Policies and Training

The Value of New-Employee Security Orientations

The orientation process for new employees can be like drinking from a fire hose, with a lot of information—and not all of it completely relevant for them—in a short period. The Security department may play a large or small role in this discussion, and it’s critical that the presenters provide consistent, useful information that the employees can understand and follow at the outset.

employee orientation training meeting

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Depending on the size of the organization, the orientation process for new employees can range from casual to intense, from an hour-long chat and a quick tour of the facility (“Here’s your cubicle, there’s the bathroom, and the cafeteria is down the hall”), to up to 2 days of class lectures, material reviews, policy manual discussions, and HR rules. This can be an anxious time for new employees. The orientation process either creates a success model for them to follow or it leaves them feeling alienated.

Companies who understand the value of employee retention, helping new employees get through their probationary period, and increasing the chances of early success, make orientation a priority and plan out the information given to employees in careful segments. An effective orientation program plays a significant role in employee satisfaction. The initial welcome, a solid program (that answers their questions, allays their fears, and gives them a chance to meet one another), and a strong wrap-up can give them a sense of inclusion and confidence that will get them all started on the right feet.

The Security department may have 30 minutes to several hours of this program, often in partnership with the IT Department. Both departments should stress the value of their working relationship—security problems affect them both. The security discussion portion should focus on facility access control; the value of wearing, using, and protecting facility ID badges; and reporting their loss immediately, without punishment. Security leaders need to create and provide a copy of the company’s access control policy: who is or is not allowed in here, when, how, and why, escorted or not, as a vendor, visitor, customer, client, or ex-employee. Besides just discussing the workplace violence policy and how and to whom to make a report, the new employees should also hear about the company’s response to domestic violence involving an employee, who often need support and encouragement to report these serious concerns.

The IT department needs to talk about effective “cyber-hygiene,” telling employees to keep their desks and computer screens clear of confidential or proprietary data at the end of the day; to use shredders; to not write, share, or store their network passwords near their desks; careful thumb drive use; to change their passwords frequently; to be cautious about social engineering hacks, phone calls from outsiders claiming to be with the company, and not downloading unrequested files or attachments.

The Security and IT departments may only have one chance to make a great impression, and their contribution to the new-employee orientation process plays an important role in the company’s on-going cybersecurity and physical security success.