Organizational Wellness

7 Best Practices to Conduct an Effective New Hires Orientation

Jan 11, 2023
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

We’ve all been there — you arrive on your first day on the job. No communication other than a basic email that tells you when to show up. First challenge? Find out who to report to so you can get your day started.</span>

In the big deal; you understand a little disorganization. But once you find out where to go, you’re handed a long agenda of back-to-back meetings and trainings and reading to do in your spare time. That’s a lot of information to take in at once. And it can be overwhelming.</span>

It would have been nice to get some of this in advance so you could set your expectations and get acquainted with the basic company information from the readings in advance.</span>

This isn’t an exception — only </span

12% of employees</span> in the US think their companies </span
onboard employees</span> well, according to Gallup.</span>

We can make this process better. For human resources managers, it’s important to get new employees up to speed in a clear way that helps them feel confident instead of overwhelmed. A good first impression can lead to higher retention rates and more employee buy-in. In fact, Gallup also reports that 70% of employees with exceptional onboarding experiences report having “the best possible job.”</span>

As you evaluate your current new hires orientation process and your management onboarding process, keep these seven best practices in mind to provide a smooth transition for employees into their new roles.</span>

  1. Create Repeatable New Hires Orientation Templates

Systems are the best way to ensure new hires receive timely and consistent information about their new role. Your orientation program should be a set of repeatable templates you can re-use for every new hire — with specific versions depending on roles you frequently hire for.</span>

Consider including the following in your employee orientation templates:</span>

  • Essential new hire paperwork</span>
  • welcome email</span>
  • Schedule of essential meetings and trainings</span>
  • Resources you need to send new hires, like an employee handbook</span>
  • Checklist of tools to give new hires access to, like company software and their email account</span>
  • Process for introducing the employee to essential contacts like their manager and an onboarding buddy</span>
  • Send a welcome gift</span>
  • Set up their work area</span>

Creating a new employee orientation template will save you time and ensure all essential tasks are completed.</span>

  1. Send New Hires a Welcome Letter

Send new employees a </span

welcome letter</span> that covers essential information new hires need to know before their first day.</span>

This can include an orientation schedule, who to report to, resources they need to read before their first day, account access, and other important contact information. Add a little information on company culture to get them excited and remind them that you’re excited for them to join the team.</span>

By providing new hires with essential information upfront, you can help set their expectations for their first week on the job. This can help ease new employees’ anxiety or nerves about getting up to speed in their new role.</span>

  1. Share an Agenda

Give new employees a clear idea of ​​their schedule by building out an agenda with all their orientation sessions and activities. This will be helpful for both new hires and their managers. New team members will know what to expect each day. And managers can understand where the new hire is in the orientation process.</span>

In the agenda, include the time of each event, the location or virtual meeting link, who is hosting it, and a short description.</span>

  1. Make Their First Day Welcome

On a new employees’ first day, go the extra mile to greet them warmly and provide a comfortable work environment. Introduce new hires to their manager and any other essential team members they will interact with during orientation. This will help a new hire feel supported and like they’re part of the team from the beginning of their new job.</span>

Send out an announcement to current employees introducing the new hire and encouraging them to stop by — or, for remote employees, send a virtual hello so they feel welcome.</span>

If you have an in-person office, invite new hires to a group lunch or set them up with a lunch buddy, so they don’t eat alone. And host some </span

team-building activities</span> to build comfort and trust with their coworkers (but skip the trust falls, please!). Consider giving new employees gifts like a company t-shirt or a mug to make their workspace feel welcoming.</span>

  1. Make the Process Engaging and Interactive

Whether you use recorded materials or meet live with new employees, keep them actively engaged throughout the orientation process.</span>

One way is to give ample opportunity for interaction throughout orientation and avoid long lectures. Ask questions, have employees try things hands-on, or break them into discussion groups.</span>

You can also use different formats like videos and interactive quizzes throughout your orientation process.</span>

  1. Pair New Employees With an Onboarding Buddy

To help a new employee feel at home, consider assigning them a </span

buddy</span> who can check in frequently, answer questions, and provide support during the orientation process.</span>

Usually, this is a peer who has been with the company for a while and knows the ropes. It can be more comfortable for some new employees to reach out to a peer for help with certain questions rather than their manager since peers aren’t evaluating their job performance.</span>

  1. Include an Orientation Survey to Gather Feedback at the End

To ensure your new hires get everything they need from their first days with your company, include a </span

short survey</span> to understand how they felt about the orientation experience.</span>

Ask new employees to rate their satisfaction with different aspects of orientation, such as the materials used, time spent on various activities, and if they feel like they understand the company’s mission, values, and company policies.</span>

This information can be helpful in making adjustments to your new hire orientation process and ensuring new employees are set up for success.</span>

Engage Employees For the Long-Term</span>

With the right practices in place, you can create a positive new hire experience that helps new employees feel welcome and supported from day one. But this is just the start. As a new hire becomes a seasoned member of your staff, it’s important to keep them happy and engaged.

To keep valuable talent, provide competitive compensation, opportunities for growth, and a solid perks and benefits program. Gather feedback from employees through regular engagement surveys. Encourage work-life wellnessand create an environment of psychological safety. Then watch as the symbiotic relationship between work-life wellness and employee retentiontakes shape. 

Interested in learning more about how work-life wellness increases employee retention? Talk to aGympass wellbeing specialist today!


Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.