Imagine it's your first day of a new job. You're filled with anxiety, anticipation, enthusiasm and excitement, ready to prove to your employer that they made the right choice in selecting you. Now imagine being greeted by your supervisor, given a brief tour, and then shuffled to your desk, office or cubicle, handed a stack of papers and documents to which your supervisor tells you that you will spend your first day orienting yourself to your new company and position by reading through all that documentation. Now, how welcome to the new company do you really feel? How much a part of the new company do you feel you have become? By the end of the day, you are probably questioning your decision of accepting this position and are already formulating a plan of leaving.
The scenario detailed above is not uncommon. "This "sink or swim" technique is exceedingly stressful for the new employee, and creates a first impression of a company that does not value its people." (Wexley). When an employee joins the organization, the company has the opportunity to make or break the relationship. That is why organizations are starting to realize the importance of implementing a proper new employee orientation. It enables the employee to assimilate more easily to the organization and become a key contributor while giving the corporation a competitive advantage by reducing the turnover and increasing the productivity of their new hires.
In a tight labor market, good candidates are in great demand. As the competition for skilled employees grows, employers need to double their efforts, not only in selecting and hiring skilled employees, but also in their efforts of retaining them. The first 30 days on the job are a critical time for new employees. They are excited about the venture they are undertaking with their new organization. They want to feel that they have an important role to play in the organization, and that their knowledge, skills and abilities will be valued and appreciated. It is at this point that employers have the ability to send a message to their new employees that they are taking positive steps to ensure that the new employee's first days on the job are successful. Implementing an effective new employee orientation helps to build a solid working relationship with the new employee.
Few areas are as important as a proper orientation because regardless if a formalized orientation is instituted, "the new employee will get an orientation, unfortunately, it often is not the one the organization wants the employee to get." (Galbreath). According to Charles Caldwell, author of New Employee Orientation: A Practical Guide for Supervisors: "If new employees have to wait a month to be oriented, they are no longer new. It's likely they'll have already discovered everything presented in the orientation, and worse, they'll have been largely unproductive for that month." Therefore, it is critical that employees start prior to hire assimilating the new employee, because "the information that employees really need and want to know in their first few days is often very different from what the organization focuses upon." (O'Toole).
For many corporations, new employee information packets are sent to the employee prior to their first day. These packets include new hire forms, benefit information, and employee handbooks. Therefore, when they first arrive on the job, a lot of pertinent information has already been given to the employee and the assimilation process has already begun. This also helps to reduce information overload and provide some of the information that, according to Grensing-Pophal, is of most importance when starting a new job: "Employees are first interested in "the things that affect me personally." Next they want to know about "the things that affect me as a member of my department." Finally, they are interested in "the things that affect me as a member of the organization."" To this end, the new...
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