New Employee Orientation 101 [With Free Checklist]

Julia Daihl



They’re nervous and you’re excited. Or maybe it’s more like you’re nervous and they’re excited.


Either way, new hire orientation is a big deal. It’s your new-found-talent’s real first introduction to the company. It’s like a third date. You’re past the basic “hi this is me” conversations and now you’re starting to actually get to know each other.


You’re setting the stage, you’re placing expectations, and you’re establishing a cadence.  


It’s important to have a good onboarding program, which includes a well thought out orientation. New hires need to be clear on their role and the culture they’re about to become part of.


In a study conducted by Click Boarding, it was found that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.


Since onboarding is a crucial part of the employee journey, we’ve highlighted a few of the essential elements to a good new hire orientation.



New Employee Orientation 101


New Employee Orientation Basics

First things first. Orientation is the first step to a good onboarding program. A poor orientation most likely means a poor onboarding process. If onboarding were a meal, new hire orientation is the appetizer. It sets the tone for what will come next.


A good orientation is comprised of a few different ingredients.


First Ingredient: Be Prepared

There is nothing worse for a new hire than a bad orientation. If you are not prepared for their first day, it gives off a sense of carelessness and gives them an impression that they’re not wanted. Avoid this at all costs possible.


Be prepared by having the necessary paperwork ready, potential answers to potential questions thought of, and a standardized process created so that all employees receive the same welcome.


Second Ingredient: Make Orientation Fun

No more reading boring processes, please. Okay, those are still important but highlight the points that are SUPER important and then let them read the full policies and processes on their own time.


Break the ice and play a game or two to help you and your new hire(s) get to know each other. These are best played in a group orientation or with their new team!


Third Ingredient: Make It Informative

Duh, right? Not so much. Many companies often get stuck on the policies and processes. Yes, informative, but not the only aspect they should be informing about. They forget orientation is also about teaching new hires company history, brand expectations, and what benefits they receive for being part of the tribe.


Fourth Ingredient: Welcome Kits

Everyone likes gifts and new hires are no exception. Welcome kits are a great way to say “hello” and help new hires have a fascinating first day. It helps them be prepared for their first week and gives them a sense of belonging – do you still need to be convinced why these are a good idea?



Day Zero – Welcome Them Before They Walk Through the Door

Start orientation before they even show up for their first day. Send a welcome packet to their home with those necessary documents that are needed to be filled out to help save time and keep their first day focused on the fun elements of work. With that packet, it’s a good idea to send a gift, like the welcome kits, to get them excited about their first day! Talk about feeling loved! Your new hires will brag about how awesome the new company they’re about to work for is, with a gift before they arrive!


Orientation will be something they look forward to!



Orientation Faux-Pas to Stay Away From

It happens. The Power Point won’t work. The printer is jammed so the paperwork isn’t ready. The coffee maker is on the fritz. Some mishaps are unavoidable, but here are some faux-pas to stay away from on their first day orientation.


Misspelled names. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Important documents shouldn’t be rushed through. Take time to look over all your materials. From legal docs to name tags, make sure there are no typos.


Late start. Be sure to start on time, especially if one of your company policies frowns on tardiness.


Inconsistency. It’s so very incredibly important to keep your orientation consistent. Not only will it help so that you don’t miss any information, but it will help ensure all employees are being welcomed the same way. So, if you do not currently have a structured orientation in your onboarding plan, please create one ASAP.



New Hire Orientation Checklist

Here are some of the things you’ll want to have to make a successful new hire orientation.

  • All the correct paperwork (this can vary by position, industry, state, etc. Here’s a list we found from our friends at Workable to get you started)
  • New employee badge (or guest if yours requires a photo)
  • Materials for ice breaker games
  • New hire gifts/welcome kits
  • Power Point slides on deck
  • Snacks/lunch (if orientation is a half or full day)
  • Cleaned and clear workspace/locker for new employee
  • Pens for signing paperwork and notepads for notes



Want more onboarding ideas or inspiration on making #workhappy? Follow our blog.

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