Successful Orientation Programs

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The old saying, “Well begun is half done.” When a new employee starts with clear idea of goals, values, and expectations in new firms, they can be a good employee for the successful performance of the firms. Many new employees have trouble in the beginning step of their work. Orientation programs help that new employees successfully fit into new positions. Therefore, when new employees clearly understand their jobs in good orientation programs, firms expect the success of their business to increase higher productivity and profits. Firms spend much time, money, and efforts to hire the best matched employees in the position. Especially, firms spend about over 25 percent of the first year salary in recruiting process (i.g, advertising, interviewing, and selecting) (Lindo 2010). However, over 50 percent of new employees leave their firms within the first seven months after hiring. If new employees leave in a short time, firms waste hiring expense. To fill the vacant positions, firms have to repeat recruiting processes. The cost for turnover is pretty high (Schwarz & Wesolawski, 1995). Firms can retain employees by using well designed orientation programs with inexpensive cost because they help new employees fit into the new organization. Therefore, more firms have recognized the importance of orientation for new employees in a successful business (Davis & Kleiner, 2001; Dunn & Jasinsk, 2009; Schwarz & Wesolawski, 1995). An orientation program can be defined in terms of (a) Who? (b) When? (c) What? (d) How? (Wanous & Reichers, 2000). “Who” is the new employee that was transited into the organizations. “When” is defined per researchers with different views. Most researchers agree that orientation is conducted the first or close to first day the employee entered the organization. However, the duration of orientation is defined differently from one day to four weeks. “What” is for the content of orientation such as health and safety issues, terms and conditions of employment, history of organization, a tour, and an introduction to co-workers. “How” refers to teaching methods of how a new employee orientation is conducted. Orientation programs for new employees should answer these four components. The change of environment affects orientation programs. Dunn and Jasinsk (2009) reviewed 50 articles published from 1989 to 2005 to understand the processes of new employee orientations. The beginning of the review period was related to the emergence of the knowledge economy, and the turnover rate was very high because companies needed employees who can handle new technologies and know new skills to respond rapidly changing global consumers’ demand. Firms were aware that high turnover is a high cost and receive competitive advantage in new employees’ work start time in the knowledge economy. This changing environment spawned perception and recognition for orientation programs. The starting study for an orientation program was conducted by Texas Instruments Inc (TI) in the mid-1970s. TI assigned new employee randomly to a traditional orientation program or a socialization orientation program. In the traditional orientation program TI informed such subjects as working hours, pay periods, parking, and insurance, and so on for two hours. On the other hand, in the socialization orientation TI treated such topics as career management, the importance of politics, picking the right boss and the importance of being in the right place at the right time for seven hours. After two years, the results showed that turnover for employees who attended the traditional orientation were 40 percent higher than employees who attended the socialization orientation. The research proved firms need to develop creative orientation programs (Zemke, 1989). In 1980, Corning Inc. organized a team to develop and research orientation programs. Corning hired 200 to 300 employees such as designers, opticians, engineers, technicians, sundry, and other professionals,...
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