Survey: Orientation Programs Effective But Not Offered By A Third Of Employers

MENLO PARK, CA -- Although businesses want new staff to “hit the ground running,” some firms may be hindering employees by not offering enough resources during their first days on the job. According to a recent survey, one-third of workers said their employers offered no formal orientation program when they joined the company. This could be a missed opportunity -- a large majority of respondents (87 percent) who received this type of training said it helped prepare them for success with the organization.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world’s first and largest staffing service specializing in accounting, finance and information technology. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 492 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

Workers were asked, “Did your current employer provide a formal orientation program when you joined the organization?” Their responses:

Yes   63%
No   33%
Don’t know/no answer




Respondents who answered “yes” also were asked, “How effective do you feel your company’s orientation program was in preparing you for success at your firm?” Their responses:

Very effective   45%
Somewhat effective   42%
Not very effective      8%
Not effective at all      4%
Don’t know     1%

“An employee’s first days of work leave a lasting impression, and an orientation program helps staff acclimate more quickly and comfortably,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “These programs also provide employers an opportunity to reinforce the firm’s values and set expectations.”

Robert Half provided the following tips for an effective orientation program:

  • Remember the basics. Supervisors should give new hires a tour of the office, introduce them to their colleagues and explain security procedures.
  • Invite senior management. An appearance by an executive or other company leader adds credibility and weight to the session. If this is not possible, a high-quality video or virtual appearance may suffice.
  • Keep messaging consistent. The ideas conveyed in the orientation should reflect those expressed during the recruitment process and how the company presents itself externally.
  • Develop an agenda. Providing an overview of the discussion lets employees know what they can expect and signals the importance the organization places on the program.

“To be effective, the orientation process must be an ongoing one,” added Messmer. “Managers should consider assigning new staff a mentor who can provide guidance and answer questions.”

Robert Half has more than 350 staffing locations in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalf.com.

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