The Importance of an Effective Orientation

An orientation is merely an introduction of your company to the new employee and of this new person to your business; your clients, products and services, and the way you conduct business. Many new employees become frustrated and decide that accepting the job offer was a mistake because you, the new employer did not take the time to orient him or her to the new job.

Many business owners and managers do not understand the value of orientation programs in their organizations and are resentful of the time new employees spend in them. Good orientations make a big difference in organizational results. If employees are not properly introduced into the organization to learn the Mission Statement and how their fellow employees treat one another and the client, how can they possibly contribute to production, quality, and customer service as effectively as you want?

How would you want to be introduced to your peers? New surroundings, people to interact with, equipment and styles of working can be difficult for the new employee, especially if the employee feels like they are being thrown into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. Circumvent that discomfort through preparation!

Before the new employee starts, prepare an agenda or checklist of who will explain what, to whom the person should be introduced, and what is expected by the end of the day, the week, or the month.

This is important because whether you realize it or not, employees will get an orientation. Unfortunately, it often isn’t the one you want them to get. Don’t be caught in a situation where, if asked, the employee says they are bored, overwhelmed, confused, ready to leave, etc.. Too often new employees are treated much like a demolition derby or a speed race – they are bombarded with too much information and raced off to their next destination.

Placing an employee manual in a new employee’s hands and speaking once with them about what they need to know, is similar to teaching a youngster to drive a car by giving him a manual and letting him ride with you to the store. Just as studies have proven that new drivers must be provided with visual, hands-on, as well as verbal communication aids throughout the driver education process, so must new employees be given aids and assistance.

It has also been shown that doing a task more than once helps to ensure that the information necessary to do the job has been received. Thus, just as we keep checking on the skills of a new driver, we need to continue to check on the new employee, more often at first, then less and less as time goes by.

Good orientations impact your bottom line. They have the ability to allow your employees to be more productive and more engaged in your enterprise quickly. The more welcoming and supportive you are to your new employees, the better chance you have of ensuring a longer working relationship and better your profits.

A good orientation will present:

• Company culture

• An understanding of how things are done and who to go to

• An explanation of what is expected by the company

• What the employee can expect from the company (benefits, hours, special programs, etc.)

Use the guidelines above rather than being shown to a desk, given a manual to read, and left to figure things out alone. Just imagine how much information is NOT given to a new employee in this type of orientation.

Then, imagine what they think of their new job!

Bottom line – take time to prepare for the new employee in an organized and effective manner.


Lola Kakes is the CEO and chief visionary of, an Internet based human resource management system for small to mid-sized companies. Lola developed as an affordable, comprehensive program to give entrepreneurs time to focus on their business while developing their employees.

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