Employees enter an organization with a basic understanding of how the company operates. In some cases, the new worker’s preconceived notions are based on imperfect or incorrect information; in this case, orientation provides the chance to offer an accurate portrayal. Other times, workers begin with no previous knowledge of the way the organization does business. Regardless of the industry, every employee orientation program shares key objectives.
Corporate culture is the ethos, the general attitude by which a company runs its operations. As explained by Louis Boone, author of “Contemporary Business,” the organization’s leader tends to spearhead corporate culture. This is why the quirky founder of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson, establishes a refreshing, cutting-edge work environment for employees. Orientation is an integral part of ingraining corporate culture in new employees. The tone and attire of the orientation speaker and the decorations in the room are just a few ways culture is subtly conveyed.
Company protocols include the rules and standards governing the business. These protocols include stating the number of vacation and sick days permitted to each worker, reviewing disciplinary measures, discussing office policies and providing a tour of the building. Employees typically receive booklets of this material as well, and some companies require workers to sign the last page of the packet, verifying that they have read and understand the material contained within. This act has the potential to remove liability from the corporation in the event that the employee violates these procedures.
Orientation offers businesses a chance to go over the ethical parameters of the company. For instance, most organizations require their workers to abstain from speaking to media outlets regarding any events related to the business. Other ethical concerns include language and treatment of fellow employees and handling sensitive data or information. Workers can also ask questions during this time related to any ambiguous circumstances or situations that could arise on the job. Peter Stanwick, author of “Understanding Business Ethics,” advises firms to “take inventory” of ethical leanings by issuing hypothetical questions and providing extensive feedback related to the law and corporate policy.
Employee orientation is a prime opportunity to handle logistics and bureaucratic matters related to hiring a worker. Thus, filling out mandatory payroll forms such as W2s and 1099s, emergency contact sheets and Social Security forms assists the human resources department with this mandatory endeavor.