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The Expert Guide to New Hire Orientation: Tips and Essentials

Turn your new hires into long-term assets with Motion’s expert-guided tips and best practices for impactful new hire orientation.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Oct 5, 2023
Table of contents

Starting a new job, while exciting, can also be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, a solid new hire orientation can turn first-day jitters into a positive drive.

Eighty-six percent of employers believe that new hires decide to stay at a company within their first 90 days. Giving them the right tools, information, and a glimpse into the company culture through a well-executed new hire orientation helps new employees feel valued, confident, and ready to dive into their roles.

In this guide, we break down how to ensure your new hire orientation sets up your new hires — and your company as a whole — for long-term success.

Why do you need new hire orientation?

New hire orientation helps employees navigate any initial uncertainties they may have about their new positions, laying the groundwork for them to develop confidence and quickly integrate into their new roles.

Here are some of the main benefits of a positive new hire orientation process:

Calms nerves

New hire orientation is like a good ice-breaker. It takes away the first-day jitters and helps make the employee feel welcome from the get-go. As a result, the employee is likely to feel more comfortable and build a faster rapport with the team.

Outlines expectations

Clearly defined expectations help new employees understand their roles and responsibilities from day one. Clarity also sets the stage for effective communication and aligns the new hire with the company’s goals and vision.

Boosts productivity and integration

When an employee understands their job and the company’s goals, they integrate faster into their team and the company culture as a whole. A solid orientation program not only improves the employee’s future productivity but also helps minimize mistakes down the line.

Reduces employee turnover

Large organizations often grapple with over 16% attrition within the first six months.

Fortunately, new hire orientation can significantly improve employee retention. Instilling confidence and demonstrating the company’s investment in its employees nurtures commitment and long-term loyalty.

New employee orientation vs. onboarding

New employee orientation and onboarding are often used interchangeably in the HR world. However, each plays a specific role in a new employee’s journey.

Employee orientation and onboarding comparison

‎Onboarding refers to the entire process of integrating an employee into a company. It begins once the employee is hired and continues until they have fully settled into their position — which can sometimes last weeks, months, or even longer.

An employee orientation program, however, is a part of the onboarding process — typically a one-time event that happens early on. Its purpose is to give new employees a quick snapshot of your company’s ethos, values, expectations, and team introductions.

While an orientation offers an introductory view, the employee onboarding process does a deep dive. The two work together to help ensure new employees are equipped, comfortable, and confident in their new roles.

6 things you need to cover in a new hire orientation

Use the following to set up a comprehensive new hire orientation process:

1. Organizational history

Organizational history means more than just dates and milestones. This part of the orientation should help the new employee understand the company’s essence.

Describe the company’s heritage and purpose to help the new hire draw a connection between its past achievements and future vision. This shows each employee that they are joining something meaningful and can become part of future innovations.

Introducing your company’s mission and vision statements can also help the new employee align their actions and decisions with the company’s goals.

2. Managerial team

Knowledge of the managerial hierarchy helps new hires understand who to report to and how the team is set up. When they meet their managers and other leaders early on, they get a clear idea of their immediate points of contact, growth path, and other departments they may work with.

Fostering early connections with the managerial team is also a good idea. Whether through a scheduled one-on-one meeting, a video introduction, or even an informal coffee chat, these interactions create a sense of familiarity and trust. This not only aids in open communication but also smoothens any transition-related bumps the new employee might experience.

3. Policies and procedure

Every company has its own processes. Company policies and procedures are a beacon for new hires, guiding them in how to function within the company. By providing them with these guidelines, you’re essentially handing them a roadmap for how the company operates.

Not only do clear policies and procedures offer a consistent approach to tasks and challenges, but they also help minimize potential misunderstandings. Being upfront about what’s expected and how things are done helps new employees understand their responsibilities and the standards they need to uphold. This means fewer mistakes and less confusion.

4. Job description

Detailed job descriptions, including typical daily tasks and potential long-term projects, help new hires know how they fit into the broader organization. Clearly outlined roles give them a sense of purpose and significance. They will realize they’re not just another cog in the machine but a vital component of the company’s success.

Male worker with job description

‎Additionally, a well-defined job description helps employees set the right goals and efficiently prioritize their tasks. This clarity helps avoid overlaps and gaps in responsibilities, ensuring a smoother workflow from the beginning.

5. Goals and expectations

Knowing where you’re headed is essential to any journey, and the workplace is no exception. Setting company goals and expectations and communicating them to new hires from the outset sets the tone for their tenure in the organization.

Clear goals act as markers of success and give employees something concrete to strive toward. They also offer them a benchmark for performance, allowing both employees and management to gauge how well they’re doing.

Laying out expectations from the beginning removes the guesswork. This means employees can focus on achieving — and even surpassing — these expectations.

6. Payroll process

An important aspect of any job, of course, is getting paid. This means offering payroll information, from pay dates to benefit deductions, is a chance for companies to show new hires their transparency and organizational efficiency.

Transparency builds trust, especially when it comes to financial matters. Informing new hires how and when they’ll be compensated and any deductions they can expect ensures that there are no surprises for them come payday.

Clarity in payment processes can significantly boost new employees’ confidence and satisfaction.

5 new hire orientation best practices

Run an impactful new hire orientation with these insider tips:

1. Prepare beforehand

As the saying goes, “First impressions last.”

Your company’s new hire orientation is its first interaction with the new employee. Starting off on the right foot during the orientation process can make a big difference in the employee’s experience.

To leave a good and professional impression, make sure that all materials and agendas are prepped, organized, and ready to go before the day of the orientation. Your presentation to the employee, from how organized the session is to the quality of the materials provided, will play a significant role in shaping their first impression of the company.

Plan tasks into optimized schedule

‎For HR managers looking to streamline this preparation process, Motion’s task manager can be a lifesaver. Set up each preparation step as a task, and Motion will help you plan an optimized schedule to complete them. Moreover, you can save all your hiring paperwork, I-9 forms, notes, and attachments in one centralized location for easy access.

2. Have an agenda

Having a clear agenda for your new hire orientation program is a hallmark of a well-organized event. It not only guides the HR team but also lets new hires know what to expect.

Motion’s calendar can simplify this process for HR managers by automatically scheduling the day based on your orientation schedule. It helps ensure that enough time is allocated for each topic and activity, which not only reduces the stress of planning but also provides an easily shareable schedule for everyone involved.

 Automatically build your schedule

‎Remember to share the agenda — along with the employee handbook and dress code — with your new hire before the orientation. This will help them prepare mentally and ease any anxieties they might have.

3. Make it engaging

Making the new hire orientation engaging will help it resonate with new employees. An interactive session is more likely to be remembered than a monotonous lecture, and it can even create a stronger bond between the new hire and the company.

Here are some employee orientation ideas to make your process memorable and effective:

  • Gamification: Turn certain segments into a competition. Set up a points system for tasks completed or questions answered to make the process more fun and encourage participation.
  • Role-playing: Let the new hire act out different scenarios they might encounter in their job to help them process potential challenges and understand their role better — while also promoting team building.
  • Peer interaction: Allow new hires to interact with each other and future team members through group activities, project discussions, or even simple coffee breaks.

4. Avoid information overload

While it’s important to cover key topics during the orientation process, overwhelming new hires with too much information can be counterproductive or even deter them. Eight in ten workers experience information overload, which can increase stress.

A helpful tactic is to split up the orientation into sections or even days. Prioritize the most important elements, such as key responsibilities and safety protocols, on the first day and the less crucial ones later.

With Motion, you can easily share meeting availability and schedule orientations with new hires at times that fit everyone’s schedule.

Share availability and schedule meetings

‎Additionally, give the new hire plenty of breaks in between. These breaks aren’t just meant for the employee to stretch their legs; they also help the information the employee has learned to sink in.

Simplify HR tasks with Motion

Motion streamlines your HR responsibilities so that every new hire receives a consistent and enriching orientation experience. Get started with Motion today.

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog