Why do orientation programs fail?

An orientation program is one of the best devised programs an organization can have. Orientation, as the term suggests, is all about “orienting” or “directing” the employee towards the organization’s attitudes and style of functioning. The style of functioning, or the “artifacts” of the organization as Edgar Schein states, is an often overlooked, but extremely important element of an organization.

Like individuals, each organization is unique. Each has its own idiosyncrasies and set behaviors. An orientation program is meant to condition the employee towards these. If the employee has to be a fit into the organization, it is not just about having the right skills and experience. Suitability to the job is one thing; suitability to the organization is another. Making the employee attuned to the organizational culture is what an orientation program is all about.

Why do they fail?

If the intention of an employee orientation program is so noble, why does if fail at times? There are a few fundamental reasons for which orientation programs fail:

Lack of transparency: many HR managers or those in charge of the orientation program sometimes don’t tell the entire truth about the organizational ethos to the new employee. The new employee’s mind can be likened to a plain paper. Whatever is imparted at the orientation program is the script that gets written on this paper.

So, the orientation program is the definer of the organization to the employee. If at this session, the HR doesn’t convey fully what the organization is about and what its values are and what expectations it has from the employee and what the employee can expect from it; it tends to inculcate a negative impression about the organization in the employee’s mind. Sincerity and solidity of purpose is of utmost importance in the orientation program. Any HR professional who fails to do this has contributed to the potential loss of an employee to the organization.

Lack of understanding of requirements: this is another of the important reasons for which an employee orientation program can fail. HR’s primary duty is in assessing the skill or qualification or experience of the candidate in relation to the job requirements. If it has not made the right assessment, it ends up giving an incomplete or false picture to the employee.

Not treating the employee well: obviously, in addition to a fat pay package, one of the most essential human needs is to feel wanted and recognized. The orientation program is a useful first step to make the employee feel at home. When HR is aloof or arrogant at the orientation program, it is sure to make the employee gain a bad first impression about the organization.



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