It is often said that the first impression is what makes or mars an employee’s perception of an organization and brand. With the employee orientation program every organization strives to get their staff aligned and put their best foot forward. However, not always do orientation programs achieve their desired impact and value. Here are some reasons why and what internal communicators can do to improve the outcomes.
Provide a consistent experience: Your new hires have already begun figuring your organization from the website or Google searches. They are looking for consistency in your promise. Your orientation program needs to stay consistent with what you are already communicating with the talent marketplace.
Set clear expectations: Very often organizations over promise and under deliver. That sets up the orientation program for failure. In their attempt to get the best talent through the door firms set expectations of career progression or international placements or learning or compensation that may not always be what your new hires are expecting. If your organization operates as an service center for your global offices it may not make sense to project international movement as part of your pitch. Instead, it may be possible that new hires will be able to develop themselves personally and professionally or become ‘experts’ in a certain skill. That can be a strong motivator for joining and staying on.
Design for ‘wow’ and validation: It is human nature to look for ‘signs’ of validation. We want to be sure we have made the right decision by joining. Your new hires want to be sure have a ‘future’ at your organization. Design your orientation to help them validate their assumptions. Include employee testimonials, either live or recorded so that they can know for themselves.
Line up your leaders: How important your orientation is for your organization is best reflected by the presence and participation of leaders. In one organization, leaders who initially had slots to meet with new hires slowly began delegating their tasks to their new in line and over time the quality of the messages got diluted.
Make it engaging by catering to all the senses: In India, most induction programs have a lot of paperwork initially due to the regulatory requirements where new hires are expected to fill their provident fund, banking details, medical and assorted forms. While you can’t do away with such formalities make the most of this downtime to play recorded messages or provide access to interactive devices where they can learn more about the spaces and business. You may want to make it fun by conducting a treasure hunt to help new hires learn more about your offices, businesses, customers and what have you! Give them clues to hunt down.
Use storytelling to improve connection: Most organizations have their ‘ways of doing things around here’. However, these are delivered as processes and guidance and less as tangible ways of improving the impact of the organization. By using stories and even failures new hires can get a better sense of ‘how to apply’ the ways of the workplace.
Help new hires build community: As many new hires will share ‘figuring’ out the workplace is among the toughest tasks they can encounter. While, many will continue in longer orientation programs for their respective functional areas it helps to at least connect the batches in ways they can feel comfortable around each other. Be it using a simple distribution list of a community of new hires on your portal make the group stay connected as they learn more about the culture of your organization.
Have other ideas to energize new hires to organizations? Interested to hear your views.