Orientation Period: Yay or Nay?
It is a few hours to the extended deadline for the 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation (4040) Internship Program open applications. Given the fact that I am directly involved in the evaluation and onboarding process, I am really excited.
The program was launched this year, and as we come to the end of the year, and the program, we have learnt a lot of things that we can’t wait to put into action for the 2019 cohort.
One of the things that we shall be implementing is an adequate orientation period. A lot of the challenges we faced with our current interns could be directly linked to the onboarding system we had in place.
The program started off with the interns getting straight into the activities with 2 half day sessions to prepare them for what lay ahead. In hindsight , it was a miscalculation on our part considering that the interns come from different walks of life, a lot of them are university students who have never worked with an organization, and some didn’t quite understand what working at 4040 entailed.
Upon the realization of our error, we arranged trainings and sessions to help address the challenges that the interns were facing, as well as some that we foresaw.
Unfortunately, we are not the only organization that faces these challenges. Having worked for about 5 years, I can say (without naming names) that I barely ever had any orientation period at any job where I worked. It was always ‘get hired, get a laptop, and start doing the work’.
Regardless of your knowledge and experience, having an orientation period is a vital process of onboarding an employee/intern, which provides an opportunity for them to understand the job and eventually improves productivity.
The orientation period is an introductory stage in the process of assimilating new employees and making them feel part of the existing workforce.
One of my mind blowing moments of 2018 was finding out that Andela Uganda has an orientation period of 6 months. In case you are confused, if you are recruited at Andela in January 2019, you will not perform any external tasks until June 2019, but you will receive a salary and benefits because you are an employee. What happens in these 6 months is the preparation to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge that you need to be your very best.
If you are not in awe, then I don’t know what to tell you. To make matters more impressive, Andela recruits fellows on a monthly basis, so the number of employees for whom this happens increases every month. Applications for the current Andela fellowship are open until 25th January, so there is still a chance for you to join this amazing company. I know I would want to.
Have you ever had an orientation period at a new job? Did it make a difference when you did and when you didn’t? Share your experience.
The longest orientation period I have had was two weeks long. By the end of it I had become attached to not only my job but vision my supervisor sold to me. I know of corporations sending recruits “outside countries” as part of orientation. So yeah, I am all for orientation.