The best orientation strategy ever

Posted on July 26, 2011 by Leave a Comment

On-boarding. Buy-in. Orientation. Organizational socialization. First day at the new job. They’re all pretty much the same thing, and they can make or break your business. So do them properly.

Inadequate or improper orientation is too expensive, too contagious, and too long-term. If great training is a gift that keeps on giving, poor training is a punch-in-the-gut that keeps on punching.

Finding and hiring great candidates can reduce the importance of your orientation program, but should never eliminate it entirely. Want to start the process before you’re even finished hiring? Great idea! Just make sure it happens.

Everything (everything!) you need to pass on to new employees can be put into one of four simple categories. Share each of them properly, and you’re golden. Make mistakes, and it’ll come back to haunt you. Here’s what you need:


This is the traditional goal of employee orientation. Resilient staff are excited to see changes in their lives, and innovations in the organization. They recognize when they’re struggling. They know how to access resources and use software that will help them succeed. They’re motivated to work hard, and believe that hard work will allow them to move up in the organization. They embrace and seek out challenges.

You can promote resilience by implementing mentorship programs, reducing personal risk to new staff, ensuring access to additional training and resources, and fostering a sense of community and common purpose.


It’s all about confidence in the situation. Staff need to believe that they’re qualified for the job and capable of doing it. They need to feel motivated and competent. They should have a sense of purpose and direction. Help them feel competent and directed by ensuring that they’re competent and directed, not by stroking egos and starting them with banal tasks.

If you get it right, self-efficacious staff will be creative and entrepreneurial, with strong leadership and learning tendencies.


Your staff will understand and accept your big-picture mission and goals, and will believe that they have the power to fulfill them. They’ll independently develop their own short- and long-term goals, which are realistic and transcend job descriptions and performance expectations.

Staff with hope will be able to maintain focus on sustainable profitability, and their job commitment and satisfaction will keep them around for years and decades to come.


They’ll see obstacles as hurdles instead of barriers. They’ll embrace failure and everything that can be learned from it. They’ll believe that their work is for the common good, and will be excited to share it and to get others involved.

Optimistic staff are leaders in the organization and in the industry, have low turnover rates, and solid sales performance.

That’s it. Four things. Simple in name, if not in practice. Success means getting them right. Failure means high turnover, low productivity, and broken corporate culture. No pressure.

Source: Saks, A., & Gruman, J. (2011). “Organizational Socialization and Positive Organizational Behaviour: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice.” Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences 28. 14–26.

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