Employee orientation refers to the process of introducing new employees to their jobs, co-workers and work environment. Employee orientation can also be defined as the process of receiving and welcoming new employees when they first join the company. [Gary Dessler 1942]. During orientation, employees are made aware of the mission and vision of the organization, policies and programs of the organization. They are also given the necessary information required to perform their duties such as working hours, place of work, performance standards, benefits and facilities and names of other immediate officers.
TYPES OF ORIENTATION
This involves use of a structured management program which is adhered to by the new entrant. New employees may be assigned specific mentors who guide through pre-determined lessons and then evaluate their progress every step of the way. Formal employee orientation programs may include classroom learning, online and video learning modules, and hands-on training conducted over a certain period of time.
This involves the new entrant acquainting him or herself with place, procedures, and the policies of the organization. In informal orientation, new hires are directly put on the jobs and are expected to mix up themselves with the work and the organization.
OBJECTIVES OF ORIENTATION
Organizations spend a few weeks or months carrying out orientation. The objectives for orientation include the following;
To ensure high levels of job satisfaction
Organizations that provide new employee orientation generally experience higher levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover rates. This is because the employees that are oriented generally appreciate their jobs and thus value them.
To reduce anxiety of employees
Anxiety can greatly affect the performance of the employee at work. So through orientation, the anxiety is reduced by providing employees with information about their jobs and supervisors. They are also introduced to their co-workers and encourage them to ask questions. To give new employees a sense of belonging to a team
According to Maslow, belonging is one of the needs of human beings. It’s therefore crucial for the new employees not to feel out if place. The aim of orientation is to make the new employees to feel welcome and part of the organization. This boosts them to work hard so as to achieve the organizational goals. Usually employers use terms like “associates” and “team members” that suggest employees are individuals who comprise one group focused on a common goal. To provide a full explanation of work place policies
Becoming familiar with applicable rules makes performing job duties and tasks easier and knowing work place guide lines minimizes apprehension or an employee’s fear of doing something wrong. To give time to the new employees to adjust themselves to the new environment When orienting, the new employees are acquainted with all the possible information they need to perform their work. With this information, the employees are able to adjust themselves to the requirements of the organization. The employees are also able to decide whether to work with the company or not. To provide new employees information about their job
This information may include the job expectation, key performance measures of the position and who to report to.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ORIENTATION
Retention begins on the first day on the job. Using a well planned multi-dimensional process for employee integration can improve employee retention to be as much as 25%. The key is to integrate new employees socially and emotionally, while streamlining the process. Below are tips for a successful orientation Tip 1: On boarding
On boarding refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors to become effective organizational members. It’s important to have a smooth on boarding process where the company is prepared to welcome the new employee on the first day of work. The first day should be a welcome celebration showing them that you are happy they have joined your organization.
Tip 2: Acclimation
Acclimation is becoming accustomed to a new environment. Usually joining a new company is like going to a new place. Everything is different – the people, the systems, the language and the culture. Through Acclimation the new employees become familiar with the work environment by developing aides to help them to do their work. Employees should be provided with support tools such as acronym dictionaries, process diagrams, checklists, organizational charts, phone lists. These types of tools help them feel comfortable in their work, and enable them to begin to be productive immediately. Ensure new employees are familiar with the following; emergency action plan and other building and safety information such as evacuation routes and locations of fire exits, extinguisher and alarm stations.
Tip 3: Integration
An emotional connection develops when new employees really get to know their co- workers and create friendships with others in the workplace. This connection strengthens employees’ desire to stay with the company. It’s therefore crucial to create opportunities for new employees to meet other employees in the company beyond those in their immediate work group.
Tip 4: Relationship Management
In order to sustain employees in the organization for a longer period of time, it’s important to build lasting relationships. This can be achieved by having regular one-on-one conversations with management, going out to lunch together and getting to know each other as people. Have the new employee work with a “mentor”. However, the mentor must demonstrate exemplary behaviour and expected performance. The senior management can plan regular events, such as a monthly breakfast, where they can meet with new employees and share ideas. Alignment of goals within the organization can produce a competitive advantage for your organization.
Tip 5: Expectations
Employees join the company with expectations from the company. Also the managers have a lot of expectations from the new employee. So it’s important for both parties to share these expectations. Management should find out what the new employee expects, encourage them to ask questions because many issues that are taken for granted are unknown to the new employee. Persuade new employees to be proactive and network. Assign them the task to find out how their job provides value within the overall organization. Set specific performance goals with new employees. Assign an immediate goal of getting to know the organization and the job. Encourage the new employees to create their own network within the organization. Align their performance expectations with the organization through mutual goal setting.
BENEFITS OF ORIENTATION
Employee orientation benefits the organization by providing an opportunity to introduce employees to the fundamentals of the company and their jobs from an administrative standpoint. Employees benefit from learning the important rules and details of the job and position. During orientation employers will verify any licenses or certifications required for the job. Employees will complete necessary paperwork, receive and review the employee handbook, learn about and sign up for benefits and learn about some very fundamental elements of the new position, parking arrangements, where the cafeteria and restrooms are.
Reduction of costs
Orientation enables employees to adjust quickly and learn the “ground rules” of the company. This helps reduce start-up, training, and other indirect costs associated with having new employees who are unfamiliar with the company.
Orientation conserves manager, supervisor, and peer time. Answering the most common questions posed by new employees saves everyone else the time in answering, explaining, and clarifying issues. Thus concentration is put on the vital issues that facilitate the attainment of organizational goals. Establishment of employee positive attitude
Orientation establishes a positive, can-do attitude at the beginning of a new employment situation. Learning job responsibilities, expectations, and the corporate “attitude” of their new employer makes employees feel both comfortable with and knowledgeable about their new job and the level of performance that the company wants. Reduction of new employee stress factor
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety and stress when starting a new job at a new workplace. Efficient new employee orientation programs have been proven to significantly reduce this stress and bring it down to a manageable level. Reduction of stress facilitates quick learning and thus better performance, higher job satisfaction, better job performance and greater organizational commitment.
Creation of a sense of acceptance
New employees have a strong desire to be accepted, they attempt to internalize the way things are done in the organization and make it their way too. Through orientation programs, the employees are able to socialize with other employees and thus are able to learn and perform the desired behavior.
CHALLENGES FACED DURING ORIENTATION.
The size of a firm affects orientation.
The smaller the organization, the easier and shorter it takes to orient the new employees. When the organization is large, the more bureaucratic it becomes and the longer it takes to orient new employees. This may lead to some important information being left out. Thus, may cause slow employee performance and high rate of errors.
Orientation can be costly especially when the new employees are many. There might be need to carry out seminars, obtain training programs, acquire mentors or facilitators and all this is costly.
Information overload is a description given to the phenomenon where so much in formation is taken in by the human brain that it becomes nearly impossible to process it. The new employees may become over loaded with information especially where the organization is large. A lot of information may be lead to confusion, difficulty in identifying the details and the overall perspective. This affects the productivity of the new employee. Knowledge gap and lack of skills on the part of the mentors
Mentors for the new employees may lack certain vital knowledge and skills in particular areas. Such knowledge inefficiencies may be passed on to the new employee. Too much paper work New employees may be overwhelmed with a lot of paper work to fill in. This may include documents like Code of conduct oath, Medical benefit forms, HR policy agreement forms, Job Expectation form and many others. These may be too much for the new employee. Too much of one-way communication (over dominance by the mentor) The mentors may not be trained appropriately. So in the process of mentoring the new employees, they may not give room for feedback from the employees. This results to one –way communication. So employees are left with unanswered issues that may crucial to the performance of their work.
Lack of follow up
Usually, after availing the new employees with the basic information like the mission, vision, job expectations, there is lack of a follow up by the mentors to monitor the performance of the new employees. This slows the employees’ productivity and reduces morale.
No evaluation of program
The human resource teams many times don’t evaluate the orientation programmes. They are not therefore able to improve on the weak areas that exist. This results to inefficient and ineffective orientation process.
SOLUTIONS TO THE CHALLENGES OF ORIENTATION
* Motivate the new employees: Influence them to achieve organizational goals. This can be achieved by satisfying the employee needs. * Give new employees current contact lists and job aids to help decrease initial information overloads. Continue to add new knowledge in stages than availing the information at once. * Ensure that the new employee is not left alone to find his or her own way in the new organization. Help them feel comfortable and welcome. * Distribute appropriate workloads at each stage of orientation. * Ensure two-way communication. The employees should be given chance to ask questions. In order to clarify various areas and also to enable the mentor to evaluate the results of the orientation process. * Hotlines. Supervisors can also consider developing hotlines to report forms of harassment and discrimination.
Placement is the assignment or re-assignment of an employee to a new job. Placement also refers to the allocation of people to jobs. It includes initial assignment of new employees and promotion, transfer or demotion of present employees. It involves assigning specific rank and responsibility to an individual. It implies matching the requirements of the job with the qualifications of the candidate and once he is fitted into the job, he is given the activities he has to perform.
TYPES OF PLACEMENT
Contingency Direct-Hire placement
While employees in an organization can have a strong history of meeting and beating tight time lines and aggressive commitment schedules, in some cases finding the rare individual with truly unique skills, knowledge, education and a proven track record of success trumps the immediate need to refill an opening. Organizations use recruiting firms to hire these employees and place them in positions.
This is where an organization occasionally has the need to place a number of candidates into several different positions within a predefined time period.
Retained Direct-Hire placement
Organizations frequently have a defined picture of what skills, experience, education and track record a professional would require to be successful. Organizations themselves recruit and place such employees. Temporary placement: Sometimes because of holidays, illness or leaves granted due to government communications, it is necessary to temporarily replace someone in the organization for the duration of the absence.
The temp-to-hire scenario is becoming more popular these days. This is where both employer and employee seek to “try before you buy”. It allows both parties to get to know each other and should they agree, the placement will become a permanent position.
CHALLENGES OF PLACEMENT
Placement however is faced with a number of challenges as discussed below: Misfit; this involves placing an individual in a position that does not suit them in terms of educational requirement or skills. Jobs are often adjusted according to qualifications or requirements of the person rather than the requirements of the job Nepotism; this involves placing employees of a certain tribe, religion and gender in a particular position. This is discrimination and most times results from Human Resource department or top management.
Challenges with coping with organizational cultures for example Muslim funded organizations require a certain way of dressing in certain positions. This will affect employees who are not Muslims since their dress codes and ways of living within the organization might be restricted by policies. Work place diversity; this includes but not limited to age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, race, geographical location, marital status. New employees placed in a position have to learn how to interact and behave within an organization with different kinds of people.
SOLUTIONS TO THE CHALLENGES OF PLACEMENT
Organizing talents strategically
There is a necessity to understand and organize the diverse talents of employees. It helps determine how a diverse work force can enable the company to attain new markets and other organizational goals.
Motivation can be defined as the influence that makes us do things to achieve organizational goals. This is as a result of our individual needs being satisfied thus employees placed need to be motivated.
Use of reward systems
This refers to incentive plans that involve employees in a common effort to improve organizational performance for example through gain sharing that is based on the concept that resulting incremental economic gains are shared among employees and the company.
Use of executive information systems (EIS)
This refers to a unified collection of computer hardware and software that track the essential data of a business daily performance and present it to managers as an aid in planning and decision making. A well managed EIS will help find out exactly what information decision makers would like to have available in the HR management, and then include it in the EIS.
Other solutions include;
Individuals should be placed on the job according to the requirements of the job. The employee should be made well aware of the working conditions prevailing in the company and all things related to the job. The job should be offered to a person according to his qualifications. Placement should neither be higher nor lower than qualifications. The placement should be ready before the reporting date of the newly selected personnel.
A CASE STUDY OF PLACEMENT AND ORIENTATION
SWT Tanners is a leading company in Importation and Distribution of Pakistan Rice. New employees are recruited and placed into different positions in the company in various departments such as Finance, Operations, Administration and others. Once employees are placed, Orientation process begins.
Formal Orientation is used in this company. New entrants are given variety of policy manuals to read. After which, employees are introduced to different departmental members. The employee is usually taken on a tour of the organization’s premises to get acquainted with the other employees. Good Points: This helps the company to maintain their employees and reduction in labor turnover thus making them feel at home and welcome to the new workplace. Bad Points: It is expensive (cost-wise) when orienting new entrants. However, though there were some costs involved, Orientation and Placement process has helped SWT Tanners to maintain their employees serving for a long period of time in the company.
A well-defined and conducted Orientation and Placement program can improve much of the apprehension new employees have when beginning a new job or career. A co-operative effort involving the Human Relations department and the new employee’s department is crucial in getting the new employee off to a good start. Whether an organization is large or small, it must have an effective Orientation and Placement system. It can help instill in those who join any company a sense of purpose and a feeling that they are part of a professional and caring organization.
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