Onboarding

Create a Memorable New Hire Orientation: Tips, Checklists, and Best HR Practices

15 August 2023

12 min read

Kelsey Breton
Kelsey Breton

Part of the overall onboarding process, new hire orientation is pivotal for every scaling business.

Whilst new hire onboarding deals with the initial stages and details of hiring new people, new hire orientation ensures their interest, engagement, and longevity in your company. 

When carried out successfully, new hire orientation will boost efficiency and productivity, and nurture a healthy and thriving company culture. 

Research suggests that 69% of new employees might remain within a company for three years — if their onboarding was satisfactory. In today’s climate of endless job opportunities, getting new hires to stick around will come down to how well you help them navigate and adapt. 

Read our step-by-step guide on how to create, implement, and optimize the onboarding and orientation process complete with the best tips, practices, a ready-to-use 2024 checklist to guide your new hire orientation process.

New Hire Orientation and Onboarding Benefits

Keep quality talent on board for longer

With proper orientation, you can illustrate to your new hires that you are a serious organization with clear company values, expectations, and systems. This will instill trust, provide direction, and equip your new hires with the information they need to succeed in their roles, helping to drive retention and engagement. 

Build stronger professional relationships

The onboarding process allows employees to get a better understanding of your organization, including organizational structure, teams, and how employees communicate and collaborate. By instilling engaging new hire welcome practices you help foster a sense of belonging and set the foundation for supportive professional relationships, which promotes employee happiness and accountability.

Define clear business objectives and expectations

Orientation is the time to educate employees on the ins and outs of your organization. By clearly defining objectives and expectations both by recording them in your employee handbook as well as verbally discussing the elements during onboarding, you provide employees with a clear reference and guide to success. This ensures alignment among teams and boosts performance outcomes from day one.

Boost productivity

When employees are provided a roadmap and toolkit to aid in their success, they’ll experience a greater sense of purpose and alignment with your organizational objectives. The clear communication and expectations shared during new hire orientation remove any potential roadblocks, helping boost productivity among employees.


Best Practices for a Successful New Hire Orientation in 2024

Get this, 93% of businesses already implement some form of hire orientation. Meaning, keeping up with the latest trends will be essential for your business growth and employee retention.

Whether new hires are provided remote onboarding or attend new hire orientation at the office, it is every HR team’s job to make orientation as smooth and impactful as possible. 

From introducing colleagues, leaders, and teams to getting used to company culture and policies, and learning the tools and software at hand — new hires will need all the guidance you have on deck. 

We did the research — here are the best practices for new hire orientation to implement in 2024. 

Mind the Timing and Agenda

Ideally, you should carry out new hire orientation on your least busy days of the week. Otherwise, a whole-day Monday orientation might be far too hectic for new employees, and prevent you from giving them your full attention.

For maximum efficiency, consider sharing the orientation agenda before time. This way, new hires will have a glimpse into what’s ahead, and be more relaxed. 

Plan for One-on-One Meetings

No matter how many people participate during a single onboarding process, make it a priority to schedule a one-on-one meeting time with each new employee.

As per 2020 research, 56% of new hires prefer working with a personal mentor or buddy. And although groups are the default in most companies, it’s vital that you meet the hires individually to form a connection early on. 

Keeping up this practice during orientation and down the line will help both managers and employees bond, relate, and nurture greater understanding and communication.  

Consider HR Automation

If there’s one thing you want to avoid during new hire orientation, it’s time consuming and bulky paperwork. 

A streamlined alternative to bombarding new hires with endless forms and contracts, and subsequently bogging down HR’s time managing, filing, and manually processing countless documents is to digitize and automate the onboarding process. 

In 2022, 47% of businesses were expected to have applied some employee onboarding AI to their HR processes, making automation the new normal for many businesses. Doing so frees up HR teams from the time consuming processes to refocus their efforts on fostering a strong company culture. 

Whatsmore, automation allows for a more consistent and streamlined new hire orientation, allowing employees to have the best possible experience.


Limit Information Overload During Orientation

Orientation is your opportunity to make a great first impression on your new hire, so overwhelming them should be avoided at all costs. There’s a lot to share with new employees as they join your organization, be mindful not to serve too much information from the start. 

Instead, pace the new hire orientation across several days to ensure the information received is well presented, and employees have time to digest the material and ask questions. 

Overall, orientation sessions should not take longer than an hour, so as to prevent loss of focus.

Vary Your Approach

Instead of strictly presenting company knowledge and culture to your new hires, approach new hire orientation as a chance to invite employees to actively participate in the process. 

Research shows that 54% of companies that offer detailed onboarding experiences, orientation included, noted boosted engagement among hires.

Engaging news hires allows them to absorb information faster, and promotes a sense of ownership during the process.

From presentations to gamification, Q&A, and show-and-tell sessions, interacting with new hires in a more dynamic way will promote greater engagement. 

Improve Through Feedback 

Your orientation process should be constantly measured, audited, and reinvented. As trends evolve, employee priorities change, and so does the future of new hire orientation. By regularly collecting feedback from new hires, you’ll gain actionable insights into what’s working and what needs improvement within your orientation process.

With risk for turnover at its highest within an employee’s first year — 43% happening within the first 90 days — having an engaging and airtight onboarding program that’s informed by employee experience is a must.

Evaluating and Improving Your New Hire Orientation Process

Companies that invest in creating a strong candidate experience witness 70% better quality hires, saving considerable time, money, and effort for HR teams and managers.

To ensure your company stands out to attract top talent, regularly evaluate and improve your overall onboarding and orientation experience. Here are some best practices for evaluating and improving your new hire orientation process.

  • Conduct post-onboarding surveys
    See orientation through the eyes of your new hires. Within the first month of completing new hire orientation, conduct a survey for all new hires to share their feedback on their experience. Analyze this information to gather insights on areas of improvement for your onboarding program.
  • Observe knowledge
    You’ll get a good sense of how effective your new hire orientation is by observing the knowledge and success of new hires. If you’re consistently experiencing new hires struggling to adapt to their roles, feeling lost or unclear on how to proceed with questions or assignments, or other signs of misunderstanding, there’s a good chance your onboarding program is lacking.
  • Measure retention and engagement
    Are you experiencing a cliff of newer employees leaving or organization early on? This could be a sign that your onboarding experience needs improvement. Conversely, if new hires are showing signs of high engagement and happiness, there’s a good chance your onboarding efforts are paying off.
  • Continually evolve
    Businesses should regularly take into account the changing circumstances and trends of the working world and adapt their onboarding programs accordingly. For example, when Covid-19 swept the globe and companies switched to remote work, onboarding programs had to adapt to accommodate remote workers, including adding new policies and procedures. Always ensure your onboarding and orientation programs are up to date with the needs of your organization.
  • Leverage HR software
    HR software can be highly practical for organizing a successful orientation and onboarding process. Automate tedious tasks, schedule regular check-ins and communications, and build a consistent program to ensure each new employee receives the same comprehensive experience.

Why Create a Comprehensive New Hire Orientation Checklist?

Checklists have remained the ‘it’ practice among many successful businesses and across many different processes. Helping to promote consistency and aid HR teams in nailing each onboarding process, onboarding checklists can:

  1. Facilitate the hiring process 
  2. Ensure standardization 
  3. Help new hires adapt with ease
  4. Boost engagement and performance among new hires
  5. Minimize compliance mistakes and risks 

2024 Checklist for Your New Hire Onboarding Process

New Hire Orientation

BEFORE THE FIRST DAY

  • Confirm start date
  • Assign mentor
  • Send new employee welcome email
  • Send an internal email announcing the new employees’ arrival 
  • Prepare new hire paperwork (contract, tax forms, employee handbook, legal docs, benefits info)
  • Procure devices and equipment (computers & login info, additional job-specific devices)
  • Set up accounts (email, access to job-specific technology, office key, or ID card)
  • Add employee to relevant email distribution lists
  • Schedule a team lunch for new hire’s first day

ON THE FIRST DAY

  • Greet new employees & introduce them to mentor
  • Provide any security assets (ID card, etc.)
  • Introduce new hires to their team
  • Send new hire announcement email
  • Attend team lunch
  • Assign training material
  • Provide a new hire packet
  • Schedule an end-of-day check-in


IN THE FIRST WEEK

  • Schedule check-in plan (30,60,90 days)
  • Organize and schedule training (software, policies and procedures, etc.) 
  • Complete benefits enrollment
  • Ensure all paperwork is completed
  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting at the end of the week to check in

Download our free Complete Employee Onboarding Checklist for an easy to reference guide you can start using today.

 

5 Creative New Hire Orientation Ideas 

Socializing and bonding with colleagues boosts engagement sevenfold. Keeping your onboarding process engaging and innovative will help motivate your employees and leave a lasting impression. 

Here are 5 new hire orientation ideas to help new hires feel welcomed and integrated.

1. Icebreaker Activities

Whether you go for a round of ‘Two Truths and a Lie’, Bingo, or ‘Would You Rather’, icebreaker activities get newbies introduced to the dynamic side of your company and help them feel more comfortable from the start. Icebreakers help new hires grow a sense of fun, connect with teammates, and ultimately settle into their company role better, feeling a sense of comradery early on.

Personality quizzes are another go-to option during new hire orientation and onboarding. They are an automated and innovative way to reveal both a new hire’s character and their skills. 

2. Gamification & Healthy Competition

Gamified activities have been shown to boost workplace engagement by 48%. By infusing an interactive element into your onboarding program, you help employee plug in to the experience and have a bit of fun along the way. 

A few gamification ideas to include throughout this stage include:  

  • A digital scavenger hunt 
  • Awarding badges and points
  • Keeping leaderboards, milestone boards, and competitive scoreboards

Introducing gamification during new hire orientation will enhance employee productivity, creativity, and innovation. It will also make it easier for new hires to master the software and tech you use on a daily basis.

3. Introduce Guest Speakers

Inviting guest speakers during orientation can help your new staff get a first hand sense of what life at your organization is like and get on board with your company communication style.

Ideally, you want to include speakers from all hires’ teams and departments. Divide speaking sessions into shorter segments to help maintain engagement and retain knowledge. For efficiency’s sake, the sessions should only be held with relevant hires and not take longer than 30 minutes each.

As for remote new hires, you can set up virtual chats with Senior Leaders or provide a live link to in-person sessions.

4. Plan Time for Entertainment Sessions

Happy hour breaks, in-nature luncheons, trivia quizzes, and ping-pong sessions will certainly kick your new hire orientation up a notch. 

At the end of the day, as much as new hires want to perform well, they also want to reduce stress and pressure and enjoy themselves. Show them that you work in great spirits and also mind the mental health of employees. 

5. The Power of Welcome Kits

Today, welcome kits are almost essential during new hire orientation and feature everything a new hire might need — at the office and outside it. Water bottles, gym passes, T-shirts, vouchers, gift cards, and notebooks are just some of the items found in modern welcome kits. 

Offering personalized welcome kits shows your appreciation, drives culture, and infuses excitement into the onboarding process.

Make a Lasting Impression With a Winning New Hire Orientation

New Hire Orientation

New hire orientation is a critical time to equip employees with the tools and information they need to thrive in their new role. By investing in a thoughtful, consistent, and well rounded orientation, you can help reduce turnover and boost employee engagement and productivity.

Automating the onboarding process not only saves HR from the time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks of orientation, but helps new hires receive a consistent and comprehensive onboarding experience for the best possible outcome.

Omni’s highly customizable HR software features bespoke onboarding practices for every stage of the onboarding cycle, including orientation. Discover a variety of easy to use and replicate templates and share information better, welcome new hires faster, and track every step of the process.

To learn more about how Omni can help drive impressions and revolutionize your onboarding experience, book a demo with our team.

For more actionable tools, download our free Onboarding Kit for Company Culture for easy-to-use checklists and expert tips that will take your onboarding to the next level.

New Hire Orientation

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