3 Easy Tips for a More Engaging New Employee Orientation Program


Deconstructing and revising an Orientation program is no small undertaking. Trust me, I’ve been there! I’m often asked for quick tips or best practices that can be quickly implemented to an existing New Employee Orientation program. Keeping in mind that every organization and program is different, there are some simple things that can be added to an Orientation program to make it a more engaging, robust part of the onboarding process.

Here are three tips:

1. Involve others in the program.

Maybe you’re the only person facilitating content throughout the Orientation session. If this is the case, the new employees are only meeting YOU. Which means, after the session, when they have questions, who are they calling? That’s right…you.

Even if you are not updating your content, provide opportunities to involve other people and teams in the Orientation process. A few examples might be:

  • Invite someone from your IT help desk provide a brief overview of how to set up computers, report or resolve issues, or connect email to personal devices.
  • Coordinate a panel discussion with key leaders (not necessarily executives) across your organization to share an overview of his/her role, history with the company and advice to new employees
  • Offer a catered breakfast or lunch, and include the employee’s hiring manager on the first day – use the opportunity to facilitate dialogue about how the new employees will be an asset to their respective teams!

2. Leverage templates and checklists.

If there are certain tasks that a new employee should complete during the first few days on the job, document them in the form of a checklist! This makes it easy for a new employee (who is likely overwhelmed by details) to stay on track with forms, tasks and other responsibilities during the transition time. Having clear instructions for during and after the Orientation session will put your attendees at ease, allowing them to focus on the content being delivered in the moment and make the most of the experience!

Additionally, from a facilitator’s point of view, using checklists, templates and other time-saving resources will only make the job easier, particularly when there is a tight agenda to which you must stick!

3. Make Orientation an active experience.

As with most learning sessions, providing an active, collaborative environment will yield better results. Rather than lecture, information-overload sessions, can your content be delivered in an alternative method?

A few lecture alternatives might include:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Reading and summarizing content
  • Case studies

The good people at Langevin created this helpful (free!) resource with 50 instructional methods. The “lecturette” techniques are particularly good options to try. Enjoy!
Hopefully, these 3 tips will spark some inspiration to energize your existing New Employee Orientation program. It doesn’t take a full program overhaul to add in some engaging elements. Give these ideas a try!

Your turn: How do you provide an engaging experience for your newest employees?  Take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Looking to establish or energize your onboarding program this year? Contact us to learn more about our Onboarding Audit package!

3 thoughts on “3 Easy Tips for a More Engaging New Employee Orientation Program

  1. Anne Lafleur says:

    Thank you, Michelle! That was a really helpful article. I’m especially intrigued with ways to get other people in the organization involved in orienting new hires. I’m curious: besides IT support, leaders, and hiring managers, who else do other organizations involve? What has worked well and not so well? Right now MIT has a “guest speaker” spot on each orientation agenda for a representative from a group on campus to come talk about their group and their personal experience as an employee. But I know there is even more we could do.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Anne! Thanks for your comment – that’s a great question! Certainly every organization is different; the culture, people, products, etc will vary – so the people/teams involved will vary as well.

      I like your “guest speaker” idea – I have been involved with a number of organizations who do that in various ways. It’s great to help the new employees build acquaintances!

      In addition to the stakeholders mentioned (IT, leadership, hiring managers, etc), a few other examples might be:

      Purchasing/Procurement: do new employees need company vehicles, credit cards, etc?
      Key vendors or product experts:
      A retail organization might feature the buyers or product team to introduce some of the product that is currently being sold in stores, or an overview of the relationship with vendors/brand partners.
      Administrative staff – is there an admin that supports a person or department? Connecting him/her with the new employee would be helpful to establish that relationship and give the new employee a “go-to” person.
      Key peers – Peer-to-peer relationships are another important component to the onboarding process – helping the new employee feel connected and a part of the team!
      Outside coaching – For certain, strategic new hires, an onboarding or executive coach might be a solution for helping the new employee establish him/herself in the first weeks/months on the job.

      These are just a few ideas! :) If you’d like to take the conversation further, feel free to drop me an email anytime – phasetwolearning@gmail.com!

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