Management Matters

The Importance of a Structured Staff Orientation Program

Date Posted: 04/24/2015

Here is an excited new recruit, starting a new job in your organization, at a new location, maybe outside his/her home country. On the first day, the HR manager hands the new recruit over to the department head to set up his/her orientation on the job, wishes them well and departs expecting the new person to become productive in the shortest time. This is obviously not the ideal introduction for any new recruit to the organization, nor to his/her role. It’s also unfair to expect the extremely busy department head or manager to put aside other work pressures and take responsibility for the entire orientation process. The new recruit ends up drifting for a long time and under no circumstance can you expect the person to start performing anytime in the near future, simply because he/she has not been suitably orientated.  Industry experts estimate that the cost of the productivity that is lost as new recruits coming up to speed is 33% of their annual salary!  That’s four months of wasted time.

Ironically, while most organizations adopt some form of orientation programs, many don’t have a structured and effective orientation course because they have not seriously considered this as a critical area in HR. New recruits are therefore left to learn what they can on their own under a cursory program or to learn whatever they can as they go along in their new assignments.

New recruits need to be given the information they need in an easily accessible manner in order for them to perform their duties correctly and efficiently.  With the following simple steps, an organization can reduce the time it takes to train a new recruit by up to 80%:

•  Make a list of all the tasks the new recruit needs to perform.  This list can be in the form of a chart or diagram which will allow both the new recruit and the trainer to see, at a glance, what tasks need to be done.

•  For each task, carefully document the steps that must be performed in a flowchart or a timeline for tasks that have a deadline.

•   All these documentations including the tasks list, flowchart, timeline as well as all kind of forms, company policies, etc. should be stored on a server that can be accessed by all staff and becomes an important resource for your organization.

A good staff orientation program should:

•   Explain the Corporate Philosophy.

Organizational philosophy guiding all aspects of its endeavors; past and future, must be clearly communicated to new recruits. It should be explained how such philosophy is consistent with present corporate goals. This creates a platform on which the recruits will need to function as the organization expects.

•  Explain the Organizational Structure.

The manpower structure covering hierarchy, power delegations, line and administrative functions, Board memberships, etc. need to be informed to new recruits for an overview of who-is-who in the organization. Recruits need to become familiar with who the key management members are, including operational and ‘back-office’ support departmental heads, and who to refer to on various issues, as may be necessary.

•   Discuss Methods and Processes.

For standardization, the larger the organization, the more pre-determined are the methods and processes of execution of work leaving no options to the staff to devise their own systems of working. Therefore your organization’s established methods need to be known to new recruits. An introduction to such methods and systems should be covered in the orientation.

•   Introduce the Position.

Spell out primary and secondary job requirements of the role to ensure that the new recruits understand what is actually required of them.  How they’re expected to perform and how their work will be judged.

•  Distribute the Employee Handbook.

Finally, an Employee Handbook should be distributed to the new recruits to enable them to refer to the same on all aspects of the organization’s functioning, procedures, policies, standards of conduct, etc.,

In conclusion, who conducts the orientation has to be determined in advance, and ideally, both HR and department heads should be involved in structuring the content and extent of the orientation process. Having a curriculum and tight sequence will ensure that the course is not treated casually. Making recruits pay attention to detail will earn the organization respect as a no-nonsense institution, right from the start.

Need help in sourcing top quality staff?  Ikon – a full service facility – is here for you!

You can trust Ikon to find the best people for you and be certain that every detail of the hiring process is maximized in finding your ideal candidates. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future articles, please email us at [email protected].

We regret that replies cannot be addressed individually.

©2015 Ikon Solutions Asia, Inc.
All rights reserved.  No part of this article shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from Ikon.  No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein.  Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this article, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions.  Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein.

Ikon specifically disclaims any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this article.