Key Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of the orientation process in ensuring your new employees are productive within a short time frame.
  • Learn about the three phases of the orientation process.
  • Understand some of the key features to consider when developing your orientation process.
  • Recognise the value of new employees spending the time becoming familiar with other departments.


Do you remember what it was like the last time you started a new job? It is likely you felt nervous. You probably worried about whether you would fit in, whether you could do the job and perhaps wondered whether you had made the right decision taking the job in the first place. Starting a new job is a moment of change in a person’s life, a start of something new – these moments are always stressful even if it is something you really want and are excited about.

The orientation process incorporates organisational socialisation and this is how employees are transformed into effective members of a company. It can be broken down into three phases: anticipatory socialisation, encounter and settling in. By understanding each of these phases, we can design an orientation program for new team members that will give them the best chance of becoming effective and productive employees as quickly as possible.[wlm_ismember]

Anticipatory socialisation

Anticipatory socialisation happens before the employee even joins the company. It is the forming of expectations of the company, job, working conditions and interpersonal relationships. These expectations are developed through the recruitment process and can be based on work experiences in similar roles. It has been proven that unmet expectations that result from the recruitment process can lead to dissatisfaction and higher levels of staff turnover. The following are some tips to consider in your recruitment process:


The encounter phase starts on the employee’s first day. No matter how effective you are in providing accurate information during the recruitment process, there will always be some disparity between the employee’s expectations and the reality. Research has shown that employees view managers as an important source of information when starting a new role, and the quality of the relationship with the manager has a direct effect on how employees deal with any unmet expectations.

During this phase, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

Settling in

During the settling-in phase, the employee begins to feel comfortable with the job demands and social relationships. They begin to gain confidence and are able to start resolving any conflicts at work or outside of work. During this time, the employee is seeking reinforcement from the company in regard to their performance.

Some things to consider are:

As you can see a successful orientation program consists of a lot more than the new person filling out some paperwork from HR or accounts. Successful orientation means taking the time to really ensure that the new employee is given the maximum possible chance of being successful and productive in the shortest period of time. Think back again to any time you started a new job; the nervousness did not just last for a few hours – it might have taken weeks or even months before you felt 100% settled into the new role. Probably the worst part was the feeling of being unproductive; therefore, it is essential to plan the first week following a new team member’s commencement to ensure they are kept busy.

There are some common characteristics in successful orientation programs that should be incorporated into your process:

At Absolute Best we like a new employee to spend time in a variety of departments, planning ahead so that one member of the team takes responsibility for the new employee for one day each of the first week. This allows the new employee to be kept busy during the week removing any anxiety about what they will be doing. It also gives them the opportunity to gain a perspective of the entire business rather than just the department they will be working in.

Source: The following book was used as a source for this learning article:Kramar, R, Bartram, T, De Cieri, H, Noe, R, Hollenbeck, J, Gerhart, B and Wright, P 2011, Human Resource Management in Australia, 4th ed, McGraw Hill Education, Sydney.[/wlm_ismember]

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