Orientation or Initiation?

“I am overwhelmed, there is too much paper, and this is so boring!”

This is not a teenager talking about a high school class, but a typical new employee’s comments after a common workplace orientation session.

Many HR departments who run employee orientation or on-boarding sessions get it all wrong, and it sets up a poor employee relationship from day one. The new employee starts to think, “If the company can’t get this right, do I really want to work here?” Talk about a demotivating experience.

There are better ways to run an employee orientation. Think about it as an employee’s initiation, not orientation. HR should focus on how to make the new employee fit into the organization, not HR telling the employee about the organization.

Here is a great article from Forbes how on to get orientation right.

The research shows that having an individual-focused orientation can reduce employee turnover significantly. HR is the gatekeeper of new employees on their first day, make it meaningful to the employee, not an administrative activity that feels like the goal is to deaden the employees will to live. Orientation should be an exciting day for the employee and the employer. Let’s keep that in mind.

Discussion Questions

  • Think about a time you have experienced a very poor orientation session, what was done wrong in that session.
  • If you were the HR manager responsible for the orientation session, what would you recommend changing to make it more meaningful?

Engaging Millennials in Training  

Is training Millennials (people currently aged 18-24) any different than training other employees?  Maybe, maybe not!  It is hard to get a conclusive answer based on the research available;  however, anything that may help the transfer of training is worth considering.

It is well supported that participants tend to learn better when their training is provided in a comfortable environment.  Vinayak Jakati, in his article The Future of Learning – The Young are Restless, states that the research suggests:

“44 percent of young adults sleep with their cell phones and check them at least once during the night. But most trainers ask participants to switch off their cell phones during training hours. It’s unclear if the perceived distraction caused by the presence of mobile phones impedes the learning process more than the anxiety and withdrawal symptoms caused by its absence.”

Click here to read the article.

Imagine if you asked a group of Baby Boomers (people currently aged 50-70) to leave their morning coffee outside of a training session – you would have a potential riot on your hands!  Perhaps asking Millennials to turn off their cell phones during a training session may cause the same kind of reaction.  Why not make them feel comfortable and have them use their technology as part of the session?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think different training strategies are needed to engage different generations?
  2. What would you suggest to improve Millennials’ engagement in a traditional WHMIS program?
  3. After reading this article, how would you design your organizations orientation program to engage Millennials?