You’re Hired! Now What?

Effective Orientation & Introduction to the Company

Norb Slowikowski / May 2016

Welcome to the company! Creating a good first impression should be top of mind when it comes to introducing a new hire to the inner workings of the company. First off, an effective orientation program is the preliminary key to an employee’s success on the job. The purpose of an orientation (for any and all new people working for the company) is the chance to start the new employee on the right path that is right in line with the company’s mission.
    
The new hire should not jump into the job until he understands the culture and how the company functions. Without an effective orientation program, the employee will flounder and have to figure out how to operate on his own, which isn’t fair to anyone involved.
    
Without the knowledge of how things work, the company will lose both time and, more importantly, productivity. An organized approach to introducing the employee to the operational structure will provide a win/win outcome for all parties.
    
An effective orientation includes the following steps:
    
First stop: human resources. The new employee first meets with the HR manager to review the company history, mission, vision and values as well as the type of work that will be expected of him. The new hire should be given the employee handbook, which includes company information as well as what will be provided to the new employee: benefits, rules and procedures, processes and the overall organizational chart of all team players.
    
Take a tour of each department. The employee should then meet with a designated person in each department (preferably someone in a management position) for approximately 20 to 30 minutes to get an overall impression of how each department functions and how he fits into the larger picture. It’s also a chance to put a face to the name of each functional unit within the company.
    
Tour job sites with the project manager. The employee should then visit some job sites with one or more project managers to gain an understanding of how field operations work within the structure of the company’s way of doing things. He will meet with the foreman on the job sites to witness first-hand the foreman’s relationship with the general contractor and the other trades. While driving from job to job, the project manager will have the time to explain how the project management function works and how PMs and foremen work together in developing a partnership in the field.
    
Next, meet with the safety manager. A meeting with the safety manager is key. The new employee will get an overview of the safety procedures and expectations as well as gain an understanding of the company’s safety program. A review of safety procedures enhances the chance of the employee staying safe and accident-free on the job.
    
Where do they keep everything? The next place to stop would be at the warehouse to meet the warehouse manager so that the new employee can learn the process for delivery of tools, equipment and material to the job sites; paperwork requirements, inventory procedures, the foreman’s ordering responsibilities, how to transfer and return items to the warehouse, and material handling processes and techniques.
    
How do we get jobs? A short meeting with the estimator is a good place for the employee to learn how the estimating process is used for the bidding process in acquiring work for the company.
    
Who’s my boss? Lastly, the employee will meet with his immediate supervisor for a debriefing of the day and to gain an understanding of the following key information:

  • Review the employee’s key job responsibilities and expectations. It is important to allow the new hire a chance to clarify position and expectations.
  • Complete any required paperwork.
  • Performance evaluations.
  • Pay increases and how they are awarded.
  • Company benefits package.
  • Company dress code.
  • Teamwork. Stress that this is the company’s management system. Everyone works together to maximize productivity and profitability

Allow the new employee the opportunity to ask questions. Make sure that everything about the new hire’s position is clarified and that expectations of supervisor and employee are understood on both sides.
    
Creating a welcoming environment is the first step to success for a new employee. Implementing a comprehensive orientation program allows for a new hire to get up to speed quickly and have a positive impact.

Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill. To contact him, email norbslow2@gmail.com.