Is your company looking for a way to increase new employee retention? Is employee retention declining? Is the employee turnover rate significant enough to cause financial damage? Are experienced employees leaving or are you losing new employees shortly after they are hired? Have you heard complaints from new hires that your employee orientation didn’t prepare them for their job duties? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to update your work-orientation program. Start by carefully analyzing the material provided during orientation to determine whether it is outdated or overly vague. Does it provide enough information to make new employees comfortable in their new job? Have company policies or practices been updated since the material was created? After you analyze the material, ask a few experienced employees to review the material as well. They may be able to point out problems that are causing your low employee-retention rate. If you discover problems during the evaluation, it’s time to update the orientation materials for the company's benefit.
Four steps to a better orientation program
Creating a new work-orientation program can feel intimidating, even for someone with years of experience. Whether you’re updating an existing program or creating one from scratch, four simple steps can carry you through from beginning to end.
- Outline the motivation for proposed changes. Ask yourself: What is the current program lacking? Does some new information need to be added or does the entire orientation program need a facelift? Research the problems thoroughly before you start modifying it. If you don’t currently have a work-orientation program in place, consider why that may be. Is now the right time to create one? If your company is struggling financially due to a high turnover rate, now is the perfect time to develop a work-orientation program.
- Conduct a focus group and analyze problems surrounding the employee orientation. Talk to current employees about the orientation program. Your employees are the best source of information in situations like this. Their lives are affected by every time a new person is hired and every time someone quits—they’re paying attention and will welcome the opportunity to provide feedback. What do they wish they had learned during employee orientation? What information were they provided that had value, but is no longer offered? What do they feel is outdated? What would they like to see changed? What do they feel would benefit the company as a whole? Do they have any ideas for increasing employee retention? Listen to what they tell you. If you create an employee-orientation program from scratch, here are some topics to include: a brief company history, an outline of the company's structure, the company's mission, a description of the organizational culture, and a list of suggested communication methods. This information is extremely valuable for new employees because it provides a clear outline of their job, and who they can turn to for help.
- Organize data and arrange it for upper management. After you’ve collected information and helpful hints, arrange it neatly and organize it by importance. Include data about employee-retention problems and the possible reasons for turnover. For example: Did anything change around the time the problem began? Was the employee orientation changed or altered? Include all facts and statistics and how the current practices are affecting employee satisfaction. Emphasize the information you obtained from employees and what they feel needs to be changed to increase their job performance.
- Create or update the employee-orientation program. Once you’re granted permission to create a new orientation program or correct the existing program, take your time and ensure that all of the information is accurate, helpful, and easy to understand.
Make sure to provide contact information for the HR staff or anyone else who can be a resource to new employees regarding questions and additional details about common company practices. If you give your existing orientation program a major overhaul, it may be helpful to encourage current employees to review the program so they are up to date as well.