What Is a Company Orientation?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A company orientation is designed to familiarize new hires with procedures, goals, and policies at a firm. The length of time required often depends on the company’s size and structure. Instruction can be provided through employee manuals as well as classes and direct mentoring from a supervisor. During the orientation, people also have an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns, ranging from clarification on the dress code to concerns about security policy. Employees can also fill out paperwork, including documentation used to generate paychecks and benefits.

A company orientation is designed to familiarize new hires with a firm's policies.
A company orientation is designed to familiarize new hires with a firm's policies.

Discussing a company’s mission, goals, and values can be an important part of a company orientation. New employees should be somewhat familiar with the company from the application process and conversations in interviews, but they receive explicit instruction once they become representatives of their employers. This is designed to make sure that all employees represent their employees accurately and fairly in business dealings and social interactions. It can also tie in with workplace policies, like a waste-reduction program for a firm that wants to be environmentally responsible.

Employees can also learn about the products and services a company offers. Understanding the company as a whole can help employees work effectively with other staff members and serve customers appropriately. In the company orientation, they can learn about what the company does and the management structure it uses. Charts may be provided for reference, particularly at large companies where it can be difficult to learn this information in a single session.

Specific policies and procedures that apply companywide are covered in a company orientation, and employees may receive additional instruction in their own departments. These can include security policies, dress codes, vacation time, and other topics. Employees may be encouraged to request further information if they are confused or uncertain about any of these policies. It is common to ask them to sign a form indicating that they understand the procedures; if there are any questions, they should be asked before signing this document.

Team building exercises may be part of a company orientation in some cases. Sometimes employees are sent on a retreat to interact with other new hires and established staff while learning about the company. This can increase feelings of connection in the workplace and encourages employees to think of themselves as members of a group, rather than working in isolation. Retreats may be held periodically for other purposes as well, like project development and problem solving.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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