Written by Bethan Adelekan – Tue 27 Aug 2013
A good induction can increase staff retention, reduce the time needed for a new staff member to settle into the workplace and generally make for a happier work force.
Common complaints about induction processes include being bored, being overwhelmed by too much information or inductees just being left to their own devices.
Below I have put together my tips for what makes a good induction process.
A good induction should be interactive and involve disseminating information in a variety of formats, not just via Powerpoint. Be creative!
You should devise your induction so it can be flexible depending on the individual and their needs, as well as tailored to their job role. Induction processes differ vastly between companies so whilst something might work well for a large, corporate company, it may not work for a small, creative company.
The induction process should be well-structured and organised but allow flexibility if something has to change at the last moment. Rather than planning it just for the inductee’s first day, it helps to plan for their first week, month and year.
When you are developing your induction try to consider what kind of experience you are trying to achieve. If you overload the employee their first day experience will be one of confusion and stress.
Think about the following questions:
A good induction process will include the following parts:
These include: Health and safety, first aid, fire procedures, pay, company policies and procedures (absence reporting, time off requests, policies on grievance and discipline and the like) plus any forms that need to be completed.
This is probably the driest aspect of the induction and it is very easy to overload the employee with information at this point.
As much as possible, the information should be made available as a resource for the employee to access whenever they need it, to read at their own speed.
You can help by explaining forms clearly and giving employees a deadline to return them by.
2. An Introduction to the Company's Mission, Goals and Values.
It’s really important that an induction reflects the company culture and gives the employee a good picture of the overall company goals.
It helps to improve staff engagement and sets out early expectations in regard to performance, shared values and company culture.
It’s also useful to give a very brief overview of the company history and any changes that have occurred recently, especially when it relates to their team or department.
This is one of my favourite parts of the induction process as it includes some of the most vital elements, like where the toilets and the coffee machine are! There is nothing worse on your first day in a job than needing the toilet but not knowing where it is and being too scared to ask.
The basic tour should cover all facilities, including toilets, break-out spaces, kitchen (including any basic rules about usage), stationery cupboard, meeting rooms, smoking area etc.
If your office is large, a floor plan (preferably with names of who sits where) is super useful and can be stored on your intranet for easy access.
The basic tour is probably when you will introduce people to some of the other employees.
Unless your company is small I would try to avoid introducing everyone by name as it is unlikely the employee will remember them all. It can also be slightly overwhelming.
Instead, focus on explaining roughly who works in each section and maybe introducing them to a lead person in each group.
If it’s available, a company structure diagram is really in helping new starters to learn who the key players are and who they report to.
The first lunchtime is key for any new starter and unless you have planned a first day lunch, explain what people tend to do for their lunch breaks: where they go, where the shop or canteen is etc.
For me, a very key element of a good induction is time spent with individuals in different departments.
Whilst an employee will naturally get to know their line manager and team members within the first few weeks it is also important for them to understand what the other departments do and how they will be working with them.
A one-to-one meeting with a contact point in these other departments will help them to get to know people faster and give them a direct source to ask for information or help.
Whilst some people are very good at getting off their chair and going to meet various people in the company, not everyone is and by designing the induction process to include this element you will really help your new starters.
Buddy systems are particularly good for large companies. The buddy can take them out for lunch on their first day and be a great support for those vital first few months.
I prefer buddies that are not in the same department as I think this makes it easier for the new employee to ask those awkward questions and get involved in cross-departmental socialising.
This includes training for the specific role, but don't forget general office and IT training. It should also include how to use the telephone system and general office software programs.
Obviously not all training will take place on the first day or even in the first week but anything that the employee will need to use from the get-go should be covered as soon as possible.
Our Train the Trainer Course here at Silicon Beach can help you structure training for new recruits perfectly.
To make things easy for new recruits, provide a list of the most commonly asked questions as well as a list of departments and a corresponding contact with phone number and email address.
It’s very reassuring to be given a plan for your first week in a new role, even if it needs to be flexible. It not only helps the new employee but actively booking in times for the various elements of the induction will help other staff to keep to the schedule and not forget to do their part.
Setting out roughly what they are going to be working on in the first week with their line manager will help set expectations but will also allow the employee to ask any questions that may help them prepare for this work.
It's during this run-through of the plan that you should let the employee know about any meetings they will need to attend during the first week/month, but also about any major company events that they either will or won’t be involved with. If you have half the company going out for a team-building day at the end of the week, even if the new employee is not involved, it’s good to let them know so they don't wonder where everyone has gone and if they have missed something important!
It’s often nice to schedule a team or company lunch in the first week of a new starter’s employment. This has the added benefit of allowing the new employee to get to know their team better and is also something current employees can look forward to.
Don’t forget to introduce new hires at company and team meetings.
It’s important to put just as much time into preparing the current staff, especially those who will be involved in the induction, for the arrival of a new hire.
If they are well prepared they will not only provide a better induction but also having a team ready to welcome someone new is preferable to a team that is surprised by someone new turning up!
Encouraging staff, especially those in different teams, to come and say hello throughout the day will help to make the new starter feel welcome.
It is really important to keep taking feedback on your induction process. For it to be a success, you need to achieve the buy-in of staff and the best way to do this is to ensure they feel it’s beneficial for both the company and the new employee.
Make sure the information used is regularly reviewed so it’s up to date and relevant for the specific employee.
Good luck with your inductions and please do add your own tips in the comments below!
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