When employees start in a new job, they have a legal right to receive high-quality orientation to their duties and the workplace practices. The orientation and guidance concern all new employees in the company, including summer workers and agency contract workers. It is particularly important to orient young employees at the start of their careers who do not necessarily have the professional skills and experience required for the job.
The Act on Labour Protection obliges the employer to orient employees to work and the working conditions as well as to the correct use of tools and to safe working methods. Orientation makes new employee familiar with the corporate culture, customs, people, practices and expectations.
During orientation, new employees are instructed to:
- their duties
- the operations of the company
- occupational safety
Closest supervisors are typically in charge of orienting and instructing employees. They draw up a written plan showing the content and progress of orientation. The plan should take into account the duration of employment, professional skills, experience and education. Supervisors do not have to give the whole orientation themselves, they can delegate some of the responsibility to other employees. However, the responsibility for the orientation always remains with the management and the supervisor.
Every new employee must get sufficient information on e.g. the work and workplace, the rules and common instructions of the workplace, the use of machines, equipment and means of protection, work safety and work-related hazards and exposures. In orientation employees learn safe working methods and identify potential risk factors in the job.
What to do if you do not get orientation?
If you feel you have not got enough orientation or something is unclear, take it up with your supervisor. If that is not possible, contact the shop steward or occupational safety delegate in your company. Remember that you can also ask your colleagues.
Orientation concerns old employees, too. Mentoring allows employees repositioning within the company to familiarize themselves with their personal duties, responsibilities, demands and requirements. When duties and working conditions change, employees must be guided to new circumstances. In change situations employees must adapt to the new situation, and positive changes can cause mental strain, too.
Mentoring is needed when:
- duties change
- working methods change
- new machines, equipment and substances are acquired and introduced
- the task is seldom repeated
- safety instructions are neglected
- accidents occur at the workplace or an occupational disease is detected
- defects are detected in the mentoring provided
- the situation deviates from the usual
- mistakes are detected in operations and defects in the quality of products and services