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On line New Hire Orientation Program

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On line New Hire Orientation Program

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Library Operations & Management |

Innovation Synopsis

This virtual tool was developed to reduce time and prepare new staff to contribute as quickly as possible. New employees gained insight and increased their awareness of our library system. The online orientation materials are accessible to all staff, part time and full time. The virtual orientation program is easy to use and contains photos, podcasts, text information and a quiz which presents the Library information to new staff members.


Previously new staff members were required to attend a two day Human Resources orientation program which included technology training and completion of required new hire paperwork which was conducted the first two days of employment. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County contains 40 branches and one main library. New Hire orientation was conducted at the main library located in the downtown area which required staff to travel across the county and find parking spaces for two full days. In 2010 we hired a total of 121 new staff members, 112 part time and 9 full time staff. Being short staffed along with a tighter budget, became the overriding factors in the need to orient staff within a shorter period of time in a much more efficient manner. In addition, while New Employee Orientation is held 26 times a year, every pay period, and not every part time staff member was able to attend the orientation.

Key Elements of Innovation

The Virtual Orientation program was designed to reach more staff quickly. The self-paced Virtual Orientation for our library orients new employees to the ideas, values, expectations and roles within the library in a timely manner which allows them to be engaged in a much more time efficient manner. The content used was from the existing orientation program but it was enhanced with photos and a podcast including our Executive Director’s welcome, Administrative Heads giving an overview of their respective units and staff testimonies about their work experiences at our library. Managers are responsible for ensuring that staff members are given sufficient work time to view and complete the orientation.

Achieved Outcomes

The program was implemented in November 2011 and as of March 31, 2012, 48 employees have completed the virtual orientation. This program has reduced staff time from four hours to approximately 45 minutes. In addition to the orientation program, new hires now have the opportunity to download required onboarding paperwork and complete it prior to their first day of employment. The new process was announced to managers and the feedback received from them was positive. Now, new public service staff members’ average time away from their new locations has been reduced to one and half days for just the technology training portion. Virtual Orientation Program is an ongoing project which requires us to update it periodically when we have staffing changes. We have included an annual review mechanism for changes.