Fri | Jul 19, 2019

Trevor E. S. Smith | Orientation and onboarding in overdrive: Starting a new job

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

"Nobody expected me on my first day at work!"

The first days on the job have far greater impact than is generally appreciated.

The first impressions of the new employee can create a mindset that is challenging to shake. Consequently, more attention should be placed on structuring and executing 'orientation and onboarding' exercises. New team members need to feel that they matter and that the organisation cares!




Smart organisations start the onboarding process once the selection is completed, and an offer has been made and accepted. At that point, the individual is essentially part of the team and engagement rightly begins then.

This period can be used to address the usual transactional activities related to employment. However, there is an opportunity to use this period to shape the new team member's view of the organisation and its culture - through the eyes of the corporation! Newcomers are keen to learn more about their new job.

Organisations can tell their story without the distortions that come from other members of staff. This can be achieved with the effective use of an electronic onboarding system that incorporates the delivery of interactive content, knowledge base and frequently asked questions.

With the effective use of structured pre-induction strategies, new team members arrive on Day 1 informed, engaged, and ready to perform!




Orientation and onboarding includes a lot of routine but necessary activities. The process can be tedious and frustrating for those who are charged with the responsibility. They would rather get on with their real work.

That mood and mindset might spill over into the level of enthusiasm with which they carry out the orientation process. The newcomer may pick up negative vibes.

One solution is to automate some of the onboarding processes, while using the opportunity to enhance them.

For example, the design and structure of orientation and onboarding activities could be standardised with built-in flexibility and be embedded in an electronic onboarding system. Scheduling the induction of a new team member is then simply a matter of changing names, dates, and a few details.

Timetables are automatically generated and notifications sent to all relevant parties.




Currently, the burden of orientation and onboarding has become so burdensome that organisations have opted to undertake the process in batches. This means that Mary could be on the job for months before her orientation!

This is clearly not a desirable situation. Mary must piece together what she thinks is expected of her.

What if there was a viable alternative? Well, there is!

A virtual orientation and oonboarding solution could support and enhance traditional induction exercises. How many new employees have the chance to get a welcome message from the CEO?

Purpose-specific video messages from the CEO can be easily incorporated as part of the time-table of activities.

Organisation charts of relevant departments or units can be used to provide the who is who and what they do information.

There is a body of information that should be clearly understood at the very outset. This includes information on policies and procedures; cybersecurity, sexual harassment, and discipline. Core values and the essence of organisational culture should also be part of the mindset that the new team member takes to their assignment.

The beauty of using a virtual support system is that this knowledge transfer could be taking place on demand, one employee at a time, or across locations and regions in large groups.

But there is more! The system can be set up to incorporate assessments that check and verify that the material has been covered and can be accurately recalled.




n Informed and engaged team members on Day 1.

n Structured orientation and onboarding exercises with less tedium and distraction.

n Improvement in the orientation and onboarding experience.

n Monitoring and reporting on the conduct of the induction exercise.

n Early and effective notification of stakeholders and responsible parties.

n Elimination of batch orientations with employees waiting months to benefit from the orientation exercise.




Ask about the Success with People Academy's customisable electronic 'Orientation & Onboarding Organiser'!

Learn more about the turn-key Leader-Coach Certification programme here: https://leadercoach.

- Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling coaches in the ICF/SHRM-Accredited Certified Behavioural Coach programme. Email: