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Employee Orientation: DAY TWO!

November 26, 2010

Earlier this year we talked about the first day for a new employee. Today we are looking at the second day: Employee orientation.

Good communication should start with the employee orientation. Communication issues are cited as the number one issue employees have with their jobs.

  • Orientation is best used as part of the goal-setting and performance management system.
  • Learning how to do the job should be an ongoing process. Ideally, its not just a one or two-day task to get out of the way and be done with.

When you design a training program, present training materials in a variety of ways:

  • Written/handouts
  • Verbal
  • Hands-on
  • Video/webinar
People learn in different ways. Using different methods to present info will help your new hires retain what they need to be effective in their new jobs. Important information should be delivered in multiple ways. A national hot beverage chain taught new employees how to make its signature beverages first by demonstrating, then showing a video, then doing hands on training, finally passing out illustrated ingredient lists.
Videos and webinars can be used to engage employees. Many companies are using youtube, podcasts  and other sources for training videos. A caveat on videos: It is important to find or create high quality training videos. I ran the summer temp training program for a large retailer. We found the training videos were a source of derision. They caused laughter rather than actual learning experiences. Although the company spent a lot of money having the videos made, the presenter made distracting, flailing arm motions. Everyone remembered the flailing arms, no one remembered the definition of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Other things to keep in mind:
Training should be non-threatening. Don’t schedule truing during your peak production times. Whenever possible, use slower times to teach.
You train attitude as much as content. If you present a task and dull and tiresome your trainees will absorb that attitude and also find the task dull. Present all job duties in an upbeat way. Let your new people decide for themselves.
If your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program, assign your new person a buddy. Ask the buddy eat lunch with your new hire. Encourage others in the department to eat with the new person as well. You want them to not only be ale to perform the functions of the job, but learn the company culture as well.
Careful design of orientation programs as well as a good training will help your employees learn the skills they need to know to succeed in your company for the long-term. Orientation and training are not just on days 1 and 2. They are ongoing and go a long way toward employee retention.
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