Retention and Orientation

C:\Users\Darren\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\9PDUOZYV\MC900071116[1].wmf

The retention process is about putting things which help people stay with your organization into place. Although retention starts during the interview process, at the point where an offer of employment is made, it falls within the scope of Employee Orientation.

Getting Off on the Right Track


Now that you have gone to the trouble and investment of conducting a thorough recruiting process, and selected the best candidate, it is time to address the things that help people get engaged in your organization. It takes about two weeks for someone to decide to stay with a new company, so the orientation process that you provide is critical, as well as its timing. 

To consider the effects of bringing someone in who does not engage, take a look at your recruiting cost, and consider the impact of a poor selection choice, where now you must recruit again. Even more compelling is the cost of someone who joins the organization, then checks out emotionally, but continues to report to work every day (which we refer to as “presenteeism”). 

The orientation process spells out the way that new employees become effective contributors to the organization. This socialization typically includes the following factors: 

  • Encounter: Despite what may have been revealed through the recruiting and interviewing activities, starting a new job takes getting used to. Time to familiarize to new tasks, receive training, and understand company policies and procedures are all necessary. Meeting colleagues and becoming familiar with the company culture are all a part of the transition, as is making sure that the employee receives a warm welcome. 
  • Orientation: Some companies see orientation as filling out forms and mandatory meetings with a new manager. Effective orientation means that employees have the opportunity to ask questions and begin to interact with peers and managers. In addition, colleagues, managers, and HR must be actively involved and interested in helping the new employee settle into their role. 

Role of Human Resources

  • Design an orientation process for the organization.
  • Complete the paperwork associated with a new recruit, including reference checking; providing letter of offer; setting up candidate with benefit plan enrollment forms, direct deposit forms, and tax forms; and providing access to policies such as code of conduct, confidentiality, computer usage, and so on. 
  • Provide managers with tools to undertake their parts of the orientation.
  • Provide an overview of the performance management program (including any kind of bonus programs, performance reviews, and attendance management).

Role of the Manager

  • Introduce the person to the organization, especially immediate and frequent contacts and resources, but also the less immediate but equally important individuals.
  • Ensure that the schedule for the first several days (or weeks, depending on the complexity and level of the job), is set up to incorporate a warm welcome, getting to know the work teams, and getting familiar with the workspace set up for them (including equipment, tools, desk, PC, business cards, cell phone, etc.).
  • Establish objectives for the first 30 – 60 – 90 days and following through to ensure success.
  • Set up technology, safety, or other training.

Creating an Engaging Program

C:\Users\Darren\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\9PDUOZYV\MC900432645[1].png

Think of the last time you started a new job, and the range of feelings that came with it. You may have experienced excitement, curiosity, worry, and much more. 

  • What could have been added to your own orientation experience to assist you in “clicking in” to the organization quickly?
  • What aspects of the orientation program were excellent, and are things that you would recommend to others?

Characteristics of an effective orientation program: 

  • The hiring manager is responsible for the success of the orientation.
  • The program incorporates technical and social aspects of the job. 
  • Employees receive formal and informal introductions to managers, working groups, and peers. 
  • Employees receive useful information pertaining to the company’s products, services, customers, and strategic plans.
  • Employees receive required training. 

Employee Engagement studies provide additional opportunities to discover what your employees like and what keeps them motivated. In uncovering what engages them, you can also determine where you can strengthen your organization through a commitment to retention activities. For example, if your employees identify that their work is too complex or that they are unable to exercise any flexibility with work schedules, changing those circumstances can improve your retention. 

In addition, as the labor market worldwide continues to shrink, we will be competing for the same candidates for more jobs than there are workers. Having some flexibility in areas that appeal to your workforce will go a long way in keeping them engaged, contributing, and benefiting your organization. 

Using an Orientation Checklist 

C:\Users\Darren\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\EOAYJ771\MC900432663[1].png

There is tremendous value in making sure that every new candidate has an equal opportunity to learn about their workplace. You will also see them engage quickly and effectively when they know for certain what their role and responsibilities are. At the same time, it is essential that they get the benefits of that warm welcome on the first day and know where to hang their coat, or go for lunch. 

The checklist on the next page is a starting place to consider what is important to the new employee as they get started. When you make the effort to have things ready for that important first day (such as a ready workstation or access to tools), the employee feels welcome, and you are much more likely to have an engaged member of your workforce. 

Case Study

Jessup and Nandi were working on a new orientation program for hired employees and were struggling to define what a good orientation program would require – they understood that orientation was a necessity for a productive working environment. Jessup suggested they take a look at some effective orientation programs and identify their characteristics. Nandi agreed and pointed out that most orientation programs incorporated technical and social aspects of the job, as well as placed the manager in charge of the success of the orientation program. Jessup included that orientation programs should provide the correct type of training and that employees should receive introductions to other members of the company. Nandi and Jessup used these guidelines to create and orientation program which would help their new employees accustom themselves to the company and produce their best work. They were excited when it was put into practice and benefitted those involved.