Orientation: setting your employees up for success!

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Finding qualified labour can be a real and expensive struggle, so when you find the right employee, it is important to set them off on the right foot. The first few days of work set the tone for the duration of employment.

A robust orientation, also known as onboarding, helps the employee integrate into your workforce quickly and more successfully which improves retention. It will build their confidence, allowing them to be more productive, and promote the lines of communication between the employee and their manager. 

A proper employee orientation:

  • Establishes clear standards and expectations
  • Creates consistent management
  • Outlines and highlights important company policies
  • Ensures a consistent treatment of all employees

Note: Onboarding/orientation is the process of integrating a new worker with the rest of your employees, management, and organizational culture. Training, which we cover in our post How to build a training plan, is the process of educating an employee on the responsibilities of their position.

Where do you start?

Before the first day of work, ensure the employee knows:

  • When to report to work
  • What the dress code is
  • What they need to bring with them (SIN, PPE, banking information, etc.)

In the first few days, you want to make the employee feel welcome and comfortable with their environment and co-workers. Introduce them to management, colleagues, and customers. Ensure they know about the business they’re working for. You can include:

Don’t forget the paperwork!

Setting up payroll is essential, but also ensure you have other employee information to ease communication down the road. Plan to:

  • Prepare payroll information, including the TD1 and other tax forms
  • Obtain personal information for the employee's record
    • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Banking information for payroll deposits
  • Update contact information
    • Employee’s physical address and email
    • Cell phone number
    • A list of emergency contacts

Human Resource policies: Worth their weight in gold

Sometimes written policies can get overlooked, but a formal written policy can help create structure, consistency and communicate expectations to all employees. It is important to review the policies in person and ensure the employee fully understand their rights, responsibilities, and entitlements. Allow the employee the opportunity to ask questions and take the time to give comprehensive answers. A fulsome understanding of policies (and why they are in place) from the start will help prevent issues arising down the road. 

Better safe than sorry: Review occupational health and safety

Many workplace injuries happen when employees are not familiar with health and safety requirements at their workplace. You must ensure all new employees are familiar with:

  • Safety standards
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Injury reporting
  • First aid station and representatives
  • Workplace violence, harassment, and bullying procedures

You have a legal obligation to properly inform, instruct and supervise your employees and to do everything you reasonably can to protect them!

A quick check-up: Schedule a feedback meeting

It is always good to keep the lines of communication open with your new employee. Plan to have a meeting at the end of the first day and then again at the end of the first week to ensure you are in sync.

Ask questions such as:

  • Has anything surprised you about your job?
  • What was the most interesting thing about our business that you have learned?
  • Did you interact with a client? How did that go?
  • What do you need to learn next?
  • What is the key safety practice to be injury-free in this job?

Creating a successful employee orientation plan will set the groundwork for a productive and satisfying employment relationship. Your new employee will feel welcomed, valued, and have an easier time integrating with current employees, leading to an employment relationship that helps your business strengthen and grow.

CFIB members can access our Orientation Checklist via the Member Portal to use as a springboard for creating a great onboarding experience. The Checklist is customizable to meet the needs of your business and the position being filled. 

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