New Employee Orientations

Many healthcare systems are in a unique situation. Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requires certain information be provided to employees prior to performing certain responsibilities. Also, there are other accreditation/certification organizations, or federal/state laws to consider before allowing an employee to begin work. Therefore, setting aside time for New Employee Orientation (NEO) requires priority and strategic planning.

Giving an important focus to New Employee Orientation is an opportunity to set the tone for how the new employee views the organization. In addition to the organizational orientation, staying on message when holding divisional, departmental, and individual level orientations is important.  Discussing goals, objectives, values, culture and the important role of the individual employee within the scheme of the organization’s mission and performance are topics to include within the core message.

Having observed many healthcare system orientations, best practices have been to set a regiment of hires, beginning on Monday, and holding two-day system-wide orientations each week. At the close, the employee begins the division or department’s orientation. If hiring should slow, the frequency is appropriately adjusted.

A Workbook, which may be on online, is provided, that assures consistency and completeness in information for every level of the Orientation process. The best New Employee Orientations hold scheduled follow-ups up to a minimum of one year.

Some Orientations are online with various systems of sophistication regarding information, videos, completing necessary information, etc. Some are partially online.

Dedicated Staff Development and Training members facilitate the system-wide New Employee Orientation.

Important topics – though not necessarily in the order provided – within the two day orientation include:

  • a message from the CEO, which may be by video. Many organizations provide a well produced overall video that covers information about the organization, its history, culture, mission and values, with an introduction to various departments and employees. Organizations have also provided heartfelt stories of care (with permission from the patient or designee)
  • Facilitating attention to values and mission, exercises
  • A message from another C-suite member (normally on a rotation basis)
  • Organizational structure, charts, goals and objectives
  • Infection Control
  • Safety/Security
  • Occupational Health procedures and communications
  • Human Resources – Employee Relations
  • Human Resources – Benefits, including Events
  • IT
  • Communications – publications, topics
  •  Wellness
  • Privacy and Patient Care

There can be many other topics of system-wide information, and communications may be two-way or more. There are morning beverages and snacks, and a complimentary lunch.

New employees are given an opportunity to evaluate the Orientation and to offer suggestions.

Talent Acquisition takes steps to introduce the New Hire to the organization throughout the interview and hire process. With a quality orientation, the assimilation into the organization has begun and the tone has been set. The next step – the division or department – will continue with the same message weaved into their information. There may be follow-ups quarterly.

*Frequently cited advantages to a well designed New Employee Orientation include:

  • increasing commitment to the organization; reducing turnover and costs;
  • clarifying expectations; providing reliable information;
  • reducing the learning curve, increasing productivity; decreasing mistakes;
  • new employee feeling (s)he is a valued team member in which the organization has an investment;
  • increasing employee confidence; relieving anxiety;
  • building positive relationships and good communications

The time and the cost involved in providing emphasis to a quality New Employee Orientation system brings valuable returns.

*Creating an Effective New Employee Orientation Program
Wallace, Karen. Library Leadership & Management23. 4 (Fall 2009): 168-176.


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