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Congratulations! You’ve just hired a new employee to join your ever-growing team. Now it’s time to ensure they’re prepared for their first day on the job.

As an employer, you are responsible for having onboarding systems in place to ensure recent hires receive the proper orientation. Having the appropriate procedures in place can help familiarize new employees with the company’s culture and expectations, as well as help them learn about all of their benefits and policies.

Today, we’ll discuss why new employee orientations are vital for every establishment, how you can design one that works for your business and several safe work practices you should be sure to include.

What is New Employee Orientation?

New employee orientation is a process that helps new hires become familiar with the organization, their supervisors, co-workers, work areas, jobs, and most importantly health and safety.

Typically occurring on the first day, new hire orientation provides an opportunity to discuss the company’s culture, and what is expected of them as employees. The goal is for everyone to be on the same page about what’s expected from each other so that everyone can work together safely and efficiently.

An effective new employee orientation successfully:

  • Communicates company policies and procedures
  • Handles all essential paperwork
  • Ensures all new employees feel welcome
  • Sets job and employee expectations
  • Answers any questions or concerns that may come up
  • Successfully prepares new hires for their transition into their new roles

Why is New Employee Orientation Important?

New employee orientation is important for a few different reasons. First, it lays the foundation for their career within your organization. The expectations that you set out in the initial orientation are likely to establish the recent hire’s outlook and determination. If you set the right expectations, you’ll be rewarded with a new hire that’s eager to achieve tasks and exceed requirements. Your business’s new employee orientation also signifies the beginning of your relationship with a new employee – and that’s something you definitely want to get right!

In addition, a successful new employee orientation can help recent hires adjust to their role within your company from day one, which works to increase your organization’s retention rates and overall satisfaction. The more comfortable your employees feel on the job, the more likely they’ll stay with your organization for longer periods of time – which means fewer turnover costs down the line!

New Hire Orientation vs. Onboarding

Before we discuss how you can design an effective orientation plan for your organization, it’s important to first understand the difference between new hire orientation and onboarding. Although often used interchangeably, there are key differences between the terms “orientation” and “onboarding”.

Onboarding is an ongoing process that begins during hiring and continues until new hires have fully settled into their positions. Orientation, on the other hand, is a part of the onboarding process. Often a one-day event scheduled for the new hire’s first day, orientation includes activities that help recent hires establish a sense of belonging to their new organization.

How to Design a New Employee Orientation

It’s easy to see why employee orientation is so important. It’s a crucial part of your business and can be one of the most effective tools for getting new employees up to speed and fully integrated into their roles.

As you can imagine, though, there are a lot of factors that go into designing an effective employee orientation program. We’ve put together a list of considerations to help you design a consistent orientation plan suitable for your business.

Share the Agenda in Advance

Your new hires are probably feeling a little nervous about starting a new job. One of the best things you can do to help ease some of this stress is to send them their orientation agenda in advance. Not only does this help them prepare for what lies ahead, but it also helps with reducing those first-day jitters that come with starting a new job.

A few days prior to the orientation send your new hires the agenda detailing exactly what they can expect from the orientation. This will help ensure they feel confident and prepared when it’s time for their first day.

Set Time Aside for Paperwork

New hires often become overwhelmed by the vast amount of paperwork they have to fill out and sign when they start a new job. Set aside some time during orientation to go over all the paperwork so they know exactly what to expect and how to complete it. This will help avoid any confusion or mistakes, which in the end makes your job a lot easier.

Provide New Employees With a Welcome Package

When new employees start at your company, it’s important to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. A welcome package of orientation materials and relevant information can help them feel more at home in their new role.

Your welcome package could include your mission statement, the contact information for key people in the office, and any other useful documents. You could even go above and beyond by including some branded items like a t-shirt, mug, or stickers – anything that helps your new employee feel like part of the team!

Provide a Tour of the Office

One of the best ways to get new employees acclimated to their new roles is to give them a tour of where they’ll be spending their 9 to 5s. Even if they’ll be working a hybrid schedule, it’s important to show them the space that is theirs, as well as the spaces where they can meet with other team members.

A tour of their new workplace will help your recent hires feel more comfortable in their new environment, which in turn will make them more productive when it comes time for work.

Introduce Managers and Other Staff Members

Your new employees are probably eager to get to know the people they’ll be working with. Orchestrating a time during orientation when new hires can meet the team is a great way to increase comfortability and ease some of those first-day jitters.

You could also have managers and supervisors meet with new hires one-on-one or in small groups to talk about the company’s mission, history, and/or recent projects.

Be Mindful of Information Overload

Orientation is supposed to be an exciting time for new hires, but it can quickly become overwhelming. Make sure your new employees aren’t getting overloaded with information by keeping orientation sessions short, sweet, and exciting.

Divide up the process into multiple days if possible and incorporate breaks between each day. Consider splitting up particularly extensive topics, like benefits, into chunks that you can cover over the course of several sessions. Each session shouldn’t extend beyond an hour, so make sure there’s plenty of time for questions and answers.

Organize Fun Team-Building Activities

If you’ve ever been through new employee orientation, you know all too well how boring it can be. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to turn orientation into an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

A simple team-building activity or icebreaker can go a long way toward making sure that your new hires feel comfortable. Plus, there’s nothing better than showing off your company culture and making sure everyone feels like they’re part of the team from day one.

5 Safe Work Practices to Include in New Employee Orientations

The most important part of new employee orientation isn’t the company history or paperwork– it’s safety. Not only does it help recent hires understand how to do their jobs safely and efficiently, but it shows that you as an employer take safety seriously.

Here are five safe work practices to include when training your new employees:

1. Incorporate Hands-on Training

Before your recent hires can start their new positions, they’ll require supervised hands-on training. This will ensure that they have the skills needed to complete their assignments safely and with the utmost confidence.

With this safe work practice, staff are trained to do the following:

  • Perform tasks safely
  • Operate machines and equipment safely
  • Use and maintain required personal protective equipment
  • Follow safety procedures 

2. Stress the Importance of Safety

Everyone has a right to a safe workplace, and everyone has a role to play in keeping it safe. Recent hires must understand what their rights and responsibilities are in maintaining a safe working environment as well as the rights and accountabilities of supervisors and employers.

In addition to offering a safe working environment, as an employer you also need to ensure that new employees receive the proper training – from equipment usage to safety procedures.

3. Ensure New Workers are Aware of all Hazards

When new employees are brought on, it’s important to make sure they know about all of the hazards that exist in their new workplace. Even if you think a hazard is obvious or self-explanatory, it’s best to make sure your new hires are aware of it.

You should also explain what systems are in place to minimize the hazard. For example, if you know that your employees will be working in a small space and there’s a chance they could get trapped, you might have an emergency exit nearby so they can escape if necessary.

4. Notify Recent Hires About Specific Safe Work Procedures

Whether you’re working in an office, factory, or at a construction site, you’ll find that each workplace has its own safe work practices. While each of these procedures varies in length and complexity, they do have one thing in common – recent hires must be trained in them.

The best way to ensure that new hires learn about their workplace’s safe work practices is through a training program that includes both formal and informal instruction, as well as demonstrations and application of knowledge. This kind of program will provide you with an opportunity to evaluate the new employees’ skills and understanding, which will help you decide whether or not they’re ready for their first day on the job.

5. How to Report Unsafe Conditions

When a new employee starts at your organization, it’s imperative to their safety and the safety of others that they know how to report unsafe conditions.

Ensure there are clear policies in place that outline what constitutes an unsafe condition, whom employees should go to with those concerns, whether a construction site manager, supervisor, or employer and how the company will respond once a report has been made.

Leave Warning Lights to SWS

While you work hard training the next generation of employees, you can trust SWS to handle all your warning light needs. From beacons to minibars and everything else in between, you can always count on SWS Warning Lights to deliver a full line of handcrafted products designed to keep your fleet safe.

Contact us today to discover how our expansive line of products can exceed your safety requirements, no matter the application.

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