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Conducting Effective Employee Orientations
Orientations are performance trend setters
1998 Claire Belilos

Forthcoming Employee Motivation Book - List yourself here
Terms: For reading only. Not to for commercial use in any shape or form. 

Do you have two steps, or even three, in the Orientation process?

The orientation process has three stages:  

  • A general orientation
  • A departmental orientation, and
  • A specific job orientation

They are conducted by different parties. The General Orientation is usually managed by either the Training Department or the Human Resources Department, with the Departmental Orientation by the Department Head or first Assistant, while the specific Job Orientation can be carried out by an experienced and trained employee (trained on how to train). These guidelines are intended for people conducting the General Orientation:

A general rule of thumb for having the audience interested in the general orientation is to

  • Make them feel at ease (open circle).
  • Make sure that they had enough time to read the employee manual ahead of orientation time.
  • Spend a good portion of the introduction time towards self-introductions, spiced with open questions.
  • Get them to know who Management is: have a big chart in the orientation/training room which depicts how the organisation is set up, with photos of the management team next to their title.
  • Get them acquainted with the operation: have another large chart in the room depicting the flow of work and communications regarding the organization; this flow should include customers, suppliers and all parties affecting the organisation (I had just planned such a chart for the hotel where I dealt with Training and Development, wrote it out in text, had an artist depict it with cartoon characters on a big white chart, making it educational but humorous - after all this was a hotel. Maybe in a technical company humour is not allowed. I explained it to the artist and we showed how each job position affected the final product since the customer's / guest's first contact with the operation and ending with the last contact.
  • Have them know and see departments in operation: based on this drawing I conducted the orientation and explained all functions of the hotel, promising a personal tour of all the departments we discussed, including back areas, where the Department Heads received us personally and gave further insight on their departments.
  • Allay their fears and doubts: cover subjects which are usually never mentioned in orientations, such as the difficulties new employees or supervisors experience, about turnover figures, about how people assimilate better after hanging out three months, about how they can turn to you for any difficulties they experience, be it regarding their rejection by existing old-timers or other matters. Let them know they can always turn to you for confidential advice (do not forget that any new person has fears and doubts regarding being accepted, succeeding or failing).
  • Encourage friendships among new employees: try to create a team spirit among the existing group of newcomers - by the end of the day or the two days you will have created a group of employees at different levels and from different departments who will cooperate and enhance communications across the organisation.
  • Extend respect to them as human beings: have lunch with them as a group (I saw too many people who conduct orientations go to a different lunch room and this is very insulting).
  • Enable first hand contact with upper management: have different Executives come to welcome the group and assure them of management's commitment to help them succeed. Introduce each of the newcomers, dwell on their position, career background and personal interests.
  • Assure them that the organisation welcomes their observations, comments, and critiques.
  • Last but not least, share company goals with them. Discuss it with them. Ask what their own personal and career goals are and try to (right there and then) mesh their own goals with the company goals.

This strategy (action plan) has proven to be highly successful. It cuts down on turnover drastically, engenders trust, cooperation and motivation.

Note:   CHIC Hospitality will be happy to help you create an effective new employee orientation program, customized to your specific company's needs, whichever industry you happen to be in.  

Also Note:   It is of extreme importance to have effective, action-and- results-oriented Job Descriptions and Employee Handbook before embarking on other projects.   We, at CHIC Hospitality, specialize in this for a diversified range of industries, and can work on such a project with you "on site" and/or through "distance consulting".   

Submit your enquiry and request through our
contact form.  Please fill in all the fields including company URL, address, your official title and e-mail address at the company.  Thank you.

We now (2004) receive so much spam, deleting by the hundreds every 10 minutes, that the surest contact to us is through the
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Thank you for visiting. We hope you will find value in the free reading we offer on our site.

Copyright 1998 Claire Belilos

This article is not to be uploaded, sold or distributed in any form or manner without the author's written permission

Further articles on employee motivation at http://www.easytraining.com:

Understanding Employee Drives and Motivations
Beyond Training
Cross-Training as a Motivational and Problem-Solving Technique
How Can I Motivate My Employees? Orientation - The Eternal Question
Managers and Supervisors Expected to Create a Motivated Team
and the famous article by the late Mr. James Lavenson, Hotelier,
Think Strawberries

List yourself at http://www.easytraining.com/motivationbooklist.htm
to be advised when our book on employee motivation will be ready.  We welcome expressions of interest from organizations and publishers wishing to sponsor the writing of this book.

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Claire Belilos, CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services, Home Page: http://www.easytraining.com, specializes in Hospitality, human resources strategies, organizational training and development, Customer Service and problem-solving. She offers "on site", online and distance consulting and coaching.  She creates job, training and evaluation tools, and custom-tailored solutions to people management problems.  She created a unique Customer Service Viewpoints forum;  list yourself to be advised of its new location at http://www.easytraining.com/csforumlisting.htm

Home Page: http://www.easytraining.com
CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services
#2007-1011 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6E 1T8, Canada
Tel: (604) 685-8449/ 687-8442 PST