Orientation or Disorientation for New Hires

OK, so you thoroughly vetted and decided on just the right person to fill an important position in your company. You shook hands and agreed on a start date—when the go-getter will walk through the front door, promptly at 8 a.m., ready for a half-day orientation process designed to get him/her off on the right foot.

Or, NOT?

A great many companies use the more “standard” procedure:

  • When a new hire arrives on day one, a manager (or someone the manager passes the buck to in haste) shows the “rookie” how to clock in (if a Production hire), or leads the person to his/her office (if in sales or management).
  • Next step: the new hire is introduced to a few people, shown the break room and the restroom.
  • If the new hire is lucky, he/she will be handed an outdated job description and employee handbook, while being treated to a once-over-lightly tour of the production process; not to mention, the briefest tidbits on what the company expects.

My orientation—should I say, my DIS-orientation—into the world of printing, in 1967, was at Kennedy Print Shop (no longer in existence) in the bayou country of Louisiana—an old letterpress shop, about three blocks from the Mississippi River. The company had recently purchased a small Multilith offset duplicator to enter into the modern world of offset printing, as letterpress shops at that time were nearly extinct.

I had just taken a part-time job for the summer at a different company, delivering printing supplies to various printing facilities around town. I remember getting a call from my older brother Billy, who was running a Multilith at another shop in town, telling me that Kennedy Print Shop was looking for an experienced operator. Wow, my big chance had arrived—a real job, in a real trade, and I was not yet out of high school.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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