Human resource management is the focal point of modern day organizations as they gear towards enhancing their competencies in a highly competitive environment. As such, organizations have had to contend with numerous challenges ranging from changing technology to the lack of adequately skilled workers. Strategies, which ensure that organizations perform at their very best are a high-end commodity and all professionals involved are hard at work in order to devise the most effective of them. Human capital is critical in enhancing an organization’s core competency. Therefore, right from the initial stage of recruitment to full assimilation into the workplace, human resource departments ensure that human capital is developed efficiently. Inductions and orientations have become significant in human resource development and a constant feature in most training programs. As the words suggest, such programs serve to acquaint the employee with their new working environments and ensure that they adjust amicably.
Definition of New Employee Orientation
New Employee Orientation is a planned process whereby newly recruited employees are introduced and familiarized with their new workplace. This includes meeting their co-workers and being acquainted with other aspects of the organization. In addition, orientation may include such simple topics as the location of a particular department and such complex issues like career development. More often than not, orientation and induction are used together with orientation being reflected as the initial introductory stage and induction as the ongoing process of familiarization after orientation. Moreover, a distinction arises in the fact that orientation takes place within a short period contrary to induction, which is systematic, and spans throughout the employee’s first years of employment.
Objectives and Purposes of New Employee Orientation
Employers engage in long processes of employee recruitment and selection in search of individuals who are competent in their areas of specialization. As they do so, employers contemplate how the new recruits will serve their organization and realize high performance levels. It is important to note that getting the best value out of an employee’s abilities starts at their first encounter with the potential employer. Ideally, at this initial stage the employer must set them up for success. In order to do so, employers must put into consideration numerous aspects of human resource management, which, eventually serve as the objectives of the orientation and induction process.
Orientation and induction aims at enhancing comfort in new employees by reducing any anxieties or unresolved negative emotions. Induction programs need to consider the feelings experienced by employees during their initial days in the new workplace. Indeed, employees often exhibit tendencies of fear and reluctance to engage fully in their duties during their first days due to various issues. For instance, it is likely that a new employee will be unaware of where a particular department or is within the organization. They may fail to ask for directions because they are afraid or anxious about other employees’ perceptions of them. Consequently, there is a likelihood that they will waste time dwelling on their state of discomfort or trying to locate the department. Organizations can plan to have new employees oriented with various locations in order to ease their discomfort. Furthermore, employers aim at creating an impression by appealing to the employees’ psyche while assuring them of their remarkable competencies and abilities. In addition, orientations and inductions can involve having individual sessions with the new employees and instilling in them the organizational spirit of cooperation. This objective spills over to enhancing employee satisfaction and thus reducing turnover rates, absenteeism, and other hindrances to higher productivity.
Orientation and induction not only allows new employees to adjust to their new workplace but it also offers tentative information about their duties and responsibilities. Induction provides employees with knowledge on the organization’s structure and on how they can utilize different available resources in enhancing their performance. In gaining this knowledge, employees are able to develop reasonable expectations on their new roles. New employees often have limited knowledge on the organization and the induction process ensures that any existing gaps are addressed and emphasis is put on ensuring that employees understand the organization and its operations accordingly. At the end of the orientation and induction, new employees are fully socialized and have understood and accepted the values and systems found within the organization. This implies that they are able to communicate effectively with the management, develop a sense of belonging and contentment with their new jobs and to gain high enthusiasm for hard work. Essentially, orientation and induction serves an informative and motivational role in enhancing employee productivity. Orientation and induction processes need to incorporate cognitive, affective, and behavioral forms of learning. Cognitive learning will instill information about the organization; affective learning promotes the development of positive employee attitudes while behavioral learning serves to accentuate the employee’s skills and abilities.
Employer and Employee Obligations
Orientation and induction programs involve the participation of both the employer and new employees. From the initial stage of adjustment, these two players serve different roles. At the orientation phase human resource managers are obligated to meet the new employees and provide them with descriptions of their duties and responsibilities. They also provide details on the organization’s chain of command and information on employees’ supervisors and expected protocol. While they do this, managers give room for employees to interact with their colleagues or team members. This interaction also allows them to learn the roles played by other employees within the organization. The employer also stipulates the organization’s expectations of the new employee as well as the present conditions of work. This involves informing them of the organization’s values, mission statement, and vision. Most importantly, they point out the significance of employees aligning their individual objectives with those of the organization. In addition, they must ensure that they ease the new employee’s discomfort, peak their interests in the organization and work and provide any information regarding work.
Human resource managers are also expected to acquaint the employees with the physical facilities within the organization by giving them a tour. Apart from these obligations, employers also need to inform new employees of any existing laws, regulations, and policies with respect to their jobs and conduct. Other issues that need to be addressed by employers include accommodation, transportation, and payment procedures among others. New employees must be acculturated from their very first day in the organization. Managers must ensure that the organizational culture is reflected in the orientation and induction in order to ensure that employees are a good fit for the organization.
Benefits of New Employee Orientation
A well planned and implanted new employee orientation and induction programs accrue major benefits. As the new employees are acquainted with their new roles, they are able to gain confidence in their new job. Enhanced familiarization allows for high productivity and peaked individual performance, as employees are able to work comfortably. This comfort reflects a lack of fear or anxiety and heightened positive attitudes towards work, colleagues, and managers. As employees gain knowledge on the organization’s culture, they are able to assess their level of compatibility with the organization. Indeed, they manage to weigh the benefits of working for the organization with respect to such factors like career development. At this early stage, it is quite advantageous for an employee to acknowledge whether this organization will serve their needs. They establish whether there are training programs, promotion and other appraisal strategies, which will foster their career development. If indeed an organization does not offer what they need, then they are able to cease progress and thus avoid future disappointments.
New employee orientation and induction programs are significant in nurturing employees’ views on leadership and vision. As they learn about the organization’s goals, they understand the significance of these aspects. This allows them to develop working strategies, which aim at ensuring that the organization’s vision is upheld. During orientation and induction, new employees are welcomed warmly and as the organization reinforces the employees’ significance, they develop a sense of worth and value. Consequently, they become more motivated and indeed decide to work there. Essentially the new employees’ first impression of the employer plays a major role in their decisions to either progress with work or terminate their employment.
Early turnover is a challenge, which plagues most modern organizations. In the future, organizations will experience a scarcity of work force due to increased rates of employee turnover. It is at the orientation and induction stages that the risk of early turnover can be addressed. Indeed, studies have shown that beginning employees engaged in induction programs are less likely to terminate their current employment. Orientation and induction fosters retention in numerous ways. First, when employees are provided with adequate knowledge on the organization’s procedures and support systems, they are influenced by the ease with which they execute their daily duties. In addition, the socialization process, which occurs during such a program, promotes the development of individual and collective relationships amongst colleagues. This interaction builds a perception of team spirit and cordial working relationships, which eventually amount to high productivity and competent performance. These factors not only reduce early turnover, but they are also responsible for an earlier increase of employee’s productivity, commitment and work efficiency.
Employers also avoid other negative effects, which often accompany early turnover. These costs include reduced revenue, and productivity, high recruitment costs, unfavorable publicity, and loss of competitive advantage. Orientation and induction programs serve as a platform for the employer to weigh an employee’s competence and behavior. Furthermore, as new employees are highly susceptible to taking on an organization’s culture, employers are able to influence and observe the employee’s potential for assimilation into the company. Orientation is a stage for instilling value and laying an impeccable foundation for excellence, which will ensure that new employees utilize their abilities maximally.