Characteristics of A Successful Orientation Process

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by Cathy Abraham

When hiring a new child care employee, be sure to follow these guidelines and tips for successful orientation training.

  • Roles and responsibilities of trainers are clearly defined and a system for accountability and evaluation is in place to ensure comprehensive, consistent orientations for new employees. A checklist may be used to ensure all information is conveyed at orientation.
  • The new employee is made to feel welcome and at home in this new setting. He/She is given a thorough tour of the center and ample time is allotted for questions and observation.
  • The new employee is not "thrown into a classroom" on one of their first days. They are given time to familiarize themselves with the children, basic procedures and routines.
  • The new employee is given a job description (If they don't already have one) and information on benefits, chain of command, C and general basic child development.
  • The new employee is told specifically whom the contact is for questions related to various aspects of his/her employment.
  • All information covered verbally is also given to the employee in writing.
  • Information is broken down into manageable pieces, with the most crucial being covered first. Trainers are to look for indicators that a new employee is feeling overwhelmed.
  • A system is in place to evaluate how much the employee has retained and what areas need to be re-addressed. This is typically done in a quiz-type format.
  • State licensing standards are made available to the employee for reference.
  • The employee signs off on the information covered in the orientation process. He is also signing that he understands this information and will be held accountable for following the policies, procedures, rules and regulations.
  • The new employee will meet on a regular basis with supervisory staff to 'check in'. This forum allows for the employee to ask questions, state concerns, clarify responsibilities, etc. Recommended time increments would be day 1, day 2, day 5, end of week 2, end of week 3, at 6 weeks, then at 3 and 6 months.
  • The new employee will be observed within his/her classroom and given specific feedback on job performance to date. A copy of what the employee will eventually be evaluated on is to be given him/her.
  • Additional training will be provided as determined necessary.
  • All training (both formal and informal) will be documented, in addition to goals for improvement.
  • Eventually, all staff are to be cross-trained, and familiarized with all aspects of the center.
  • Instances of non-compliance will initially be treated as training issues.
  • Entire orientation process is subject for ongoing review, both informally and in the exit interview process.