New employee orientation (also called “onboarding”) introduces new employees to the workplace and familiarizes them with some of the company’s basic practices. Onboarding should be conducted as soon after an employee’s start date as possible. Some of the topics you may wish to cover include:
- Welcome. Give your new employee a brief tour of the workplace and introduce managers and co-workers. Be sure the employee’s work station is neat and organized to make him or her feel welcome.
- New Hire Paperwork. Orientation is a good time to collect and complete any necessary paperwork, such as Form I-9 (an employee must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of work for pay), Form W-4, and any required state income tax withholding forms.
- Compensation and Benefits. Provide details on pay periods, direct deposit, payroll deductions, health insurance, and any other benefits to which your new employee may be entitled. Prepare a benefits packet ahead of time to give to the employee and let him or her know who can answer questions.
- Attendance and Leave. Review the employee’s expected hours of work, as well as the company’s policies regarding absenteeism, meal and break periods, and time off (including notice required).
- Employee Conduct. Make sure the employee understands the rules regarding dress code, telephone and computer use, and other expectations. If your policies are explained in an employee handbook, be sure the employee receives a copy.
- Safety and Security. Explain necessary safety and security procedures and distribute building keys, employee identification, and parking passes as appropriate.
- Required Training. Schedule training sessions as soon as possible so the employee can learn about the technology, safety, and any other special skills necessary to perform his or her job.
Regardless of whether you distribute a full employee handbook, it’s a good idea (and in some instances may be legally required) to inform employees in writing of your company’s policies. Remember to follow up with your employee during the first several weeks to address any concerns and answer any questions that may come up. You can find more tips for helping the orientation process run smoothly in the section on Onboarding within the Client Resource Center HR Library.