4 Tips for Successful Employee Orientation at Your Small Business

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Employee orientation helps your new staff members get accustomed to your business and understand its culture. Employees who have an successful orientation are likely to feel more comfortable in their role, which can result in increased productivity and improved employee retention.

Avoid Information Overload

Employees can only process a certain amount of information in one day. Along with attempting to make sense of a large amount of orientation material, new hires are trying to learn each person’s name and role at your business. Structure your orientation program to minimize the amount of information you provide new team members on their first day to help avoid information overload. Send employment forms to new staff before they start to reduce administrative tasks on their first day. Consider storing information that new employees require in a manual or on your intranet, where they can reference it when needed.

Treat Employee Orientation As a Process

Manage your employee orientation more efficiently by treating it as a process, not an event. Instead of trying to squeeze orientation into a single day, conduct it over several months. Explain to your new staff that the orientation process is a period when they can get extra support and guidance. For instance, you could implement a buddy program, where you assign each new team member to a co-worker who can answer their questions and provide on-the-job training. Conducting your orientation program over several months allows new employees to ask for assistance as they continue learning about how your business operates.

Make the First Day Informal

Organize an informal first day for your employees. Treating orientation as a process allows you to introduce new staff to your business gradually. Make starting team members feel welcome by inviting their partners and children on their first day. If you run a family business,, this can share your company’s intimate culture. Consider organizing a midmorning break for new employees. For example, ask your team to stop work for 20 minutes to enjoy a tea or coffee and some cake with your new staff; this facilitates introductions at a more personal level. Allow new employees to finish the day early so they don’t get overwhelmed.

Conducting an Orientation Program Review

Improve your business’s orientation program by reviewing it regularly. At the conclusion of each new team member’s orientation period, carry out an interview, asking what improvements could enhance the process. For instance, you could ask if there were material they could have received that would have helped them perform their role more effectively. Use the feedback collected with data analytics software to help your human resources team make a more informed decision about structuring your orientation activities. Running an effective employee orientation program helps your new hires successfully integrate with your business. Get the most from your orientation plan by reducing the information intake on the first day, viewing it as a process as opposed to an event, organizing a relaxed first day, and reviewing the process.

References & Resources

Related Articles

Smooth Transitions Before Pending Employee Departures

If you are in business long enough, you’ll lose employees eventually. Employees…

Read more

Using Performance Management Software for Small Business Development

As a small business owner with a correspondingly small team of employees,…

Read more

Step-by-step Guide to Managing Successful Employee Performance Reviews

A system of regular employee performance reviews benefits both your company and…

Read more