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Employee Orientation and Training for Small Businesses

By: Angela Cordle


Group of business people meeting in a seminar conference . Audience listening to instructor in employee education training session . Office worker community summit forum with expert speaker .

Successfully integrating new employees into your business will help keep your business on track. Every employee needs to understand what your business is about, and what will be expected of them to help the business succeed. Having strong orientation and training programs for your employees will contribute toward this goal. What are the most important components of new employee orientation and training programs?


Your orientation program is designed to help new employees become familiar with the environment of your business, develop a commitment to the business, and learn about the expectations the business has of them (and what the business in turn has to offer). In a small business, all orientation presentations will probably be conducted by the direct supervisor of the new employee.
There will be two elements to the orientation process. The first covers the business as a whole. There are a few topics that you absolutely need to cover in the basic organizational orientation. These are:
  1. The history, mission, and market positioning of the business.
  2. The company’s philosophy and objectives.
  3. Information about the industry and special terminology or jargon that employees must learn.
  4. An outline of the company’s structure and any features of it that are unique.
  5. Performance standards, rules, expectations, policies, procedures, and safety & security practices that affect employees.
  6. Any benefits and employee services.
This orientation should give new employees a working understanding of the business and its overall operations.
The second orientation element will cover the specific department the new employee will be working in. You will introduce new employees to their coworkers, discussing the specific structure of that department. Review reporting relationships, rules, work schedules, and specific job duties. You can also cover specific items like dealing with office equipment, the telephone system, and specialized resources used by your business, or delegate those to another employee.


Another important tool to help your employees is offering training programs. These programs will both make your employees more productive and also help reduce your turnover rate. It’s something that can be useful for every employee. Think about your business, and your objectives for the coming year. What are some skills that contribute to meeting those goals? These skills are the ones that you specifically want to offer training for. Other skills are perennial, and are always good options for training programs. What are relevant skills for your employees?
Salespeople can learn new sales techniques. HR employees can easily identify qualified applicants through recruitment training offered by SocialTalent. Employees who do a lot of work on computers can upgrade their computer skills. Many different kinds of employees can benefit from training programs on time management and writing. Finally, you might offer your employees the chance to go to trade and professional meetings, seminars, and college classes, places where they can learn specific skills and interact with other workers in the industry.
With effective orientation and training programs, you can help bring in new workers and help them get on the ground running as quickly as possible. Offer workers the chance to improve their skills and it will benefit both you and the employees themselves.
Published: December 18, 2012

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Angela Cordle

Angela Cordle is the EVP of Tarkenton Financial, a leading insurance marketing firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. In this role, she serves as the Human Resources Director, overseeing the provision of HR services, policies, and programs for the company. She also serves as a BizCoachingOnDemand.com consultant, bringing practical and experiential knowledge of HR best practices to small businesses.

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