Weekend Poll Results: All Aboard – We’re Talking Orientation

With thanks to all who participated, here are the results of my latest weekend poll. Our focus: How extensive an orientation did you receive when commencing your current role?

How does your onboarding experience compare to those of your peers?

Almost 20% of respondents were able to rate their orientation experiences at 4 or higher, with 5 being the highest possible ranking. At the other end of the spectrum, 34% gave this process the lowest possible rating – and little wonder, since 31% of respondents said they received no orientation at all.


What kind of support should you require?

It would seem from these results that anything over three days for an orientation to a new position is a luxury, and that’s consistent with my experience. If you’re skilled, an extensive onboarding period may not be necessary … but it would definitely help people to have benefit of a procedures manual or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are unique to their new environment. One in five respondents reported having access to SOPs as part of their orientation process, while 17% were provided a procedures manual.

A fortunate 26% of respondents had the same good fortune I did when starting in my current role, in that their predecessors made themselves available after their departure.


Many of you agreed that expectations of job preparedness increase with the level of responsibility

That makes sense, doesn’t it? In fact, 48% of the people who participated in this Weekend Poll are Executive Assistants, while more than 7% hold the roles of Chief of Staff, Legal Secretary, Paralegal, Office Manager or Manager. 18% of respondents identified as Personal Assistants, and another 7% (likely from Europe) identified themselves as Management Assistants.


What do people value about their orientation or onboarding experiences?

Keep reading to find out! You’ll find all the data below.


Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

On a scale of 1 (grossly insufficient ) to 5 (ideal), how would you categorise the quality of the orientation you received when assuming your current role?

  • 5 out of 5 (ideal ):  11% of respondents 
  • 4 out of 5:  8% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 29% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 16% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (very poor):  34% of respondents
  •  2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “I was shown to my desk. That was it.”


How much time was provided for your orientation/onboarding? 

  • 31% of respondents: none
  • 19% of respondents: 1 day
  • 14% of respondents: 2 days
  • 11% of respondents: 3 days
  • 5.5% of respondents: 5 days
  • 5.5% of respondents: 2 weeks
  • 14% of respondents selected “Other”.  Readers reported orientation periods as follows.
    •  a single hour (in more than one instance)
    • a few hours
    • two formal days as well as two weeks of self-directed orientation that included reviewing documents and meeting team mates
    • activities spread over the course of a month


Did you have benefit of a procedures manual?

  • 83% of respondents: No
  • 17% of respondents: Yes – one reader added a comment that, while there was a procedures manual, it was out of date


Did you have benefit of access to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)? 

  • 77% of respondents: No
  • 20% of respondents: Yes
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”.  One reader commented that the content was non-existent or out of date


Did you have access to the incumbent after s/he departed the role?  

  • 60% of respondents: No
  • 26% of respondents: Yes
  • 11% of respondents: N/A; I’m the first in the position
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”.  One reader commented that s/he took over from someone providing maternity coverage, and that the person leaving was doing everything wrong.


Which of the following best categorises the nature of your admin. role? 

  • 48% of respondents: Executive Assistant
  • 18% of respondents: Personal Assistant
  • 11% of respondents: Administrative Assistant
  • 7% of respondents: Management Assistant
  • 2.33% of respondents: Chief of Staff
  • 2.33% of respondents: Legal Secretary/Paralegal
  • 2.33% of respondents: Manager
  • 9% of respondents selected “Other”.  Some readers reported that they are Office Managers, while another is a Senior Admin. Assistant. One respondent’s title includes “and Team Secretary” – in addition, I think, to one of the titles above.


Is the statement that expectations of job preparedness increase with the level of responsibility consistent with your experience?  

  • 64% of respondents: Yes
  • 25% of respondents: It depends on the employer
  • 11% of respondents: No


What change(s) would you recommend to the onboarding/orientation you were provided? 

  • Everything above, plus assign an office “buddy”‘
  • Access to the previous person would have been good.
  • Processes in writing, which I am preparing for my successor / a proper guidance manual / Procedure manuals and better access/implementation of policies  / An admin orientation needs to be created. / I did create a manual for my role. There wasn’t (one). / The lack of (a) policy manual to refer to made an excellent first big project for me. / Procedures manual
  • SOPs and a calendar of major undertakings would be useful.
  • There should be an orientation. / An admin orientation needs to be created.
  • detailed list of job duties, who’s who, telephone numbers, templates
  • Time to learn the programs and procedures would have helped
  • N/A  /  None
  • Orientation program for first 2 weeks; boss commits to regular induction catch up
  • Many! Fortunately, many have changed. Mostly due to tech an internal HR net
  • Would be a waste of time to offer recommendations. They don’t listen and they d (balance of entry cut off)
  • To have some / I would suggest they have one (an orientation). / Proper handover of at least a week / At least give expectations of role
  • More communication prior to the start date


What did you most value about the orientation you received? 

  • The planning and prep my boss did for my arrival made me feel important to the team.
  • Very thorough
  • Systems training
  • Written instructions with screen shots!
  • Company overview
  • Great handover, just nothing in writing, so my copious notes were invaluable
  • Time and self-led activities / Left alone to work things out
  • That some effort was made
  • No complaints about the official orientation
  • Didn’t receive one / I did not receive an orientation. / no value at all
  • Meeting people I could turn to for help / The person supporting (me) was helpful and was not the original post-holder
  • I met some people who were helpful, not many though!
  • Key contacts / meeting the people
  • My predecessor made herself available after her retirement.


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