Saturday September 23 2017

Help new staff settle better

By Isaiah Kitimbo

It is a normal practice to visit washrooms whenever need arises. But it is quite embarrassing, in some cultures, for one to ask for restrooms, in the public. To avoid such and any other ‘inappropriate’ questions, the host should always inform guests in advance.
Likewise, at the workplace, it is necessary that new employees know their environment as they try to fit in. This can be done through induction and orientation, programmes that help new staff to know their respective jobs, departments, reporting lines and the organisation better.
Orientation serves as a roadmap; providing an understanding of the organisation’s general framework while induction serves as a compass that enables new entrants to get specific directions.
A company can have a systematic method of orienting staff. Informally, new entrants get orientation from co-workers. The danger with this approach is that some co-workers can give misleading and imprecise information.
Orientation is vital because it helps to inform individuals’ schema of work and create the maps the new staff will have regarding the organisation. As the old adage; ‘first impressions are lasting impressions,’ an effective orientation programme has an immediate and lasting impact on the new employee and can make the difference between their success or failure.
While conducting the programme, it is important to address key issues such as history of the organisation, strategic plan, overall financial background, HR policies, marketing and growth plans, job responsibilities, and administration procedures.
While some firms have overall orientation programmes, which are designed for all employees, others develop specific programmes for one type of job classification or one unit. The length of conducting an orientation exercise varies. It can be two or more weeks.
Every employee should be given an orientation packet of information that includes company organisation chart, copy of policies, benefits and procedures.

The writer is a human resources expert and a journalist [email protected]