Orientation Training for Newcomers

Orientation Training for Newcomers

By Tran Thi Phuong Hoa – CIMAS HR/Admin

I would like to start my sharing on the real experience that I had over 12 years ago. At that time, I was newly graduated and luckily qualified for a position at a big power plant job site office after successfully passing three difficult testing rounds.

In the morning of my very first working day, I got on the car which brought us to the job site with the mixture of cheerfulness, excitement and a little bit anxiety. I have ever heard of numerous stories about “compulsory tasks” that a newcomer should be enthusiastic to do on his/her first few days. Supposedly, they are odd jobs such as photocopying, clearing the table, cleaning the computer, making tea or coffee, or even going out to buy breakfast for everybody working at site. As an organizational newcomer, we should do something to win the trust and love of our supervisors and other colleagues. I have equipped ‎myself with all these precious experiences of older generation, who passed the first day at work before.

In contrast to what I imagined, all employees at job site were extremely busy with their own work. My greetings quickly finished because all of them had no time to chat or discuss about anyth

Newcomers receives assistance from assigned “experienced neighbors”

ing else except work. My main task during those starting weeks was on-the-job training through the self-study documents available at job site. Looking at the pile of documents which seemed to be over my height, I failed to know where I should start. I tried to digest those technical materials. However, the more that I read, the harder I found they were. To my limited knowledge, they were really strange terminologies. I had no one help me with my job. Even my direct manager, he also spent most of his time at site. One week passed, I started to feel confused and inferior to other colleagues, as it seemed that I lagged far behind them. In loneliness, I asked myself “Do I fail?”, “I choose the wrong way?”, and more, and I wanted to give up. Up to now, that disappointing feeling seems to be alive when I think of it.

Newcomer Orientations mostly likely to be ignored

Most of companies and enterprises invest a lot of time, dedicated to setting up a recruitment mechanism in a professional way. However, orientation training for newcomers after recruitment is most likely or almost to be ignored. As a result, the new hires, after successfully passing many difficult tests, are found disillusioned and unable to adapt themselves to the new working environment.

It is, indeed, a “MUST” that orientation training should be organized thoughtfully and methodically, aiming at creating favorable conditions for newcomers to work healthily and effectively. A good orientation program will help newcomers to get rid of anxiety, to feel at ease, and to provide a better approach to work. If companies pay attention to leading employees walking on the right track from the beginning, they may have a clear picture of their career path and take effort to achieve new targets step by step.

An effective orientation program should target:

  • Making the newcomers feel comfortable and warmly welcome;
  • Creating good impression and instill positive attitude about the company to newcomers;
  • Minimizing any misunderstanding or misconceptions about company policies;
  • Improving the communications among employees; and
  • Enhancing work efficiency and increasing productivity.

Key points while designing an orientation program

  • A good orientation training program takes time to penetrate. It is ineffective if we try to pour tons of information into newcomers’ mind in a short time. Gradual input will definitely help to engrave information more deeply and longer in their memory.
  • Important parts of orientation program should be reinforced after a couple of weeks.
  • Newcomers should be introduced about company’s products/services even when they are not directly related to the department they join or not mentioned in their job description. .
  • Trainers, who taking care of orientation program, must be selected carefully. These qualified persons should have an overall understanding of company’s culture, policies, regulations, procedures, products, and so on.
  • Trainers should act as the attentive listeners and good responders during training courses. They should always keep patient and appear pleasant when being asked; otherwise, the newcomers will hesitate to raise questions.
  • Direct manager should assign one experienced staff to be the “neighbor” of the newcomer on the first few days to assist him/her.
  • An orientation checklist should be provided to all newcomers. It serves as the useful guidelines for both company and newcomers to follow to reach the common goal.
  • Orientation training materials should be updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest information of the company, when a change that occurs in organizational structure, corporate policies, business targets, and so forth.

Orientation during probationary period – Win-Win for both sides

Experiences show that the first few days and weeks on the probation job set the solid ground for how employee will react to his/her new environment as well as the corresponding performance. In CIMAS, each newcomer has to undergo 60 days on probation. This is very important period for both company and newcomers to understand each other and leads to the final decision upon their further employment.

For newcomers, probation is the crucial time for them to get to know their supervisors and co-workers, and the tasks involved in their job positions, as well as becoming familiar with company’s products and services. What they learn and earn after this period is the basis for them to decide whether this company is their destination or not.

A well-designed “Orientation Checklist”, always the useful guidelines for both company and newcomers
In terms of companies, probation is the time to once again review and evaluate the newcomer because even the most talent employers or interviewers cannot make sure that they select the right person for the right position only after interviews and examinations. Probation time will help them understand more about the newcomer’s ability and personality before stepping into the official contract or relevant procedures for cooperation further in the long run.

In conclusion, orientation for newcomers is an important and indispensible part of hiring process and cannot be ignored. The more efforts made to get employees started on the right track, the better company’s chances provided to let them stay and become outstanding employees in the future.

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