Archive for December, 2006

New Employee Orientation

December 5, 2006

Studies show that a minimum of 27 percent of employees who leave an organization do so within the first year of their employment. With the help of many healthcare organizations with which we work, we at SG have developed best practices in selection and the use of the 30- and 90-day supervisor/new employee meetings. Now we want to explore those very first days when all new staff become oriented to an organization.

Here is one interactive technique that I found to be successful. Please blog on what works for you. When done, we will compile a list of best tactics for new employee orientation


When I was President of a hospital, this is a technique that I found worked. The first morning of orientation, after introductions, I quickly broke the new employees into small groups. The size varied depending on the overall number present, but usually there were about five people in a group. Each group selected a recorder and someone who would report on their findings. Then the groups were given the same two handouts.

The first handout asked them to describe what a great workplace looks and feels like. Sometimes I provided a few examples to get the groups started. Quickly the groups got to work and developed a list of attributes. These ranged from knowing what’s going on, tools, and fair pay to recognition, training, and more. Each group then presented to the large group. Each presenter didn’t have to repeat a point already made, so the process went quickly. Each presenter was given a WOW card to signify his/her stepping out and presenting. This led to an explanation of the various recognitions staff could earn. All points were listed on a flip chart. This also gave me an opening to discuss what they described was the type of culture we want also. I provided examples to demonstrate the points listed.


The second handout asked the groups to list the characteristics and behavior they wanted in their supervisors. I used the same process as the first question and found a few examples helped them get started. Most groups listed being a good communicator.  It is important then to ask the group to go into more detail on what they mean by communication. This is also reported out. These presentations also led to a good discussion on what the organization’s goal is in leadership, what the staff will see, and good times to manage up their supervisor. I provided examples for them to expect. I would explain they will see the manager round on them and ask specific questions. They will be involved with peer interviewing.

That afternoon all attendees received a copy of their work. An email went to all leaders explaining that the current orientation group had completed the work on the two questions and giving them the list of what the staff was looking for and expecting. This took place 26 times per year. Each time the lists were very similar. These email reports proved to be great reminders and reinforcements to the leaders.


While I served as president of Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, Bob Murphy worked for me in a variety of roles and eventually became the administrator. He is now with Studer Group on a full time basis as a presenter/teacher. I’m grateful to be working with Bob again. He is a great leader and presenter. He recently described many techniques on this subject. I have picked one to share with you.


There is an activity that can be done in the new employee orientation that will lead to instant alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives. In the handouts provided to each new employee, include a page with five inter-locking circles. At the top of the page is the question “Where would you focus?” Break the employees into groups of five or six people with this instruction, “You have just been promoted to CEO, where would you focus?” The employees fill in each of the five circles with the things they would focus on if they were CEO. After a few minutes’ discussion, solicit the ideas from the groups. It is amazing that no matter how many times you do this, the new folks always identify the five pillars: Service, Quality, People, Financial, and Growth. It gives you the opening to explain what would be measured under each pillar.

For example, if a group reports that they would focus on employee satisfaction, you can link that to the People pillar and discuss key goals such as lowering turnover below a certain percentage. Then explain why lowering turnover is important for quality, physician collaboration, satisfaction of other employees, and lowered costs of replacement. You should be able to connect the dots and explain many of the goals of the organization.

We want to know what you doing to make your new employee orientations successful. Please add your ideas and suggestions to the comment section of this post. We will compile into a list and send out for your review.