The most dangerous time for employee dissatisfaction, low productivity, and turnover is during the first few months of employment. Since a carefully considered employee induction process will enable new employees to become productive members of the organisation quickly, time invested into the process early will pay off with substantially higher employee retention and productivity levels down the road. The process should take at least a few months, and it should run the range from values, vision and strategy to compliance requirements such as safety and specific on-the-job training.
When you are developing your company’s induction program, make sure you cover all of the following areas:
1. Plan for induction
The challenge is to find the right balance between speed and meticulousness. The employee needs to receive and understand the information that is essential to their task – matters of legal compliance for instance – and they need to be brought up to speed on the organisation’s culture and values with detailed and readily accessible information, but this process can’t be interminable.
To help you prepare an induction plan, you’ll need to consider the following questions and their answers to tailor your induction program:
- What are the objectives of induction?
- What are the induction priorities?
- What areas are 'nice to have if we can' but not high priority?
- What information can be provided elsewhere and/or made available later?
- What formats and media are most suitable?
- What induction methods appeal to particular groups, and how can information be presented in ways that will be more broadly appealing?
- How will induction need to be customised so that it provides specific information unique to the position/person (e.g. information about meeting customers, job-specific suppliers, product information, handover meetings, etc.)?
- What considerations need to be given to multiculturalism and diversity?
- Which of the organisation’s values and culture features do you want to promote during the induction process?
2. Plan for induction
Comprehensive yet engaging induction programs use variety to arrest attention. The following are all excellent induction program delivery options (for optimal results, combine a number of these):
- Printed information (policy and employee handbooks)
- Guided tours of the workplace and, if applicable, other sites
- Practical demonstrations of products and/or services
- Films or videos: these are extremely engaging, and they allow for a consistent message. Use them for a variety of purposes (e.g. a welcome message from the CEO, product information, video tours of other workplaces/company sites, company information from relevant people in the business, etc.)
- Job rotations to familiarise new employee with a variety of tasks
- Discussion groups and guest speakers (e.g. suppliers) to increase knowledge of a specific topic such as products or information systems
- Online induction training is highly consistent, and its reach is beyond compare. Use online training to help cover mandatory training topics and any other parts of the induction program that don’t require face-to-face interaction.
3. New starter basic information
The induction program’s content will differ by business and position. However, there will be some necessary information that all your new starters, regardless of position, will need. Providing this information is key to them assimilating successfully into your business. You will need to provide materials that clarify what has been explained face to face. These materials, including product and service lists, policy and procedure handbooks, workplace maps, contact information, etc. should be readily available for the employee’s future reference.
You will also want to provide basic survival information on day one. This induction form should contain the following:
- Basic employment terms and conditions – although there will be a written employment contact or award/agreement that covers everything in detail, a separate list of the basic essentials will also be useful.
- Working hours and time-keeping arrangements
- Leave provisions
- Amenities/facilities (e.g. washrooms, parking, public transport, eating facilities, etc.)
- Work health and safety procedures and rules, first-aid, and worker’s compensation
- Employee benefits (also guide them to more complete information sources)
- Policies that employees need to know immediately, such as dress codes, personal use of office equipment (e.g. email, Internet, phones), confidentiality, and discipline and grievance procedures
- Names and contact details of key people the employee may need to contact
- A basic organisation chart
- If employees have difficulty with English, make the form available in other languages and/or use an interpreter.
Invest in your new people by welcoming them into your business, training them in how you do business, and buddying them up with a great performer. As long as you give your new employees time to get up to speed before unleashing them on your highly valuable customers, you’ll be doing your business and customers a big favour.
Contact Harrison Human Resources for advice on establishing an induction program for your new employees.