Work Orientation: Its Meaning, Purpose, and How to Make it a Success

HR Management
Isabel de Jong-Fatal April 12, 2022 12 min read

Work orientation is key to helping your new employees feel welcome, fit in, and quickly get on the path toward productivity and success – a huge win-win for your company and employees.

New employee meets team during work orientation

Quick Guide

    What’s the fastest a new employee has ever left your company?

    You might be surprised to hear that 4% of new employees quit their job after their first day, and a whopping 22% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days. 

    Good news: a good work orientation program can help you prevent this from happening at your company.

    Hires who participate in a structured workplace orientation are 69% more likely to stay with their company for at least three years—that’s a significant return on your investment.

    What is Work Orientation?

    Work Orientation is when newly hired employees are welcomed to their new workplace and introduced to their job, company, work environment, and colleagues. This usually happens during their first few days of employment.

    Orientation programs generally include:

    • A tour of the workplace 
    • Introduction of coworkers, teams, and supervisors
    • Company presentations, including an introduction to policies and processes
    • Handling of new hire paperwork

    Why is Work Orientation Important for New Employees?

    The main purpose of employee orientation is to help new hires feel welcome and give them a clear understanding of their role and all the resources, equipment, and instructions they’ll need to perform their job. 

    Beyond that, there are many more reasons why successful job orientation is important.

    Employees Become Familiar with the Company Culture

    Work orientation is the best opportunity for you to help your new employees get familiar with the company on a deeper level. This includes your company’s mission, background, standards, and values defining the organizational culture.

    This, in turn, improves new employees’ ability to understand: 

    • Your company’s mission and values
    • Their place within the company 
    • What is expected of them 

    It also helps them:

    • integrate smoothly into the company’s working principles and culture
    • contribute toward the company’s objectives

    It Gives Employees an Introduction to Company Policies and Procedures

    Each company has its own unique set of guiding policies and procedures shaping the ways in which employees should conduct themselves. 

    This can include policies regarding the following:

    Introducing new employees to your company’s core values at this early stage and in an organized fashion will help them acclimate and act accordingly right from the start.

    Make sure that your company policies and procedures and other important information are accessible and easy to find for your employees. A digital knowledge base is an easy way to do this.

    Employee using Connecteam's Knowledge Base to find information

    It Reduces Confusion and Sets the Tone of the Job

    Work orientation is an excellent time to make sure that your new employees understand their role within your company and what is expected of them.

    This, in turn, helps eliminate any confusion your new hires might have regarding their position. It also allows them to set their expectations and thus potential anxiety of now knowing what to expect from the first weeks in the new job.

    Effectively communicating their overall importance and contribution to the company’s objectives will motivate them to perform their tasks even better.

    It Builds Positive and Productive Workplace Relationships

    Recruits can often struggle to build relationships with their coworkers and become part of a team.

    A workplace orientation program overcomes this hurdle by building up such relationships by welcoming and introducing new employees to the people they’ll be working with. 

    Make sure your new employees feel part of the team and are comfortable asking questions or raising any concerns. This will set the tone for lasting positive and productive relationships.

    It Improves Employee Retention

    It might sound obvious, but happy employees tend to stay with their companies. A good work orientation program gives new employees a positive first impression of their new work environment, boosts morale, motivation, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment in the short and long term.

    It Reduces Time to Productivity

    The first few weeks at any new job are usually marked by learning and absorbing new information–not so much by efficient work. By helping new hires get adjusted to their new role as fast as possible, they become productive sooner.

    Moreover, it increases your new workers’ ability to produce quality work that meets the company’s objectives and shortens the time needed to reach their full potential. 

    This helps them feel less tense and more comfortable and confident, which reduces misunderstandings and mistakes and increases workplace productivity levels.

    How Long Should Work Orientation Last?

    Typically, work orientation lasts from a few hours to a full workweek. The ideal length differs per company and largely depends on the complexity of the company and the new employee’s role. 

    Employee orientation is not to be confused with the generally longer process of onboarding, of which work orientation is only a small but crucial component.

    Create Your Work Orientation Program In Minutes

    Easily create highly customizable and engaging training courses and even add quizzes! With the click of a button, your mobile training is good to go!

    11 Steps to Make Work Orientation at Your Organization a Success

    Reduce First-Day Anxiety

    Starting a new job can be stressful. Ease your new employees’ anxiety by communicating what they should expect. 

    Before their first day, clearly communicate: 

    • At what time they should arrive 
    • Detailed directions on how to reach the workplace
    • To whom they should report 
    • Your dress code
    • Anything they need to bring, such as documents, tools, etc.
    • How they need to clock in and out

    Also, create a plan laying out the program for the employee’s first few days so that they will know what is coming up.

    Using an all-in-one employee management software will allow you to easily communicate with your employees working remotely and share important documents.

    Giving new hires a tour of the workplace and introducing them to their coworkers, team members, and supervisors will help everyone feel more at ease.

    Get Their Workstation Ready

    Prepare your new employees’ workstations and have any work-related items necessary to perform their job ready and waiting for them when they arrive.

    This can include:

    Also, make sure that someone is prepared to show them how everything works.

    For new employees working remotely, these items should be sent to them far enough in advance to be able to use them on their first day of work. 

    Also, make sure that someone is prepared to help them set up and show them how everything works.

    Welcome Them to the Team

    Give your new employees a warm welcome into their new team and be enthusiastic about their arrival. This will improve their sense of belonging and give an excellent first impression.

    Allow them to get to know their team members by setting up a team meeting or having lunch as a group.

    You can also add some nice perks to make the newcomers feel special. Create a welcome kit that includes a company t-shirt, notepad, and water bottles–who doesn’t like getting gifts? 

    Be sure to give your employees working remotely an equally welcoming experience.

    Prepare a Work Orientation Schedule

    Develop a schedule for your work orientation program covering everything your new employees need to know while keeping their needs in mind. 

    Keep the orientation specific and consistent, and avoid overwhelming your new hires by presenting them with too much information. Add in plenty of breaks to allow them to process everything and take a breather.

    To simplify this task, you can consider using a schedule maker app.

    Encourage your newcomers to ask questions and add a touchpoint with their supervisor at least twice a day. 

    Keep your work orientation program consistent for all new hires by creating or using an existing work orientation checklist

    Create a Visual Presentation

    Studies show that people absorb far more information that they hear and see, namely 50%, compared to just 20% of what they hear and 10% of what they read. 

    Instead of just telling your new employees the information they need to know, switch it up by adding a visual presentation. This provides visual and auditory stimulation to help keep your new employees engaged and absorb the information better.  

    For instance, this can be: 

    • a PowerPoint presentation giving a visual overview of what is presented 
    • an introduction video of the company

    Visual presentations can be saved and shared with your employees for future reference. That will save you time and effort.

    Such presentations are also easy to share with your employees who work remotely or do not work behind a desk, especially when using a team communication app.

    Group Work Orientation Sessions by Topic

    By grouping your work orientation by topic, you create a clear overview of the material and tasks covered in the program. 

    This also allows you to assign sessions to be managed by the relevant departments or people. 

    For instance, team leaders will handle tasks that familiarize new employees with their new work environment, such as:

    Whereas the HR department will handle administrative tasks, such as:

    • New hire paperwork
    • Providing necessary work-related items
    • Gathering feedback from employees after completing the process

    Make the Expectations for the Position Clear

    It is important to make sure that your new employees fully understand what is expected of them on the job and overall as part of the company.

    Some core expectations need to be communicated from day one. This can include that all employees must:

    • Do their best and take responsibility for their work
    • Act professionally
    • Be honest and have integrity
    • Accept that people can sometimes make mistakes 
    • Understand that respect is crucial in maintaining positive working relationships 
    • Seek help and guidance when needed
    • Be willing to learn new things regularly

    Also, communicating to your new employees what they will be evaluated on in the future will stimulate them to perform their job well.

    Give Them an Introduction to the Job They Were Hired For

    Your new employees will be excited to learn more about their new job–after all, that’s what they’re here for.

    Communicate what their day-to-day on the job looks like and what their overall tasks, responsibilities, and priorities are. 

    Give them an overview of any projects they will be working on. For example, you can present them with project information, such as: 

    • Some background
    • Who they will be working with
    • The importance of their role in successfully completing it

    Highlighting your employees’ importance within the company will motivate them to work hard toward the company’s mission and vision and internalize these goals.

    Show Them They Are Valued

    Beyond just communicating what is expected from the new employee and how they should do their job, it is essential to voice how the company values and rewards them for their hard work.

    All of your employees should understand the company system of how their performance is linked to positive employee recognition and promotion. 

    Studies show that by having recognition programs, your workers’ productivity, performance, and engagement are 14% higher than companies without them.

    They moreover need to be aware that the company offers an entirely fair and inclusive work opportunity where all of its employees can thrive.

    Employee receiving recognition during work orientation while using Connecteam

    Quiz Their Knowledge

    Preparing quizzes for your employees to take following orientation sessions is a fun and engaging way to test your employees understanding of the material and see if you managed to convey everything you wanted them to learn. 

    You can streamline the entire process of creating, filling out, and reviewing quizzes with the click of a button using an online quiz. This will also be easy to use with your remote and deskless employees. 

    Ask for Feedback About the Work Orientation

    There is always room for improvement in any workplace orientation. 

    Collecting feedback from your new employees after completing the work orientation is the perfect way to gain valuable insights into how to make the process better. 

    A great way to collect feedback is through an employee survey.

    Take note of any raised: 

    • Concerns
    • Suggestions for improvement
    • Questions 

    It is also a great opportunity to review their performance to make sure that the hire has settled in well. 

    On top of that, asking for feedback promotes employee engagement, enhancing their experience from the get-go. 

    Asking new employees for feedback has proven to improve your relationship by 91%.

    What Is a Work Orientation Checklist?

    A work orientation checklist is a checklist of all the elements you wish to include in your work orientation, from signing new employee forms to setting up their work area and presenting the company culture.

    It makes organizing orientation in work much easier as you will not have to create the program from scratch and helps you make sure nothing slips through the cracks. 

    Feel free to try out this New Employee Orientation Checklist Template.

    Are Work Orientation and Onboarding the Same?

    While orientation in work and an employee onboarding process both aim to help your new employees settle in, they are two different things. 

    Orientation starts on the first day of work and is more general in focus, welcoming new employees and introducing them to their new work environment. 

    Onboarding is a much longer process, typically a few weeks or months, and is more job and department-specific. It consists of a series of training and events, including workplace orientation, that help new employees integrate into their departments and develop into successful workers. 

    A strong onboarding process improves new employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%, along with many other benefits.

    Overall, work orientation is a key but only a small part of the onboarding process. Nevertheless, both are essential in setting your new hire up for success. 

    Now Let’s Get to Work

    So overall, it’s clear now that work orientation is key to welcoming your new employees and setting the tone for lasting positive and productive work relationships.

    And the best part is that it doesn’t even have to be hard.

    With the right tools and the right work orientation checklist, you can easily whip up a schedule for your newcomers.

    On top of that, there are some awesome software solutions, such as Connecteam, an award-winning employee management app that lets you easily create a work orientation program and share it with your employees right on their mobile devices. 

    And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

    Make Your Work Orientation Program a Breeze

    Easily create a workplace orientation program, share important documents, communicate with your employees and more, all from one app.

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