Ask any Disney cast member, past or present, if they remember their new employee orientation (NEO) and I guarantee you they’ll say yes. Why? Because Walt Disney Company’s “Traditions,” is an outstanding employee orientation program. It’s an intensive (and fun!) full-day orientation that every cast member attends to learn about the culture, history, and significant milestones of the organization.

Always remember that it’s not what we say to new employees, rather it’s how we make new people feel about the organization and their decision to become a new employee.

Healthcare has relied on see one, do one, teach one onboarding for far too long. Most people who train employees are not certified as trainers. They often teach what they were taught in the form of, “Here’s how I do it.”

Take a moment to think about what your orientation program is like for new team members. Is it engaging and interactive? Does it seem like an endless parade of guest speaker after guest speaker? Or is it simply a seminar on all the things you don’t want new employees to do?

Here are the two key things to remember when redesigning your new employee orientation:

  1. Make sure the content reflects your organizational message.
  2. Deliver the content in a way that makes your new employees feel as welcomed and as well cared for as you want your patients to feel when they come to you for care.

Many trainers fall into the captured prisoner syndrome, which is, “I don’t need to be good, they have to be here. You’re swimming in my lane so I’ll say what I want and do what I want. You’re not my guest, you’re an employee, just like me.”

An important part of the Disney Difference is that everyone must complete this new employee orientation before starting to work at Walt Disney World. Everyone, day one. Unfortunately, I see other companies sometimes cheat on this process, and then they say, “What did you send me? This new person doesn’t know anything, and they’re not very nice to our customers.” And the cycle continues.

A huge commitment for organizations is when they say, “We’re not going to let just anyone serve our customers until they have been effectively trained in our way of doing business.”

I remember a CEO coming to the Disney Institute (the corporate training arm of the Disney company) and learning how extensive the training was for every single employee. He asked, “What if we spend all of that time training them, and they leave?”

My reply was, “What if you don’t train them… and they stay?”

Redesigning your orientation will help lay the foundation for success so that every new employee is inspired and committed to work for your organization.