You have most likely seen, when you have been out shopping, a young man or woman with the badge, which reads: “Please be patient with me, I’m new here”. That always tells me as a customer, that he or she has been thrust into the job almost immediately, and that I need to be patient since this individual will make mistakes.
Translated into the hiring process then these employees have possibly not been through an hour-long orientation meeting, where they were told everything.
To be fair I could be wrong.
But in my personal experience both from different employments and from different schools, hour-long orientations tire you down, you stop to listen and the information, most likely, is not remembered.
The Onboarding term Death by Orientation exists for a reason.
But why do some companies still fall into this trap of trying to cram 20 hours of mind-numbing employment information into four dull hours of orientation?
My two cents are, that they believe it will reduce mistakes, and as we know mistakes cost time and money. But if we can give our store clerks a badge saying: “Please be patient with me, I’m new here”, then why can’t we, perhaps metaphorically, do the same with the lawyer, the office worker, the marketing employee etc.
Well some mistakes mean more than others, a store clerk maybe loses 135 Euro in a day, but a mistake from a banker might lose the company 135,000 Euro in a day.
So, some “boring” orientation might be needed in certain positions.
You could consider what sort of information should be given during orientation, which mistakes cost too much and which mistakes can be learned by doing. A place where learning by doing, where the metaphorical badge, could come into play, is in the part of the Onboarding process, which is about the company culture and making the new employee enthusiastic and ready to work.
But it’s up to you what level of orientation you would like to or need to include in the Onboarding process. Though I still believe it’s best to consider what has to be learned in orientation, at what can be learned by doing.
Another way of saying this, perhaps all new employees, regardless of the business, should have the badge saying: “I’m being onboarded, please be patient with me”.