New Hire Orientation

new hire orientationSome things to think about and a list of questions you should have answers to as you’re developing your new hire orientation – and perhaps updating employee handbooks to reflect the information provided in new hire orientation sessions. We want to encourage you to develop your own new hire checklist and documentation specific to your non profit organization or social impact business. It is important that you have thought through the topics below so that you have a consistent new hire orientation process. Consistency and checklists can help make sure that you cover the important bases for your new hires and help engender a workplace culture and dynamic where everyone understands what is expected and what support is available.

Employees in every industry look to their managers and executive leaders as a source of information about the organization or company and what to expect in terms of working conditions, pay, benefits, and general organizational culture.

First Day

  • Is a meeting scheduled with a senior executive?
  • How much time does the new employee’s direct supervisor set aside to spend with the new hire on their first day?
  • How can your organization welcome new hires? (can you make sure they have a starter pack of office supplies)? a meet and greet with other members of their workgroup, team or location? Can business cards be ordered in advance?
  • When does the new employee fill out all required human resource documentation?
  • Is there an identification card required?
  • Does the new hire have a copy of their job description?

Working Conditions

  • How long is the “probation period” or evaluation period for new hires?
  • Is there a break room? or a place where employees eat together? Is food provided?
  • When and how should an employee report an absence from work? How long can an employee be absent without notice before being terminated? On what basis is an employee penalized for being late?
  • How does the grievance procedure work? do you have an up to date and realistic grievance policy and procedure?
  • What is the procedure for performance evaluations? How often do they occur?
  • How does promotion work or happen?
  • Are there flexible spaces to work? If a workstation or office is provided to the employee how do they handle maintenance requests or Occupational health and safety accommodation requests?
  • What, where and under what conditions can an employee smoke?
  • How are employees notified of performance concerns?
  • How does the telephone and internet systems work? what policies are there around employee use? what are the policies around taking personal phone calls or making calls while working?

Remuneration (including Pay)

  • Is the employee exempt or non exempt? are managers able to articulate what it means to be exempt or non exempt?
  • Is the employee salaried? if hourly, how are breaks handled?
  • How are employees paid? Is there a packet with all payroll forms provided to new employees on the day they sign their contract?
  • Is a new employee required to join a union?
  • What deductions are permitted? does the organization or company participate in matching philanthropic giving?
  • How are vacation days calculated?
  • Does the organization or company offer bonuses? or have scheduled pay increases?
  • What are the overtime policies? What is the pay for work over eight hours in a day?
  • What federal holidays are observed by the organization or company?
  • What are the inclement weather policies? Is there another organization or company (or even school district) that you base on your inclement weather closure policies on?
  • Is there a compensation time policy or procedure?
  • If a casual employee reports for a shift but no work is available, when are they entitled to be paid?
  • Is an employee given time off to vote? What about military service? or the service of family members (around deployments and permanent change of station?)?
  • Does the company pay employees who are on jury duty?
  • What are the policies and procedures around workplace injuries? How does an employee report an injury?


  • Is there an Employee Assistance Program available? what services are provided?
  • What training is provided? Is there tuition remission offered?
  • What are the sick leave policies? is the new hire able to access paid sick leave? is there a waiting period?
  • Does FMLA apply to this organization or company? What is the leave of absence policy?
  • When does an employee become eligible for insurance benefits? health benefits? pension or 401k benefits?
  • When does a new employee begin to accrue vacation days? How are they accrued? is an employee eligible for additional vacation as the length of employment increases? Do vacation days carry over from year to year?
  • Are any parts of the benefit plan contributory? how much do employees contribute? how do they pay?
  • Is there an organization or company pension plan or 401k contributions? What are the eligibility requirements
  • When can an employee retire?
  • Are there any innovative benefits offered by your company or organization – like unlimited vacation days? food or lunches? gym membership?

Organizational Culture

  • What is the mission and vision of the organization or company?
  • what are the general expectations re: attitude.
  • Are there bulletin boards? can employees add to them?
  • How do employees communicate? do they use a platform for project management and communication?
  • Is there a brief outline available of the organization or company history?
  • What is the management style of your organization? how does this influence the way you do things?
  • What is your organization’s reputation in the community, the industry, among your peers?


More resources are available at Non Profit Leadership Resources and Social Entrepreneurship Resources.


Speaker. Reader. Thinker. Writer. Traveler. Advocate

Anna Blanch Rabe, founder of Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates, has been working with Social Enterprises, socially-responsible businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations since 2006 to develop and effectively execute strategic, digital, and narrative initiatives to gain exposure, develop community- capacity, attract talent, and reach new customers. Anna is an Australian-born speaker, writer and advocate. Connect with Anna on Instagram, facebook page, & Twitter.
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