Welcoming New Employees with Enthusiasm and Information

September 15, 2012 in , ,

There’s no better way to kick off a successful employer-employee relationship than with a positive orientation and onboarding experience. Quality orientation programs give businesses an opportunity to discuss important facts consistently with all new employees and hopefully avoid a situation where the new employee feels forced to ask a peer for information and then receives misinformation.

Supervisors should personally welcome employees to their first day on the job and make employees comfortable in their new workplace. Supervisors should arrange a tour of the facilities and introductions to other employees in the workplace.

Consider these components for your comprehensive orientation program:

1. Complete Orientation Checklist
As each item on the checklist is completed, both the employee and supervisor should initial and date the form, indicating the action item has been addressed.

First Day
Supervisors should meet with the new employee and present the employee a copy of the job description along with the employee handbook. The employee should be given a reasonable amount of time to read the employee handbook.

An employee personnel file should be created. The following should be completed and obtained from the new employee.

  • New Employee Information form
  • W-4 Withholding Allowance Certificate and state tax withholding form, where applicable
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form
  • Company benefit forms: for example, group health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, Section 125 election, Initial COBRA Notification Letter

New Employee Information forms and Forms W-4 can be retained in the employee’s general personnel file. Forms I-9 for all employees should be maintained in one centralized file. Benefit forms should be filed separately for each employee, apart from the general personnel file folder, to maintain confidentiality. Notification of COBRA rights must be provided to eligible employees and their qualified beneficiaries within 90 days of first entering the group health plan.

First Week
Supervisors should discuss the following items with new employees during the first week of employment:

  • work objectives
  • training needs
  • payday, working hours, and breaks
  • leave policies and fringe benefits
  • safety rules
  • company policies and procedures

Obtain the signed receipt page from the employee handbook. This is very important as the signed receipt page is verification that employees have received a copy of the handbook and are responsible for the policies contained within. This is extremely useful for policy clarification or discipline issues that may arise later. If an employee refuses to sign the receipt page, have another manager or supervisor sign the page as a witness, indicating that the employee received the handbook and refused to sign the receipt page. Maintain this signed receipt page in the employee’s personnel file.

Complete the appropriate sections of the Orientation Checklist and maintain this form in the employee’s personnel file.

Completion of Introductory Period
Conduct a performance review with the employee upon completion of the introductory period, in accordance with company policy. If a formal review is not conducted, meet with the employee to discuss any issues. Complete final sections of the Orientation Checklist. Place a copy of the completed checklist in the employee’s personnel file.

2. Company Property/Physical Assets
A physical assets form should be completed if the new employee is supplied with company property that would need to be returned should the employment relationship end. Items listed in the physical assets form include cellular telephone, credit card(s), keys, PDA, laptop, vehicle, etc. 3.

3. Change in Personal Data
Supervisors should instruct new employees to complete a Change in Personal Data form whenever there is a change in personal information. Completed forms should be returned to supervisors and a copy should be placed in the employee’s personnel file. Supervisors should forward the completed form to the individual who administers payroll and benefits.

4. Access to Personnel Files
Some states have strict regulations concerning employee access to personnel files. Some areas of concern are:

  • employee rights to review all or part of files
  • whether written notice is required
  • what may or may not be copied or removed from the file
  • whether or not the employer may charge a fee for copies
  • where and with whom the file may be reviewed

Contact your state Department of Labor for more information.

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