3 Ways to Improve Employee Orientations

Disengaged employees cost American businesses as much as $550 billion annually, according to a Gallup report. Surprisingly, these losses aren’t because workers don’t want to work, procrastinate constantly or lack the motivation to learn highly technical skills. The 2010-2012 employee survey shows the major reason approximately 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged is directly attributable to poor leadership from managers.

Deficient management styles contribute to 20 percent of the workforce adopting a work ethic described as “actively disengaged,” where workers spend most of their days wandering from office to office complaining about the bad management, trying to garner sympathy and support. On-boarding and orientation play vital roles in the earliest stages of employment for workers. Effective leadership must design job training and performance review programs to address engagement issues.

Organizational leaders can use numerous strategies to overcome barriers to productivity and workplace dissatisfaction early on in employees’ careers. Superior on-boarding and orientation programs are leading the way in strategic success stories. Here are three ways to improve your business’ orientation process.

Introduce Employees to Co-workers and Support Staff

Acclimating employees to their surroundings and identifying key personnel through creative orientations is a new strategy companies are taking to make training more personal. The process creates mentoring channels, gives new hires a chance to observe daily routines, and provides a tour of the facilities without spending days in a boring classroom environment.

Allowing employees to rotate short shifts observing key co-worker procedures ensures the chain of productivity is fully understood. These “coupling” exercises allow employees to develop a collaborative relationship, as well as demonstrate efficient work habits in a relaxed atmosphere. This method also gives seasoned employees the chance to shine, while adding motivational and peer-to-peer relationship benefits.

Train for Positive and Negative Events

If your business doesn’t have in-house resources to answer all your new employees’ questions, consider implementing a technology-based, self-paced program that puts resources literally at employees’ fingertips. Just like learning in a traditional classroom setting, instructor-assisted training is key. Employees should have ample opportunities during any type of training to ask questions regarding “What if?” situations, both through digital learning centers, such as the one offered bycustomer support software from, and in person.

Always be on the look-out for ways to offer up resources to curious employees who only want to improve.

Tell the Company Story

Knowing how to perform a job perfectly is only part of the equation. Motivating employees to stay engaged involves commitment and engagement on the part of company leaders. Every new hire should have a sense of what the company is trying to accomplish, how company values work toward fulfilling the company mission, and how social responsibility and civic activities impact the community.

Managers set the stage for active engagement by clearly defining the role every employee plays in achieving the company vision. High-quality orientation programs provide those connections.

What tips do you have for improving the orientation process for new employees? Tell us in the comments.

Contributed by Lance Hugo. Lance grew up on a farm in Vermont. Now he’s the CEO of a growing business consulting firm.

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