vacation schedule and procedure for requesting leave. Be sure to explain the procedure for reporting absences and late arrivals, including who and when to call and circumstances which require a medical certification.
- Explain the pay schedule, including the date the new employee will receive his or her first paycheck.
- Discuss some common problems and how they can be avoided, such as coming in late, excessive unscheduled absences, making and receiving personal calls, smoking policy, and restrictions regarding removal of equipment and documentation from the building. If your organization uses an employee handbook, manual or code of conduct, this is a good time to highlight a few of the more important sections.
- Explain the guidelines for appropriate attire, including casual days, if applicable.
- Take the employee to lunch, if possible. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the new employee, including personal interests and family connections. If you can't be available for lunch, arrange for someone else in the work unit to take the new employee to lunch.
- Be sure to set aside time at the end of the day to meet with the new employee and answer any questions.
THE FIRST WEEK
- During the new employee's first week on the job, make sure the individual has had an opportunity to review the employee manual, handbook, or code of conduct and signed an acknowledgement.
- Make adjustments to the new employee's work schedule as needed to accommodate any scheduled training or orientation sessions.
- Schedule regular meetings with the employee to monitor progress and answer questions. Arrange for additional coaching, mentoring, or training, as needed.
- At the end of the first week, meet with the new employee and discuss the individual's first impressions. This is helpful in evaluating the orientation process and gives you an opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings.
The approach used for new employee orientation can significantly impact the employee's chances for success in the organization. Therefore, it's important that you, as the manager or supervisor devote the time and attention required to make the orientation process effective.