Sunday, April 15, 2007

HR Corner

This article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

When an employer asks me where the good employees are, I usually answer “With good employers.” I further explain that employees are not as quick to leave a job where they are basically satisfied – even happy, with their work environment and relationships with other workers and management. When the employers are in the recruiting and hiring phase they paint a picture of the job that gives the candidate a vision of the position and the culture of the company. It is somewhat like the start of a romance. Where employers fall down is in the first day of the new world for the employee. How the person is greeted and “taken in” to the company on the first day will leave a lasting memory. Best business practices point to the smart employers who understand the need to have an orientation process, which is conducted on the first day, the new employee reports to work; to provide a foundation for the new employee.

An orientation is the process of getting the employee off to a good start. To support the fact that the candidate can feel they did the right thing in accepting this job offer. The process is developed with components that are critical to a) making the person feel welcomed, b) ensuring that the company standards and policies are communicated, and c) that expectations on both sides are clearly defined. In most small companies the employee’s immediate supervisor conducts the orientation. It is this person that begins to demonstrate the culture of the company.

It is best to have a checklist that will apply to all new hires so that there is no opportunity for discrimination issues. Key components of an orientation would be: Employee Welcome, Tour of work area, parking, reporting work time, introduction to other employees, policy handbook/guide, required personnel forms, mandated labor law information and job functions and measurements. Add to this any other issues that are specific to your company, including safety matters.

Most people learn by doing. So include a plan for introducing the specifics of the job allowing the employee to actually perform some of the functions. And because the mind can accept only so much new information at a time, learning should be divided into small chunks over the first month.

You can learn more about orientation by contacting Robin at