Ch. 6 Orientation, Training and Performance Management
New employees need a clear understanding of company policies, or expectations regarding their performance, and of operating
procedures. In long term, a comprehensive orientation program can lead to reductions in turnover, increased morale, fewer instances
of corrective discipline, and fewer employee grievances. It can also reduce the number of workplace injuries, particularly for young
Purpose of Orientation Programs
Employee orientation (onboarding) is a procedure for providing new employees with basic background information about the firm and
●Part of ongoing socialization process
Socialization is the ongoing process of instilling in all employees the prevailing attitudes, standards, values, and patterns of behavior
that are expected by the organization. A strong onboarding program can speed up the socialization process and result in the new
employee achieving full productivity as quickly as possible.
●Helps reduce first day jitters and reality shock
Reality shock is the discrepancy between what the new employee expected from his or her new job and its realities.
●Foundation for ongoing performance management
An important part of any effective orientation program is sitting down and deciding on work-related goals with the new employee.
These goals provide the basis for early feedback and establish a foundation for ongoing performance management.
●Improved retention levels and reduced recruitment costs
Content of Orientation Programs
●Internal publications (a handbook that covers matters like company history and current mission; working hours and
attendance expectations; vacations and holidays; payroll, employee benefits, and pensions; and work regulations and policies
such as personal use of company technology. )
●Facility tour and staff introductions
●Job-related documents and explanation of duties, responsibilities
●Expected training to be received
●Performance appraisal criteria
Responsibility for Orientation
1. HR specialist
●explains corporate information like working hours and vacation
●follows up over time after the initaial orientation to address any remaining questions
●explains the exact nature of the job
●introduction of colleagues and familiarizing the new employee with the workplace.
3. Buddy or mentor (employee at a peer level)
●assists with day-to-day items
Special Orientation Situation
1. Diverse workforce
In an organization that has not had a diverse workforce in the past, orienting new employees from different backgrounds poses a
special challenge. New employees should be advised to expect a variety of reactions from current employees to someone from a
different background and be given some tips on how to deal with these reactions.
2. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
Employee hired into a newly merged company need to receive information about the details of the merger or acquisition as part of
the information on company history. They also need to be made aware of any ongoing, as yet unresolved difficulties regarding day-
to-day operational issue related to their work. A further orientation issue arises with respect to the existing employees at the time of
the M&A: A new company culture will evolve in the merged organization, and everyone will experience a re-socialization process.
3. Union versus non-union employees
New employees in unionized positions need to be provided with a copy of the collective agreement and be told which information
relates specifically to their particular job. They also need to be introduced to their union stewards, have payroll deduction of union
dues explained, and be informed of the names of union executive members.
4. Multi-location organizations
New employees in a multi-location company need to be made aware of where the other locations are and what business functions
are performed in each location.
Problems with Orientation Programs
1. Information overload: too much information in a short time can overwhelm employee
2. Too many forms to fill out
3. Little or no orientation provided, which means that new employees must personally seek answers to each question that arises
and work without a good understanding of what is expected of them.
4. HR information can be too broad; supervisor’s information can be too detailed expect the new employee to remember it all.
Evaluation of Orientation Programs
Orientation programs should be evaluated to assess whether they are providing timely, useful information to new employees in a
cost-effective manner. Three approaches to evaluating orientation programs are as follows:
1. Employee reaction: Interview new employees for their opinion on the usefulness of the orientation program.
2. Socialization effects: Review new employees at regular intervals to assess progress toward understanding and acceptance of
the beliefs, values and norms of the organization.
3. Cost/benefit analysis: Compare costs of program (e.g. materials, time) to benefits (reduction in errors, rate of productivity,
The common assumption is that the new executive is a professional and will know what to do, but full executive integration can take
up to 18 months. A lack of attention to executive integration can result in serious problems with assimilation and work effectiveness.
Integration at senior levels in the organization requires an ongoing process that can continue for months as the new executive learns
about the unspoken dynamics of the organization that are not covered in orientation programs, such as how decisions are really
made and who holds what type of power.