Having a good orientation and onboarding process in place is essential to the successful integration and retention of new employees and is a sound investment in terms of both time and money. Orientation is the first stage of the onboarding process and primarily serves to familiarize new employees with their job responsibilities, organizational procedures and policies, pay and benefits package, facilities, and the relevant software and tools. Onboarding, on the other hand, continues well past the orientation phase and aims at acclimatizing new employees to the workplace culture. The focus is to help new employees integrate and meet the goals of the organization.
An effective orientation and onboarding process that includes the needs of ITIs requires careful planning because it may mean making adjustments to the processes and policies already in place. The starting point is to recognize and clearly articulate the challenges employers face with integrating ITIs. These challenges differ from one organization to another, but there are some common challenges that many small to medium-sized organizations face.
This section discusses these common challenges and offers some suggestions for making the orientation and onboarding process more inclusive by accommodating the specific needs of ITIs.
Many employers find that their new ITI hires have some challenges with language. Below is a list of the main concerns that employers have and some planning considerations to help address these concerns during the orientation and onboarding process.
Understanding instructions and directives from supervisors
Communicating effectively with:
Many employers are concerned that ITIs do not integrate easily into the new workplace. Creating an inclusive workplace environment can go a long way towards facilitating the integration of ITIs by reducing acculturative stress. Acculturative stress is the stress caused by acculturation, which is the process of learning and becoming familiar with a new culture. Employers can help reduce this acculturative stress in three main ways:
Below are the two main concerns that employers have and some planning considerations that might help address these concerns during the orientation and onboarding process.
New ITI hires might not demonstrate all the necessary skills that are required for the job. This concern can be addressed in the onboarding process by considering the following:
Research shows that many employers underutilize the technical skills of ITIs. This is often because ITIs demonstrate unfamiliarity with certain processes, systems, methods, instruments, or tools. When proper safety and other regulations are followed, job-shadowing and peer-to-peer practical training are very effective ways to help ITIs learn on the job.
In many cultures, technical knowledge and skills are valued much more than soft skills. ITIs from such cultures may expect that more weighting will be applied to technical skills in evaluations and performance appraisals.
The following handbook gives ideas and tools on how to improve employee development (technical and soft skills): http://alis.alberta.ca/pdf/cshop/skillsdesign.pdf