The first large scale team building activity that you will organize as VP HR is an orientation for volunteers.
Planning an orientation for your new and returning SOS volunteers is a fantastic way to begin the term. Orientation is particularly important for welcoming new SOSers and letting them know all about your chapter. Furthermore, orientation will serve as a time to share your chapter’s goals for the upcoming term/year. Since it is a big event, involve members of the HR team in the planning as well.
Orientation typically takes place in the second week of classes – after all new team members have been hired. However – start planning your orientation early! Here are the basic steps to take before having your orientation.
1. Meeting With President (beginning of term)
- In this meeting, be sure to establish when you will hold your chapter’s orientation and what ideas they have for the event
2. Plan Event Program
- In this planning phase, get a clearer picture of how you would like your orientation to run. Include in this tentative plan approximate times for various events. For example:
- Volunteer Arrival – 11:00am – 11:30am
- Icebreaker – 11:30 – 12:00pm
- Lunch – 12:00pm – 1:00pm
- Presentation – 1:00pm – 2:00pm
- Games/Friendly Competition – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
- Once you have broken down orientation into its component parts, you can consider the logistics of each activity. For example,
- Arrival – Where will volunteers asked to go for orientation?
- Icebreaker – What game will you play (preferably something with names)? How much space will you need?
- Check out this website for more information on icebreakers https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_76.htm
- Lunch – What type of food will you get? Consideration for allergies and dietary restrictions? How much of the budget can be allocated? Consideration for delivery time?
- Presentation – Will event space have projector available (if using a Powerpoint presentation)? Who will be speaking? Will you need slide content from particular volunteers? When will you need this content by?
- Games/Friendly Competition – How much space will you need? What games will be played? Who will lead the games? What materials will be needed?
- By considering the detailed planning well in advance of orientation, you can make the event run as smooth as possible. Also, having these details worked out and available to your President(s) will be much appreciated!
3. Set Date and Start Booking!
- As soon as your orientation date has been set, book a location for it! It is important to do this as soon as possible because spaces can be hard to secure for events at the beginning of terms. Because you have already planned how the event will be structured, what volunteers will be doing, and a sense of how many volunteers your team will have for the term, you can choose a space accordingly.
Once you have selected a space for your orientation event, send out an email to your team letting them know about the event. Be sure to include all new team members! In this email, be sure to specify the date and time, location, and anything you would like volunteers to have with them.
This seems like an obvious one but don’t forget to advertise your event to volunteers. Send emails as much in advance as possible so your volunteers can plan to attend!
A presentation is generally an important focus of an orientation event, where you let your team know about your past successes, goals for the upcoming team, and who makes up your executive team. Get creative with your presentation and keep it interesting! At the end of the day, you want your entire team to be excited for the term ahead.
Check out this Powerpoint used at Laurier.
When creating your own Powerpoint:
- Establish deadlines for getting slide content from your team members
- Make sure clear goals for the chapter are presented to volunteers at this time
- Take a look at the Orientation Handbook for information to include in your presentation
After Orientation – Event Evaluation
Taking a few minutes after your event to evaluate its effectiveness is an important thing to do to make sure future orientations are made even better! Take a few minutes after orientation with your team and ask yourselves the following questions:
- Did the event meet its goals and objectives? And if yes, why? and if no, why not?
- Identify what worked and what needs fine-tuning
- What items were missing on the plan/checklist?
- Was the event well attended?
- Was informal and formal feedback about the event positive?
- Given all that went into staging, was it worth doing?
- Potential problems: too expensive, location inconvenient, same old event, no time, etc
These questions can and should be applied to all events to evaluate their effectiveness.
Try and gather as much feedback from the attendees as possible. One idea is to create a feedback form to distribute at the event, and ask attendees to take a few minutes at the end of the session to fill out the form. You are likely to get more surveys back if you distribute and collect them at your orientation event.
After orientation, send a thank you email to all volunteers who attended. If any questions came up during the presentation, this is an opportunity to answer them or direct volunteers to resources to answer their questions.
Points may include:
- Next steps for volunteers – who to contact now
- Attaching important E-Manual posts, calendars etc.
- Outreach opportunities if available
- Upcoming deadlines for chapter – i.e. midterms, socials, meetings
- If you haven’t already done so, send a survey out to gather feedback about the orientation event
By giving yourself as much time as possible to plan your event, you can work out any issues ahead of time and run the best orientation possible! If you have any questions on creating and running your own orientation, don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transitioning and Training New Volunteers
Be sure to provide new volunteers with all resources available. Resources may include: transition reports, organizing initial team meetings to discuss positions and goals in more detail, updated contact lists (including important external contacts such as event contacts, contacts for room bookings at your university). Be sure to send an email to your new hires linking them to the following documents:
- SOS Code of Conduct
- Branding guidelines
- Position description (if they haven’t received it already; this information should be included in their offer of acceptance)
- Any applicable codes or procedures
- Transition Reports (if VP or requires leading the team)
- Any other position-specific documents (i.e. course coordinators get a checklist)
Training Past Volunteers
Training past volunteers for their new position is somewhat similar to training new volunteers – however, past volunteers will possess a stronger base of SOS knowledge. Nonetheless, confirm that they have all documents they need (see above list). Specifically, this will include providing them with transition documents for their specific new position. Make sure that they know where to locate the resources they will be using.
As VP of Human Resources, it is important for you to be aware of the complete functionality of the portal. This does not mean that you need to know how everything works – but you should be aware of the main portal capabilities and resources available to each department. To become acquainted with the portal, explore the navigation bar and other areas. Take a look through the instructive portal videos made for each department. Again, you don’t need to know every single detail! But do have a good sense of the basics available for every team member.
Portal training is certainly important and required for every chapter VP. Make sure that when new team members are recruited you direct them to the resources on the E-Manual where they can learn how to use the portal for their own position. This primarily includes directing them to their respective Toolkit (within the E-Manual), their Timeline of tasks, and Portal video for their position.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email email@example.com.
Return to the Human Resources Toolkit