This analysis examines, draw conclusions and make recommendations for implementing new hire orientation plan. At the moment, ABC, Inc. (“the company”) seems to be interested in conducting orientation programs, but needs to refine its methods and procedures in order to offer an effective process to its new hires. Thus, this analysis deals with a wide array of issues and challenges, which should clarify the current situation and to indicate the required steps towards the goal.
Consequently, this analysis report entails three major parts: The first two sections provide an overview on the current situation, as well as the major problems and challenges that require solutions. Subsequently, several feasible alternatives will be discussed, including the pros and cons of each one. Finally, the last two sections discuss and justify the best solutions, and provide recommendation for successful implementation of the new operating program.
New hire orientation is one of the most crucial, though one of the most neglected (Brown, 2009) tasks in the hiring process. The rationale of orientation programs is to prepare new employees, in particular inexperienced workers (but also every other employee), to the rules, the policies, and the organizational culture of their perspective workplace. By doing so, the company should expect several key benefits: (ibid.)
- Reduction of learning time (and thus faster path into productivity and lower costs)
- Reduction of anxiety and building realistic expectations
- Reduction of initial mistakes, waste of resources, nervousness of clients and colleagues, etc.
- Efficient execution of all pre-employment steps, such as physical checks and purchasing of uniforms.
- When done in groups – saving time (compared to individual orientation process)
However, many companies miss this opportunity to ensure better adaption of new hires in their new workplace. This may be partially due to lack of interest and/or awareness to the benefits of new hire orientation; failure to assign this task to a particular person; lack of homogeneity between departments, which leads to many separate (and slightly different) orientation programs; or from many other reasons. In our case, similarly to the situation in many other organizations, there has been a demand for orientation programs among some managers, but the demand has not been met, probably to an implementation failure in the HRM department. In addition to the potential loss of the company as a result of poor new hire orientation, it should be rather safe to assume that the lack of a structured “welcoming” process may lead to bad first impression, with implications ranging from initial lower motivation to hurting the company’s image as an employer.
Obviously, the lack of well-planned and properly executed new hire orientation is only the result, or a symptom, to a wider array of weaknesses at the company. These flaws in the company’s HR operations, which are briefly described below, also represent the matters that should be dealt with in the second half of this analysis report.
To make things clear, the problems are divided into two categories, with several problematic matters in each one:
- Low priority for orientation programs:
– Although the components of the orientation program are clear and seem important, the program was not conducted recently.
– The recruitment team (and perhaps the HR department as a whole) is responsive, and not proactive, to the issue of orientation programs.
– There is a clear inconsistency between the efforts being put to recruit new trainees and the efforts given to ensure smooth entry
- Lack of (proper) documentation:
– Manuals, protocols, etc. do are not available and/or are incomplete
– As it is not frequently used, the documentation is most probably not up-to-date.
– Although there are clear entry dates, orientation schedules are not fixed.
– Based on all the above, it can be argued that any possible solution should involve changes in several areas and functional divisions. The company requires a new way of thinking and doing in these aspects. Moreover, all work processes must be very well documented, scheduled and coordinated among all affected units and workers.
Different circumstances require different solution to seemingly identical problems. Before going into the proposed solution and implementation, it is imperative to indicate which solutions may seems appropriate at first, but are not optimal to this situation. Two of these viable but unsatisfactory solutions are:
- “Do-it-yourself” orientation program: this method passes the whole responsibility for the orientation to the employee herself. Under this economical method, the HR department can prepare a checklist for new hires, which includes all the pre-employment tasks and relevant contact persons. This method requires little time from the existing personnel and may ensure execution of all relevant tasks; however, it will fail to introduce the company to its new hires, and may create confusion and unnecessary anxiety.
- Giving full responsibility to the prospective supervisors: Since every trainee, for example, is going to work under a mentor, it may be wise to let this mentor manage and conduct the whole orientation procedure, from undertaking the physical checks to learning the “way we do things around here.” Although this view is highly supported among some HR scholars (e.g. Miller, 2006), it would not be the optimal solution in this case. This is due to the high number of new trainees, as well as the company’s need to get all its new trainees a similar introduction to its culture and workings, in order to ensure better workflow in the near future (e.g. by ensuring homogeneity of values, priorities, and so on).
The current weakness at the company in regard to its orientation procedure can and should be solved through joined operation of the HR department and the prospective supervisors, lead by the respective recruiter. As the details of this case refer to orientation of new trainees, the most appropriate leader for the orientation program should be the campus recruiter. Due to the high number of tasks and participants, the process should start not later than four weeks before the first day of employment. In order to facilitate an effective and efficient process, the proposed solution is presented on a timetable, heading towards the first day of employment:
- Preparation steps: Should be completed at least four weeks before the date. Include: updating and issuing self-learning manuals, policy booklets, etc.; mentoring training for prospective supervisors; and finding all the required contact persons.
- Until three weeks before the entry date: distributing the manuals and conducting individual tasks such as physical checks, drug testing and purchase of clothing according to the company’s dress code.
- Until two weeks before the entry date: group seminars, workshops, examination on the self-learning materials.
- Until one week before the entry date: job-specific training, preferably in groups, on issues such as computer skills, safety and organizational structure.
- Last week: completing the orientation with the respective supervisors.
As a campus recruiter, Mr. Robins should be aware of the importance of his decisions to the building of the young workforce. In this context, awareness implies that he must take a proactive approach and lead the orientation process. It is clear, however, that since many of Mr. Robins’ colleagues may not appreciate the importance of the program, and even find it as boring or disturbing (Brown, 2009), proper orientation programs should be rooted in the organizational culture and workings, just as any other primary HR task.
As for other unit managers, their role on the last days of the training schedule described above is critical. These officials must bare in mind their first impression on the new staff. Those who will make the efforts should expect high returns to their investment, which will be noticed when “their” trainees will bring better results, make less mistakes and be generally more satisfied and professional.
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