How to Create an Engaging Orientation & Onboarding Program for New Employees

By Jennifer Gaskin, Jul 21, 2021

new employee orientation

A person’s first few weeks at a new job are a mix of excitement and anxiety as they settle into their new role and find out how they fit into the company culture. Unfortunately, many companies lag when it comes to getting new hires off to a good start. The consequences of doing a bad job at new employee orientation can be costly.

High turnover and poor productivity are common problems that can stem from ineffective orientation and onboarding, but companies that get these tasks right can improve retention by 82% and boost worker productivity by more than 70%.

One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that the materials used in the onboarding and orientation process are not only informative but engaging. Venngage for HR teams is one of the best tools for HR teams looking to improve their visual communication.


 

Click to jump ahead:

 

What is new employee orientation?

New employee orientation refers to the process of introducing a new team member into the workplace. This process generally takes place over the course of a few days to a week and differs from onboarding, which we’ll address in a moment.

Depending on your organization and the team member’s job functions, new employee orientation typically includes some or all of the following:

  • Filling out health insurance, tax and other paperwork
  • Introductions to coworkers
  • Tour of work area or entire facility
  • Setting up desk or workstation
  • Review of handbook, including key policies and company mission

 

New employee orientation vs. onboarding

Many companies use the terms orientation and onboarding interchangeably, but they differ in important ways. The easiest way to make the distinction clear is that orientation is a part of onboarding, but the onboarding process extends far beyond basic new employee orientation.

Onboarding can last as long as a year, depending on the role and the organization. At the end of an onboarding period, the team member should be fully trained and integrated into the company culture, and they should have a clear set of goals and expectations for their future at the company.

Read more11+ Tips for the Best Employee Onboarding Process

 

Benefits of successful orientation and onboarding

Though orientation and onboarding have their own unique aspects, both are critical parts of ensuring new employees can be successful in their jobs. The benefits of good onboarding and orientation include:

A more satisfying employee experience

New hires who feel that they are left to their own devices are less likely to understand their jobs or feel that they are an important part of an organization. Creating comprehensive orientation and onboarding materials can help set the right tone from Day One.

Building company culture

The majority of organizations that invest in creating a cohesive onboarding experience say new team members are better able to fully become part of the company’s existing culture. One way to do this is to ensure your onboarding materials tell the brand story early and often.

Improving productivity

Companies that have effective onboarding procedures boost retention of new team members by 82% and improve productivity by more than 70%. Poor orientation and onboarding are likely to turn good hires into bad ones.

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Best practices for establishing orientation and onboarding procedures

How can organizations without strong orientation and onboarding procedures build those programs for their team members? Here are some tips to get you started:

Start early

Waiting to connect until a new team member’s first day on the job means you’ll miss out on important opportunities to create rapport and establish company culture.

Something you can start preparing before a new hire’s first day includes:

New Employee Orientation


 

Each interaction the new hire has should be considered part of their orientation and onboarding experience. Introduce the new team member via email, Slack or any other internal communication platforms before they start so the rest of the team already knows a bit about them.

Here’s an example of a template you can use to introduce a new hire to the rest of the team by asking them three fun facts about themselves:

New Employee Orientation


 

Be practical

Flowery language about your mission is important, but people also need to know where they’re supposed to park and what to expect on their first day. Make sure they know those key action items before their first day.

Break down the first week

Create a schedule of activities for their first several days, up to their first week. Build socialization into this by encouraging teammates to take lunch together or organize a happy hour after their first day.

Keep information digestible

The mass data dump that often happens on a person’s first day at a new job is overwhelming no matter how quickly they can read. Make sure they know the exact amount of reading materials they need to do within a week and that they will get the information they need if they trust the process.

Maintain a focus on the long-term

Yes, people need to know what their schedule is and how many vacation days they get. But if you are investing in orientation and onboarding, you probably want this person to be around for the long haul. If it takes them more than a few days to grasp some process, that’s OK.

Work with new hires to establish goals

Make sure team members get plenty of one-on-one time with supervisors and mentors who can help them settle in, and eventually, the group should work together to establish the employee’s goals for the next 60, 90 and 180 days.

Work with your new hires on this template to help them establish their goals:

new employee orientation


 

With a Business account, Venngage users can access real-time collaboration features. This means that once they’ve added team members to their Venngage account, they can collaborate in real time with their colleagues on any designs:

new employee orientation

Be open to feedback

Especially for companies who have previously had a haphazard approach to orientation and onboarding, the first few forays are likely to be imperfect. With every new hire, get their honest feedback about what they found helpful and what could have been better.

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Company handbooks and presentation examples

Company handbooks are typically given to new hires during the orientation process, but they’re also a good opportunity to do some of the important work of onboarding. Many organizations have hard copies of their handbooks, but PDFs or PowerPoint handbook presentations are also common.

RelatedHow to Write an Employee Handbook [Examples + Tips]

Onboarding handbooks and presentations

If you’re looking for a template that will help elevate your handbook materials to something that goes beyond informing people about key policies? Check out these onboarding handbooks and presentations.

new employee orientation


 

Onboarding-focused materials can provide basic information about the company, but they should focus on setting long-term expectations. In this example, one of the first slides covers what should happen in the first day, week and month of the team member’s tenure.

Once you’ve finished your handbook, you can share a public link for free or upgrade to a team account to share a private link with your colleagues:

new employee orientation

A paid Venngage account allows you to download templates as PNG or PDF. You can also upgrade to a Business account to export the onboarding handbook in PPT format to use on PowerPoint or Google Slides:

new employee orientation

Let’s look at some other examples of employee handbooks you can customize for your new hire orientation:

new employee orientation


 

When creating onboarding materials, it’s important to be upfront about the company’s mission and culture. One good way to do that is to make it personal, as the third slide of this presentation does.

new employee orientation


 

Onboarding-focused handbooks are at their best when they are created from the perspective of a successful team member. Information in these types of handbooks should focus on setting clear expectations about the organization and the team member’s role in it, both today and in the future.

new employee orientation


 

For some organizations, their place in a broad societal context is an important aspect of their culture. Companies with strong corporate social responsibility policies should consider creating an onboarding handbook in which those policies are front and center.

new employee orientation


 

Onboarding-focused handbooks also provide a great opportunity to establish company values with visuals. This example uses friendly, flat icons and a pastel color palette, but by using Venngage for Business, you can ensure your handbook reflects your brand’s story.

Simply go to My Brand Kit to have your logos and brand colors extracted automatically from your website:

Autobrand

Once that’s done, you can apply your branding elements to any of your designs in just one click:

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Orientation handbooks and presentations

Orientation is a process best done quickly and efficiently. Pairing the data dump of policies and procedures with good visual design principles can help ensure new hires are well-informed and remain engaged with the information.

new employee orientation


 

New hire presentations that have employee orientation as their key focus should be utilitarian, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Pair information with company policies and striking visuals like stock photos and trendy gradients to keep your audience interested.

new employee orientation


 

As with any other type of visual asset you create, orientation presentations should reflect your brand’s story. In this case, flat illustrations and icons make this design approachable and friendly.

new employee orientation


 

Other brands lend themselves more to bold presentation, and any new hire who encounters this ultra-futuristic orientation handbook will get the clear sense that their new workplace is modern and forward-thinking.

new employee orientation


 

Consider breaking your orientation materials into smaller sections or chapters. This will help your team members refer back to important information without having to flip from page to page.

With Venngage for HR, multiple team members can collaborate and you can ensure your corporate visual identity is applied with My Brand Kit.

new employee orientation


 

A minimalist design like the one above is appropriate for brands of all types and can help ensure the focus is on the important information being shared.

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Onboarding and orientation checklist examples

Both for HR teams and new employees, checklists are a good way to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. This is particularly true during the orientation phase when new team members are probably signing important tax, health insurance, retirement and other documentation.

new employee orientation


 

Orientation is a complex task that typically touches many departments within an organization, from IT to human resources to legal. No single person can keep track of every task, so smart HR departments and leaders create orientation checklists to ensure all necessary tasks are completed.

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Good orientation isn’t a one-way street, and getting new hires involved in the process can help instill a sense of ownership in their role within the organization. Consider a multi-page checklist like this one that lets both employee and supervisor have input.

new employee orientation


 

Even in small teams, it’s common for multiple veterans in organizations to take a role in new employee orientation. An orientation checklist like this one lets you assign orientation-related tasks to different team members and indicate when each one should be completed.

new employee orientation


 

Make sure the basics are covered when you bring in a new team member with this no-frills orientation checklist.

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Training and microlearning examples

Training and microlearning materials are important both in orientation and onboarding. In the short term, educational materials help ensure people understand basic job processes. In the long term, training materials are useful in employee development.

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Microlearning is a training method that delivers information over the course of several brief lessons rather than one long span.

Microlearning can boost information retention and avoid overload or burnout. Customize this microlearning presentation to fit your organization.

new employee orientation


 

Make sure your team members, whether they’re new or seasoned vets, have important soft skills like collaboration, in addition to monitoring their development of hard skills related to their job tasks.

new employee orientation


 

Inspire good customer service for team members who deal with the public by customizing this infographic. Update the tips or add your own, and modify the content to speak to what your organization does.

new employee orientation


 

One important aspect of new employee orientation is building the foundation for good work habits. Consider creating a daily activity log that team members fill out to ensure they remain accountable for getting work done.

new employee orientation


 

Use this employee safety training module to help you create materials for new team members as well as materials to ensure everyone in the organization receives ongoing updates and refreshers on safety procedures.

new employee orientation


 

Make sure your sales team orientation, onboarding and development materials are backed by lessons from the success or failure of your organization’s past sales efforts. Use these tips to customize this infographic or create your own from thousands of other templates.

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Onboarding resources for remote teams

While many companies shifted to remote work during the pandemic, for some organizations, that shift will be permanent. Meanwhile, many companies were partially or fully remote long before COVID-19. The orientation and onboarding process for remote teams requires some specialized materials.

new employee orientation


 

Remote team members are likely to encounter more systems on which they’ll need to be trained. The lack of direct, face-to-face interaction means they’ll have a harder time getting questions answered as well.

That’s why having in-depth onboarding and orientation materials is crucial, as it provides virtual new hire orientation.

new employee orientation


 

Companies that aren’t fully remote may be interested in dabbling in permitting employees to work from wherever they want. For these companies, it’s critical to ensure certain policies are adopted and well-communicated.

new employee orientation


 

Just as your HR team would share tips for in-office workers to be successful at their jobs, considering create some resource materials to guide remote workers. Infographics like this one are easy to customize for your industry or even for each type of worker.

new employee orientation


 

If your organization shifted to remote work for the pandemic and is planning a return to the office, make sure your entire team knows what’s expected of them and what resources are available.

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In summary: Start new hires off on the right foot by creating engaging orientation and onboarding materials

With a Business account, teams can engage in real-time collaboration, apply their branding with one click and export files they can bring right into PowerPoint. With these tools, HR team members have no trouble setting new team members up for long-term success.

If you want to see how easy it is to create engaging yet informative orientation and onboarding materials for your new hires, simply sign up for a Venngage account and test out our drag-and-drop editor and fully customizable templates. It’s free to get started.


 

 

 

About Jennifer Gaskin

A veteran of newsrooms and agencies, Jennifer Gaskin is a writer, editor and designer who is the only living person not to have strong feelings on the Oxford comma. She's an award-winning practitioner of journalism and information design who spent the better part of a decade as the creative director of a digital marketing shop. As a writer, Jennifer contributes to a variety of publications while working with clients as well as taking on her own projects.