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Starting Off on the Right Foot: The Importance of Employee Orientation

For many new employees, the first day at a new job can be as exciting and unnerving as the first day of school. Common concerns may include how well they will fit in, how quickly they will adapt to their new environment and how they will interact with an entirely new group of people. On this day, employers and human resources management are presented with an opportunity to make a strong first impression with an employee orientation.

The primary objective of a new employee orientation is to integrate employees into the company. Themes and topics discussed during an employee orientation may include:

  • A walkthrough of the facility
  • A presentation detailing the company culture and values
  • A brief overview of company policies
  • An introduction or presentation identifying executive staff
  • A brief history of the company and its goals

Although there is a lot of information that needs to be conveyed during the orientation, remember to make it fun and interactive. Try to incorporate a variety of presentation methods like PowerPoint presentations, videos and company-themed games like Jeopardy. Using various presentation methods is especially useful for presenting dry, rigid material as it allows you to retain their attention. The ultimate goal should be to ensure that each new employee feels valued, engaged and excited about this new opportunity.

To add structure to an employee orientation, consider making a checklist or outline. This will allow employees to stay actively involved during the presentation. Ending each section with a review or fun quiz is a great way to make the material more memorable. Do not forget to set aside some time to inform the new hires about company perks and benefits. Let them know when they become eligible for benefits and the best ways to take advantage of them.

Companies with new hire orientation programs frequently report higher levels of job satisfaction, stronger retention rates and a more motivated workforce. Taking the time to welcome new employees into an organization through an employee orientation sets a positive tone and is a great way to start off on the right foot.

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Dos and Don’ts for Developing Multi-Generational Teams

Whether you are leading a team of 5 or 100, there is a good chance that the age range will span across several different generations. By 2014, the AARP estimates that 32 percent of the total American workplace will be older than 50 – up from just 27 percent in 2005 – but younger hires (especially those just graduating college) are still eager to begin working right away as well. The challenges of handling employees of different ages can be tricky, but these Do and Don’t tips can help.

Do: Set Ground Rules for the Workplace

One of the key ways to have an effective multi-generational team is to be clear and upfront about the rules or protocol in the workplace. Baby Boomers, for example, might be confused about why the dress code seems so casual; while millennial employees, alternatively, might find business practices done over the phone, rather than through email, as unusual. A company should establish protocol that includes dress code standards, working hours, penalties and/or rewards. If everyone is clear about the rules and guidelines, then no one will feel purposely excluded.

Don’t: Assume Anything About Your Team or Their Skills

While it’s important to know what your employees and new hires are capable of, don’t assume certain skills or traits belong to a particular individual, regardless of their age or generation they grew up in. This is especially true among Baby Boomers, which are the largest growing demographic within the workforce. Although a new manager might be incredibly effective, don’t assume that they can use Twitter to learn about workplace meetings. Be direct and straightforward, which can resolve issues much faster and with less room for error.

Do: Tailor Rewards to Your Audience

It is important to tailor rewards to your audience in order for them to remain effective. Bonuses geared towards a younger generation might not appeal to older generations. For example, offering a 25-year-old employee tickets to a social event as a reward for a job well done might go over well, but a 65-year-old employee might not appreciate the gesture.

Don’t: Separate Age Groups

According to a survey conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison, more than 60 percent of employees feel some kind of inter-generational conflict, much of which is encouraged by being separated, rather than working as a team. Many managers and recruiters believe that separating employees by generation will be easier in the long run, but that is typically a mistake. When you are able to create a multi-generational team that can function well together, you blend a range of attitudes and experiences that make an incredible asset for any company.

When done correctly, a multi-generational team is a great choice for any business. These Dos and Don’ts will make it easier to craft an effective all-ages team.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2013/02/14/how-to-communicate-in-the-new-multigenerational-office/

http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/cs/misc/leading_a_multigenerational_workforce.pdf

http://www.trainingmag.com/content/multigenerational-workforce-communication-conundrum