10 Essential Onboarding Topics for New Employees (Part 1)

By Georg Tichy


You’ve gone through the process of finding a batch of great new hires, chosen carefully from dozens of applicants and considered prospects. No doubt, your business runs like a finely tuned machine and each of your employees is a skilled operator. Your new recruits have all proven that their personalities and skills will fit well into your company structure but they don’t start on day one knowing all of your intricate internal procedures. That’s what orientation training is for. Of course, you want the most helpful and efficient coursework possible. Structuring your training program with these ten essential topics will make sure that you have all your bases covered and the new team members are ready to start their work tasks by the end of the orientation sessions.

1: Welcome

Show your new employees how happy you are to have them, then introduce them to the company, buildings, and their new jobs. A quick tour around the office or facilities can help them get that movie-opening impression of how things work and where everything is. This is a great time to show them their new assigned workspaces and answer initial questions.

2: Company History and Culture

Tours can be exciting and difficult to listen through, so don’t start the real content until you’ve settled back into the orientation space, then dive straight in with the company history. Many companies have an interesting or unique founding history that will engage new hires and help them grasp the company philosophies from the root. From here, you can segue smoothly into company culture, making it clear the kinds of shared attitudes and break room behaviors that are supported. If you have company sports teams, group outings, or favorite catering days, now is the time to share them.

3: New Hire Paperwork

One of the primary reasons to gather and do orientation together is to fill out the new hire paperwork completely and accurately. Normally this doesn’t take very long, but tends to occupy everyone’s attention for a few minutes as they write in personal details and double-check legibility. Make sure to collect the forms promptly to avoid any possible risk of loss or coffee stains.

4: Compensation and Benefits

This topic is keenly important to your trainees who are planning their lives around the circumstances of their new job. At this time, cover pay periods, direct deposit, payroll deductions, health insurance, and any additional benefits or payment details that apply to your business model and their employment packages.

5: Attendance and Leave

Not every company requires the standard 9 to 5 from all employees, and most differ at least a little in leave policies. Make sure your new employees understand timecard procedure and their expected work hours along with any schedule flexibility your company allows for like voluntary night shifts and alternate week patterns. This flows smoothly into enumerating when and how leave is applied for, taken, and counted. Finally, make sure to cover absenteeism policy and how meal break periods work in your company culture.

The way you onboard will not only determine how well your employees adapt to their new positions, it can also shape your company culture and influence how happy each new hire is to be on your team. As you can see, we’re only halfway through our ten essential onboarding topics but we’re nearly out of time. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll cover points 6 through 10 including how to cover the company’s compliance requirements, safety precautions, and the best ways to release your new hires into their respective departments when onboarding is complete. For more helpful onboarding advice, contact us today. See you next time!

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