Dollars and Sense: Help new employees to be productive

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Last week, I wrote about the importance of recruiting talented A player employees through the maintenance of a vigorous recruiting process.

The assimilation of new employees into the organization then becomes the next piece of the talent management process.

In times when labor was abundant, new employee orientation was often considered at best a necessary evil at many organizations. Employees completed required paperwork, maybe received instructions on company polices and perhaps watched a film or video about the company.

It was often a boring process that added little value. Many small companies do not even have new employee orientation programs.

All organizations, regardless of size, should strive to have a meaningful orientation process. A well designed process will handle the legally required matters (tax forms, benefits enrollment, etc.) quickly and efficiently.

Some organizations have already moved these processes to the Internet. Employee benefits typically constitute from 20 to 40 percent of total compensation for the typical employee so this area deserves attention. This is especially true for organizations using their retirement and healthcare benefits as a competitive advantage in attracting A players.

Helping new employees become quickly productive is the ultimate goal of the orientation process. To accomplish this, new employees should learn about the organization’s culture.

They need to know how the company is structured and managed and about its core philosophies and guiding principles. New employees also need to be introduced to what the business does and how it makes a profit. Amazingly, this is often overlooked in many orientation programs.

And finally, the orientation process is the ideal time to set performance and behavioral expectations and to ensure that new employees understand how their job performance will be evaluated. Combine all these activities and you will have an orientation process that works.

How much time should the new employee orientation process consume? Focus on making your organization’s new employee orientation as good as it can be and the time investment decision will become obvious