Improving and Standardizing New Employee Orientation


Impact Statement: 
Henry County Health Department’s (HCHD’s) strategic plan included addressing employee turnover and job dissatisfaction. Employee turnover and job satisfaction are related to how confident an employee feels when starting a new position, which links back to the effectiveness of the orientation process. The quality improvement project addressed the orientation process for new employees, changing it from an ineffective paperwork exercise without clear guidelines to a coordinated protocol designed to give the new employee a well-rounded picture of HCHD, public health, and their roles. Topics covered during orientation are included in the Workforce Development Plan, correlate with the appropriate Council on Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, and result in the award of an HCHD U Diploma when fully completed. Over time, many PDSA cycles of improvement have been conducted based on employee and manager feedback. Employee satisfaction with the orientation process has increased, and staff turnover has declined.

Henry County Health Department's (HCHD) multidisciplinary QI team chose standardizing and improving the orientation process as a process improvement project in 2012. Since completing this improvement project, new employee orientation has gone from completing new hire paperwork to a coordinated process designed to give the new employee a well-rounded picture of HCHD and public health. Topics covered during orientation are included in the Workforce Development Plan, correlate with the appropriate Council on Linkages Core Competency, and result in the award of an HCHD U Diploma when fully completed.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Shawley, M. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving and Standardizing New Employee Orientation. Wed, 08/19/2015 - 11:05. Available at Accessed August 15, 2018.

Submission Status: 
2 users have voted.


Submitted by sdorgan on

Thanks for sharing Marianne!  I think this is an important topic for most local health departments.

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Selby Dorgan

Submitted by maralieg on

This is something I will recommend our QI coordinator looks into! She herself is a new employee and may have some pertinent insights :)

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Submitted by lindaconlon on

This is a great project.  We are also revamping our orientation and workforce develpment plans to increase employees satisfaction with their understanding and role in the "larger picture" programs.  Thanks for the submission.

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Submitted by rebeccah9 on

Thank you for sharing this QI project. Our health department is in the beginning stages of reviewing our orientation process for new hires to the department in a QI team format. Currently, it is a 2 hour session offered every other month. This presents a problem as employees are sometimes employed for weeks before orientation and they may have needed the information sooner. It is hard to justify doing a orientation sessions more frequently given that there are approximately only 2 or 3 new employees per session. I am interested if the timing issue came up during your QI project and how you dealt with that? Or any other suggestions you may have to combat this issue and make orientation more productive.

Thank you,

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Rebecca Husney, MPA
Public Health Program Representative assigned to Administration
Springfield-Greene County Health Department

Marianne Shawley's picture
Submitted by Marianne Shawley on

We made a decision as part of the QI process to only start new employees on "Orientation Day."  We set up an Outlook calendar specifically called Orientation, and scheduled orientation to start on Monday every other week.  These days were chosen to facilitate payroll requirements and ensure that every new employee would have all required paperwork completed to receive their first check.   There are many managers and Directors that are involved in Orientation, and they schedule their sessions in the Outlook Calendar.  The only person that spends a significant amount of time on the first day is the HR manager.  She provides some basic orientation to policy and procedure following the Orientation Checklist. She also gives a tour and introduces the employee to key staff.  From there, the employee uses the training center to self-study, and works with their department manager in betweeen appointments with those involved in the orientation process.  We often have only one new employee at a time.  When there are more new hires, they can meet as a group for orientation topics.  The key to this whole system has been the checklist which specifically states who completes each topic, and the calendar which allows managers to schedule the orientation sessions around their other appointments or clinics.  Also, we set up a "training center" computer (using an older pc), and placed all of the orientation materials on this computer which allows the new employee a place to review some of the orientation materials when they do not have an appointment.  After two weeks, the employee is turned over to their manager for department specific training.

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Marianne K. Shawley
QI/Accreditation Coordinator
Henry County Health Department