An employee’s first impressions of their new employer will have a significant impact on their integration within the team and job satisfaction. Induction is an opportunity for an organisation to welcome their new employee, help them settle in and ensure they have the knowledge and support they need to perform their role successfully. For an employer, effective induction may also affect employee turnover, absenteeism and employer brand.
What is an induction?
First impressions last!
This is true in employment, the impressions made when someone starts work will have a lasting impact on how they view their employer. An induction should be a welcoming and effective experience and is key to making the first impression a positive one.
Induction is the process to support an employee as they adjust to their new job and working environment. Some people use the term ‘onboarding’ to cover the whole process from an individual’s contact with the organisation before they formally join, through to understanding the business’ ways of working and getting up to speed in their role.
Every organisation, large or small, should have a well-considered induction that provides a new employee with a positive experience of the organisation.
The benefits of an effective induction programme
Induction ensures that an employee integrates well into, and across, their new organisation. An induction programme can benefit both employers and employees.
A well designed induction programme results in a positive experience, it means the employee:
Settles in quickly
Integrates into their team
Understands the organisation’s values and culture
Becomes productive quickly
Works to their highest potential
Enjoys their new role
Without a quality induction new employees can get off to a bad start, lack clarity on their role and how it links to the organisation's goals. This could impact on their intentions to stay in the role. For employers, a good induction has the benefits of reducing turnover and absenteeism, and increasing employee commitment and job satisfaction.
What should an induction cover?
Managers should invest time in inducting all new employees. Some groups have specific needs, for example graduate trainees, technical specialists etc. An induction programme is also beneficial to existing employees who are returning from long-term absence or parental leave.
The length and nature of the induction depends on the job role, the new employee’s background, and the size and nature of the organisation. A standard induction course is unlikely to achieve all its aims, so should be adapted as appropriate for each role/person.
Generally, an induction should cover:
Practical information about organisational procedures (e.g site map, health and safety information, who to contact etc)
Collecting essential employee information
Information on systems and procedures
Codes of conduct and other expectations
Department information, team structures and line management information
Consider the length and format of the induction programme. Avoid:
Providing too much too soon – don’t overwhelm someone with masses of information, particularly on their first day. Induction programmes can last up to 3-6 months, depending on the nature of the role.
Relying on HR to undertake the induction. Managers should be involved, particularly those responsible for key areas i.e. H&S Manager.
Providing a ‘one size fits all’ programme. There will be core elements to your induction programme, but the induction should be tailored to the role.
Creating an induction programme that focuses only on administration and compliance, but does not reflect the organisation’s ethos and values.
An effective induction programme should be engaging and reassure the new starter that they have made the right decision to join the organisation.
Ideally your induction process should be evaluated to determine whether it meets a new starter’s needs. One option is to include opportunities for feedback at the end of the induction process and allow new recruits to highlight areas for improvement.
Regardless of the format of induction, it’s important to provide practical information on areas of compliance and policy. Induction shouldn’t be treated as a ‘tick box’ exercise, but there may be some areas where it useful to keep a record of the training provided – for example, cyber security, data protection or health and safety training.
An example induction checklist is available here:
Finally, it's important to remember that the process of supporting the employee's development continues throughout their employment, managers need to consider the ongoing support that a new employee will need to order to acquire the knowledge they need to develop within their role and the organisation.
If you would like to discuss your current induction programme, or want advice on designing an induction programme, please get in touch.