Image of a globe flanked by the text 'Resources for Recruitment and Retention, Support in the Workplace' and wrapped in a banner that says 'Plan It.'

Orientation/Onboarding Intervention Strategies

Easing the Transition 2.4.2.c

New employees will continue to transition into their role in the organization beyond the first day. Supervisors should attempt to keep their calendars as clear as possible during the new hire's first week to help ease the transition. It is the obligation of every supervisor and manager to support new hires as they acclimate to the work group and their job duties. Ideally, support would extend beyond the first week and continue through the first year of employment.

It is crucial that employers help new hires obtain the technical knowledge and skills necessary to function in their new environment and complete any requisite training and paperwork. Early in the onboarding process, the supervisor or manager should:
  • Show the new hire where things are. Show where the restrooms, water fountain, kitchen, mail room, vending machines, office machines, and supplies are located.
  • Ensure the employee has the basic tools necessary to do the job. Explain how to use computer, e-mail, and voicemail and discuss any “electronic etiquette” – any requirements your company may have for voicemail greetings, email signatures, etc. Show the employee where to find or order new office supplies.
  • Discuss safety precautions and accident reporting procedures. Show the new hire where to find safety and first aid equipment and the evacuation route for the building.
  • Offer assistance in completing required paperwork.
  • Note arrangements for on-the-job training.If training has not been scheduled, show the new hire how to obtain the necessary training.
Use the Orientation Checklists [2.4.2.b.1] to assist you in including all the necessary components in your Orientation program, this resource can be modified to your organizational needs.

Employers should also support the new employee in developing relationships with coworkers. Take the employee to lunch on the first day or ask the department to have a group lunch. The employee’s buddy can also take the new hire to lunch, introduce him/her to other coworkers, and ensure that the employee does not feel isolated. Take the time to introduce the new employee to colleagues in other departments, as well as within the same department, and explain roles and working relationships within the organization.

An onboarding/orientation program should also help the new employee develop organization- and job-related knowledge and skills that will help him/her function successfully in the new role. Employers should provide an up-to-date job description and explain how the new hire’s job contributes to the organizations mission, vision, and goals. In addition, be sure to:
  • Discuss expected conduct and performance standards. Explain policies and procedures related to work schedules, breaks, time off, and compensation. Address flexible scheduling options, overtime pay, and travel expense reporting if it applies. Tell employees how to find copies of policies and procedures, and discuss disciplinary action if policies are violated.
  • Discuss performance measurement and evaluation. Discuss the frequency of informal and formal reviews and how the review process is tied to pay and promotion. It is recommended that the first formal performance review occur three months after the date of hire, with informal discussions occurring every week or two until then.
  • Give the employee meaningful assignments. This will help the new hire become familiar with the work. Provide constructive and useful feedback to the employee on a regular basis, and encourage him/her to share any issues or problems that may arise.
  • Encourage the new employee to take ownership of his/her responsibilities. Talk about past work experience or education that the new hire may be able to draw from when performing the job. If needed, suggest more effective methods of executing the work.[1]
It is not uncommon for new employees to suffer from a case of information overload by the end of their first day. For this reason, it is important for immediate supervisors to provide support beyond the initial orientation program. Many of the actions described above can be extended through the first week of employment and beyond.

Throughout the extended onboarding/orientation period, supervisors should openly and honestly discuss problems and frustrations that the employee may encounter and offer recommendations for overcoming them. They may also ask for suggested ways to improve or alleviate the issues.

While these responsibilities may sometimes seem burdensome, they will help new employees feel comfortable and enable them to become productive team members more quickly. Attention and thoughtfulness demonstrates the value the organization places on employees and will motivate them to be contributing members of the team.

A description of tools and techniques
for successful onboarding are available through the NC Office of State Personnel.

[1] Morfeld, C. (2000). Successful employee orientation (Part 2). Retrieved from

Submit your Feedback

Upload or attach a document:

Go to Chapter: