Orientation for the Next Generation

Change is hard.  Management says, “We’ve always done it this way.” What management does not know is that the largest cultural shift in employment history is upon us.

Today’s new employees are of the digital generation. A study done by Barnes and Noble College shows, while in college, today’s millennials tended to be passive learners. They weren’t interested in simply showing up for class, sitting through a lecture, and taking notes that they’ll memorize for an exam later on. Instead, they expected to be fully engaged and to be a part of the learning process themselves.

In fact, this group tends to thrive when they are given the opportunity to have a fully immersive educational experience and they even enjoy the challenges of being a part of it. For instance, 51% of said they learn best by doing while only 12% said they learn through listening. These same students also mentioned they tend to enjoy group discussions and interactive environments over the traditional dissemination teaching method.

This the persona of your new hires.  Imagine the impression your orientation day makes when you hand out paper and start speaking to a bulleted PowerPoint deck.  It is time to make a change.

Commit to Change

1. You’ll Grab and Retain Quality Talent

There’s a huge battle going in a lot of industries to poach and retain top talent, especially out of Silicon Valley. Nearly 60% of HR professionals think this will continue to rage on, branching into other industries as well. Once upon a time it only took money to grab quality talent, but as companies battle for the top spots and coolest places to work, they’re keeping top talent by starting with leading edge orientation.

2. Early Engagement Reinforces Success

The objective of orientation programs for new employees is engagement. A study by Gallup, the State of the American Workplace, found that regardless of cultural differences in companies, the main deciding factor on how an employee would work out was their level of engagement. Putting your new employees through engaging orientation processes encourages engagement at multiple levels and greatly increases the odds of success.

3. Boosts Business Growth

Engagement is a big deal when it comes to retaining talented employees, so you can benefit from their presence. According to Gallup, employees who were more engaged in their jobs – including through stellar orientation – had 174% high earnings per share than their competitors. That’s a significant step beyond competition.

4. Earn the Trust of Your Employees

A lot of employees burn the bridges of new hires before they even get them started by skimping on orientation. A strong orientation program doesn’t just inform new hires about their role in the company, it educates them about organizational practices. It can only lead to more success when a new hire gets the opportunity to meet the leadership team and make rounds to meet other employees. They’re more likely to align themselves with those goals when they come from someone they trust and are familiar with.

5. Stronger Connections with Employees

You can reinforce this during orientation by assigning new hires to one or more mentors, or have them buddy-up with someone on their first day. This person should serve as a sounding board for ideas and questions, a resource for company information, and to ensure the new employee settles in comfortably.

6. Improved Communication

One of the best ways orientation benefits a business is by improving company communications. A new job can be intimidating when you enter a business with a lot of employees. A strong orientation program provides the structure of communication and lets new hires know where to take their ideas, and who to talk to. This relieves a tremendous amount of pressure and uncertainty for a new employee. It fosters the kind of environment that a new hire will thrive in.

7. Major Decrease in Turnover

It’s often said that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. A lack of orientation leaves a new hire struggling to find their place among coworkers. They’ll also have a more difficult time meshing with leadership roles if they don’t know what to expect or how to deliver on those expectations.

When employees quit, it negatively impacts your bottom line. It costs a considerable investment in time and money to bring on and train new employees. With solid orientation, you can greatly reduce turnover and know whether or not an employee is a good fit right from the start.

The best approach to employee orientation is to get the ball rolling during the recruitment process. Orientation should begin well before the employee starts. When you start orientation early, by the time the employee comes in for the interview they already know a tremendous amount about the company. By their first day, all the paperwork is already completed and they ready to hit the ground running.