Orientation Plan

Posted in hiring / staff team

Orientation Plan

I started a new (virtual) employee this summer and because it was a very busy time, I created a very detailed orientation plan. It was very successful, and I thought I would share with you how I structured that plan.

We are a virtual team so everything we do is handled by distance. But it easily translates to teams that work in a face-to-face setting.

I began with goals to be accomplished for the week, and a daily breakdown of the work, with tasks colour coded into five key areas.

  1. Tasks they will do on their own.
  2. Tasks they will do with another member of the team.
  3. Tasks they will do with the whole team.
  4. Tasks they will do with me, their supervisor.
  5. Training or meetings they will need to attend.

For the first week I met with the new employee virtually at the start of every day and went over the orientation plan and the tasks they were expected to accomplish. We would discuss what they needed to work on and then they would go and do that work. As the employee was new to the position, the work they were required to do during the first week was not very complicated. Really that first week was making sure things like forms were completed, work plan was completed, and they understood our policies and procedures.

I also scheduled a full staff meeting during the first week so the new employee could meet everyone.

I also scheduled a full staff meeting during the first week so the new employee could meet everyone.

Goals for the second and third week were to get the new employee much more comfortable in the position and doing some of the actual work. They were assigned a mentor who was another member of the staff team, to help them learn the ropes.

Tasks during the second and third week included working on projects with their mentor. The mentor would assign them some homework which was detailed in the orientation plan so there were no surprises. The new employee would typically begin the day by meeting with the mentor, working on some tasks together, then spend the afternoon working on their own. I met with the new employee at the end of every second day to go over what they’d accomplished and make any orientation plan adjustments as needed.

During the second and third week we scheduled training for the new employee to learn to use our online shared file system. To encourage the new employee to begin to initiate contact with clients and vendors, we required them to reach out to the training provider and set up a time for training. Of course, I had set this up before hand with the trainer, who knew to expect the call. 

Week 4 focused more on getting the new employee to handle a lot more task on their own, reaching out to other members of the team as needed. This is also when the new employee began to attend meetings with stakeholders outside of the organization. The new employee still had a list of tasks they were expected to accomplish that week, but now they needed to do it more on their own. I only met with the new employee twice during week 4, once at the beginning and once at the end of the week.

Going into the second and third month, tasks became larger projects they needed to accomplish. The employee was expected to figure out how to do that on their own now that they had worked with members of the team in the weeks prior. The new employee still met with me, their supervisor, but was required to initiate the meeting at regular intervals.

By the end of month 3, the new employee was pretty much familiar with our working system and was given the freedom to structure their days the way our other employees do. Of course, I still monitored their work, providing help or requesting corrections as needed. 

I hope you’ve found these ideas helpful. If you have a question, please leave a comment, or send me a message. I’d love to help you out. Talk to you soon. 😊


Hi, I'm Christie Saas, former board member, current Executive Director, and non-profit volunteer. I remember well, those early years when I lacked the training, the confidence, and the work-life balance to focus on becoming the best non-profit leader I could be.

Fast-forward past many bumps in the road, lessons learned, and you’ll find me still in the trenches, but a little wiser, a little calmer, and a whole lot happier. I love my work and I want to help you love yours too.

I created ChristieSaas.com to give you tools, tips, and templates to remove the mystery of learning to run a small non-profit. If you’re a brand-new non-profit leader, or a little more seasoned, someone who’s looking to make a meaningful contribution and still have time for a full life away from the job, you’re in the right place.

© Christie Saas 2021 All Rights Reserved
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