The Importance of Starting off on the Right Foot
When introducing a new hire to your workplace, where do you begin? Should they be thrown right in to the work with the hope that they will pick it up quickly and learn on the go, or should there be some sort of plan in place to familiarize them with the company before getting put in to their role for technical training? Looking from the point of view as a new employee, this first introduction to a new workplace is a crucial factor in determining their commitment to, and their longevity with, the employer.
In the busy world of tourism, there are many times that the orientation process can get lost due to high demand for products and the lack of workers available, so the new employees are left to either figure it out themselves or move on from the company before giving it a chance. It is a proven fact that those employers who provide specialized orientation training typically have lower turnover rates, higher staff satisfaction, and have a better knowledge of the company, industry, and overall standards to strive towards. This leads to the question,
What should be included in the orientation process?
Depending on the company, orientation could include the very basics such as; a tour of the facility, introductions to key staff members, and filling out any additional paperwork (ie. tax forms). Keep in mind, this is the bare minimum when it comes to orientation and in the long-run will not be the most effective introduction to your business. Orientation begins even before that new hire enters the workplace and starts with the management team when they are first offering a candidate a position with the company, as this sets the stage for their entire career with this business.
You’re not just recruiting employees, but are sowing the seeds of your reputation.
From the management perspective, prior to making the call to offer the candidate work in your company you need to have your plan set. You need to have their first day of work planned so that you can tell them what time to be there, who to ask for, any documents to bring, and generally what they can expect out of the day. Typically it is recommended that their first day be a shorter shift, around the 4-hour mark, so that they are not overwhelmed by the influx of information and can take the time to absorb the key information.
Fast-forward to their first day of work with your company. They arrive at the place of business you had directed them to when the position had been accepted and they ask for the person they had been told to ask for. Now it’s time to create that person’s first impression of you – the company and make it a good one! This first impression will be lasting in the mind of the employee and it may determine whether they see themselves as a long-term employee, or a short-term employee with the business. As the employee/manager who is given the task of providing that first impression, they need to embody the company and the company’s values in a very positive and upbeat way to get the employee excited about working with the business as well.
The first step on welcoming a new employee to the workplace is showing them where to keep their belongings. Get to know them as people as you’re showing them the first step of every shift on where to keep their items. The first day is all about making the new employee feel comfortable in a new environment and finalizing essential stages of the onboarding process. After putting away any personal items, it’s time for the tour of the facilities. Depending on the company, this could be very quick, or if there are multiple buildings/areas, it could take much longer. As you pass people, it is always recommended to make introductions and explain their roles with the company, especially if the new employee will be working directly with these people. After the tour, this a good opportunity to sit down with the employee and complete tax forms, as well as go over the company policies and procedures. It is always recommended to provide a copy of these policies and procedures to each employee and to also highlight any policies that have consequences up to and including termination. Any policies that have these consequences should include an area to have the employee initial or sign, plus date, to ensure they understand that if they fail to comply, they are subject to these measures. These signed sections should also be included in their personal file and reviewed/re-signed annually with management.
The way your employees feel is the way your customers feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.
– Sybil F. Stershic
Once this stage is complete, it is time for the employee to learn more about what the company is, and learn the history behind it. This can be done in many ways, from a simple verbal explanation, to having a full presentation on products/services/history or a storyline provided in written form so they can review on their own time.
Depending on how long this all takes, there may be an opportunity job shadow for the remainder of the first day. Rather than just throwing an employee in and saying go, it may be a better option for you to pair the employee with another employee in the same role, or ave them shadow you as the trainer. This allows for the new employee to see the different responsibilities of the position they are going in to and provide them with the opportunity to understand the company practices first-hand in the real workplace setting.
On ending their first day with the company, you also want to have the conversation with them on how the day went. How do they feel? Are they enjoying their time so far? Really taking an interest in making sure that they know you are available if they need any help can make all the difference in the mind of a new employee.
Author: Brysan Cumming, TIAPEI HR Advisor
This project is funded in whole or in part by the Canada/Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreements.