How Companies Can Provide a Quality Induction for Employees

So, What is Staff Induction?

You might also ask, what is new employee induction? Staff Induction is a detailed, tailored, and structured process. It immerses new joiners into an organisation. This includes combining onboarding, orientation, and detailed staff induction plans. With that, you will have multiple levels of training, development, and introduction.

Onboarding refers to the meet and greet, the initial welcome. This also includes essential paperwork and issuing of company equipment. Therefore, this is where we have the chance to create a positive first impression. Also, we can clear any contract, job description, or benefits queries.

Orientation looks at the familiarisation of the actual workplace. This can include where the main work area will be, locker room, canteen, etc. So, it really is an overview and summary of what will come next.

Staff induction plans will be in much greater detail. Meaning, these will be well developed induction processes. Also, they are covered over a longer period of time. This means that every aspect of the role is addressed and developed during this process.

Boss welcomes new employee on first day
An effective staff induction will make a new employe feel more at ease

What is the Purpose of Staff Induction?

It is a personalised, efficient way of allowing new employees the chance to become accustomed to your company. The main purpose of staff induction is to create a base. From this, every new employee can potentially flourish. Therefore, time, effort, and commitment from multiple sources are really needed to have the proper impact. This larger scale staff induction package will be everything from onboarding to the end of probation. Also, it includes having a proper staff induction pack containing key information. Induction training for new employees includes all of the above mentioned essentials.

Who is Responsible for the Induction Process?

There are multiple people responsible for making the staff induction successful. Firstly, HR play a big role in coordinating the overall induction process. Secondly, heads of departments are responsible for the staff induction at department level. Furthermore, the leadership team should be available to guest speak, hence, showing interest in the new employees. Additionally, the department trainer is responsible for providing buddy training to new employees. Finally, the new employee is responsible for giving 100% of their attention and effort. Therefore, every training and learning experience included in the staff induction process have these people involved.

Some Other Common Staff Induction Questions Answered:

How Long Should a Staff Induction Last?

There is NO right answer because it depends on so many factors. Firstly, look at the size of the company, the history, and overview of the organisational structure. Next, review any IT induction for new employees that are needed. Moreover, include detailed HR induction for new employees. Also schedule customer service sessions, and other soft skills training where required.

Do not make the mistake of trying to squeeze too much into a short amount of time. Likewise, don’t rush to get the new employee into their position as quickly as possible without training. This will cost your company in the long run for the following reasons.

  • More mistakes are likely to happen.
  • New employees can become frustrated and leave more quickly.
  • It will have a direct and negative impact on the customer experience.

A quality staff induction for new employees will start from day one. This continues until probation has been successfully completed. It will include the 3 main types of staff induction training. So, make sure this time frame is considered for your staff induction to take shape.

What are the 3 Main Types of Induction Training?

I have been surprised, over the years, that some answer this question as pre-induction, induction and post-induction. I agree that these are 3 main stages of a thorough staff induction package. However, I would suggest that the 3 main TYPES of induction training are:

  • Departmental induction, including IT induction for new employees.
  • Company induction for new employees.
  • HR induction for new employees.

All 3 of these will feature throughout the entire staff induction package at different times. Very often we see these overlapping during the programme. Also, each of these will have a mix of training focus bases, those being:

  • Technical-based training
  • Knowledge-based training
  • Behaviour-based training

So, when you look at the 3 main types of induction training, remember to consider:

  • Both sets of the above-mentioned points will be imperative to consider.
  • Be combining these you can achieve better results from a quality staff induction for new employees.

What Does a Good Induction Look Like?

So, what should a staff induction include? Let’s look at the 3 main types of induction training in more detail. This will help you to identify quality staff induction processes to include for new employees.

Departmental Staff Induction

In my experience, this is where key gaps exist in the overall induction process of new employees. Each department of the organisation take different approaches, have different focus areas, and different ways of planning and tracking the departmental induction for new employees. The head of the department may not even be actively involved in the staff induction process, which is a mistake.

Consider this; as the head of department, you have invested the time during recruitment to select this person. You have the final say of who you are trusting to employ in this role. You are the one expecting certain contributions and results from this new employee in the overall success and contribution of the department and therefore the company. With all of this in mind, surely during this crucial induction process, your involvement at regular intervals and for regular checks will be imperative to ensure the new employee is fitting into their new role in the way they expect.

At departmental level, using all 3 approaches of technical, knowledge, and behaviour-based training, consider these points for the departmental induction to be successful.

Length of the Departmental Induction Process

Based on the experience level of the new employee, this time frame will be adjusted as needed, longer for someone new to the industry, shorter for those with proven experience in their field.
Assigning a “Buddy”

A very effective and time-efficient way of providing on-the-job training for new employees during the staff induction process is to assign a “buddy”. This person will take the role to train and guide the new joiner in their role. Assign this role carefully to someone capable of training others. It cannot simply be the most experienced in the team. It must be someone with the right skills and knowledge as well as behaviour and attitude. Look at anyone with disciplinary issues or anyone who is openly negative, they should be avoided for now.

 

3 students working together
Assigning a buddy makes the new employee feel as though they have an ally
IT Induction for New Employees
During the departmental staff induction process is when most, if not all, of any IT induction for new employees will happen. This can be a mix of both on-the-job as well as classroom-based training, depending on the resources available. Linking back to the above-mentioned point about the “buddy”, they will need to be highly competent in their IT knowledge and skills to be able to transfer this to the new employee in the right way. Remember, although software and systems may be the same, each company may have different access, set-up, and personalised options that even experienced new employees may need to have included into their IT induction.
Setting Clear Expectations and Goals
A very early part of the departmental induction process will be for the direct report to set very clear expectations and goals for new employees to work towards. Give the new employee a clear direction or path to follow and this will give them a strong foundation to build from as they journey towards their probation review.

Using the Department Standard Operating Procedures

Throughout the departmental induction process standard operating procedures or SOPs will be an important resource to create understanding and consistency for all new employees. Don’t fall into the trap of handing a folder of SOPs to a new employee and ask them to read them. Use the SOPs to create this section of the induction plan. Incorporate it throughout the on-the-job training with the “buddy”. While covering the SOPs, connect these to the quality standards you use. Create clear understanding of any quality or food safety auditing points to ensure that new employees are prepared from the start for potential checks of their areas that happen either internally or externally for auditing purposes.
Induction Checklist
Every part of the departmental induction for new employees needs to be effectively tracked using a detailed induction checklist. Prepare a checklist that covers all aspects of the departmental induction. Include even the smallest points. File these and refer back to them if needed, in case of retraining or coaching needs.
Linking it all Back to the Job Description
Everything covered throughout the departmental induction must link back to the job description provided to the new employee during the initial onboarding. When creating your induction plan and checklist for new employees, refer to the job description to ensure that everything has been included along the way.
Other elements of the departmental induction should include a detailed tour of the department, introduction to department colleagues, explanation of the department duty roster/schedule as well as providing main contact details for all key department members such as the head of department, the coordinator, and any other relevant members of the team that the new employee would require for effective communication.
 

Company Staff Induction

I have personally run company induction programmes that run for anything from 1 to 5 days. As mentioned before, this will depend, from company to company, on how long you need to fully and effectively cover all important topics. The company induction type of training will be a combination of topics that all new employees will need to have exposure to. Here are some important considerations:

Location, Group Size, and Frequency

While departmental inductions will often be trained on a 1-1 basis, company induction is often done in groups in either a training or meeting room. Depending on your room size, you can confirm your group size. From experience, I would recommend not exceeding 20 attendees so you can ensure the session is personalised and time can be given to each attendee and their questions or concerns.
Another recommendation is no less than 4 attendees so there can be some group interaction and participation and so you achieve a better return on investment of the time given for this type of induction training. The frequency of how often this company induction is necessary depends on your turnover so decide based on your company’s demand however, one more recommendation from experience is to try to ensure all new employees attend this induction training in their first month of employment.

Use the Experts in your Team

Although there should be one lead facilitator for the company induction training, use the experts in your company to cover their topics personally. For example, if you have a Security Manager have them cover the safety in the workplace topic, also if you have someone specific for food safety, have them present the training. These experts can answer any questions more easily and have the first-hand knowledge to know exactly what needs to be included and how to deliver that content.

 

Pile of post-it notes with Expert Advice written on them
Utilise the expert advice you have on your team

Company Staff Induction Content to Cover

Company History and Overview

Here we can give new employees the general information about our company, what we do, how we do it and how long we have been doing as well as developments over time. Include the organisational structure (including photos where possible), awards that have been won, new and upcoming developments they can look forward to (expansion, new outlet, etc.) and focus on the positive; sell the company and let them know why joining the company is such an exciting opportunity.

Mission, Vision, Values, and Beliefs of the Company

If your company has established mission vision, values and beliefs now is the time to fully explain these to new employees. Find realistic examples of your company operations to be able to link each of these back that relate directly to the roles the new employees have been hired to fill, this way they will have better buy-in and understanding of what each really means for the company and for them moving forward within the company.

Safety in the Workplace

In terms of the company induction training, here we will cover the topics of physical safety in the workplace. Security should cover the topics of fire safety, identifying and reporting hazards and evacuations. The expert in your team for food safety will cover this topic for the group. Already, at departmental level, any proper handling of equipment or machinery should have been covered however this can be checked or revisited at this time. It is important that the physical wellbeing of all new employees is properly addressed for the sake of the individual, their team, and the company as a whole. Do not overlook this key responsibility to avoid accidents and injuries.

Customer Service

It may be important to ensure that new employees have training or retraining on customer service as it applies to your company. This may be focused on face-to-face interactions, telephone etiquette or email and online communication, depending on your company’s customer service delivery focus. Ensure everyone, no matter how experienced, is trained on your company’s approach and guidelines. This will differ between companies, and it is essential that they know YOUR company’s style and approach. This may also include “un-training” new employees on practices they are used to from previous companies that do not apply to yours.

Leaders Meet and Greet

One important milestone for a quality induction for new employees is one that is very often overlooked, which is very disappointing. This usually takes only 10-15 minutes of the entire induction process however it can and does have a lasting impact for new employees. I have personally tried and tested many versions. One was that managers come to the training room, stand in front of the group and state their name and position (not very memorable). Another was that the senior leadership team come and state their key company philosophies and beliefs (more memorable, but not very personal).
Then this one, to the one I found to be most effective: coffee with the leaders. By inviting the leaders to our first morning coffee break, the atmosphere is more relaxed, there is a real opportunity for interactions and the new employees really appreciate that the leaders have given this time to them so early on. Do this in the training or meeting room you use for the company induction or if you will be using the staff canteen, simply reserve a few tables or area that will meet your needs for the size of group you have. After using this approach, I would highly recommend it ahead of any others.


Site Tour

Although new employees should have a comprehensive department tour, you need to ensure that they know the rest of the site. Organise for them to visit all key departments. Provide a site map (if possible) so they can use this for orientation of all areas. Do not assume they know where to go, make sure they know by conducting the tour.
 
Group of business people in an induction
There are many components needed for an effective staff induction

 

HR Induction

We are now at the stage for HR to have their say. Have your HR team take this part – they know the information inside-out, they have the answers. Look at the below sections that need to be included for a quality HR induction for new employees to occur.

Policies and Procedures

If anyone knows the company policies and procedures for all employees, it is HR. Have them create and deliver the HR related topics. All relevant policies need to be covered, even in bullet point format. Dress code, absenteeism, sick leave, etc.; the list goes on and on.

Benefits and Add-ons

Every company has additional benefits and add-ons that come with the basic salary and terms of employment. HR have the perfect chance to sell their company benefits here. Clear up any queries regarding bonuses, discounts and allowances. Commitment and longevity can be created through effective benefit policies, which HR are involved in developing and communicating.

Appraisal System

HR develop, train others and coordinate all appraisal stages. Explain how many performance reviews happen each year. Give clear direction on what is covered and what impact it has, such as annual bonuses, promotion opportunities, etc. It is unbelievable how many people do not even know their appraisal form before the fact, make sure that does not happen in your organisation.

Development Opportunities

Is promotion possible? Is cross-training available? Are other sites in the company involved in inter-site transfers? Are training courses offered? All of these are big incentives for people to stay longer with your company. Explain how they work, who is eligible and what steps are needed.

Safety in the Workplace

HR are responsible for ensuring all new employees understand safety at work other than physical aspects. These are:

  • Disciplinary action: The policy and process for what could lead to disciplinary action and what short or long-term effects it could have on employees is essential. We are responsible for creating this awareness. We put people at risk by neglecting to address this topic. Ensure the whole process is clear, what the different levels are and how termination may happen. Offer clear examples and answer any questions that come up. Be sure your disciplinary policy is in line with all local legal requirements.
  • Grievance process: Some new employees leave early in their induction due to their own grievance about working conditions. Every company must have a policy in place for employees to report any grievance they have in confidence. Explain how this can happen and what steps they can take. Explain also the time frame and possible end results.
  • Workplace Harassment: Having worked in many organisations that offer live-in options this topic is so important to cover. However, regardless of the size of your company, the breakdown of male v’s female ratio or on-site or remote working locations, address the following: bullying, intimidation, online trolling and sexual harassment. Everyone needs to know that there is a zero-tolerance policy in your company for any of these aggressive and unacceptable behaviours. When possible, without disclosing specific details, use actual examples from the company history and how it was dealt with.
  • Cultural Diversity: This is such a sensitive subject and so important to cover. Keep the topic light while keeping it relevant. Avoid racial or cultural stereotypes, slurs or inappropriate jokes or comments to prove your point.
Multi colored pencils in box with safety helmet
Safety at work is a key part of an effective staff induction

Payroll and Leave

It is important that all new employees understand how and when they will be paid. Everyone wants to know this information. They also want to know what leave they are entitled to. Tell them about annual leave, sick leave, compassionate leave and more.

Some Final Staff Induction Questions Answered

Before we end, 5 final but important questions about staff induction.

  1. What happens on the Induction Days? You get to invest time into preparing your new employees for their new role. Your investment will pay off. But only if the staff induction process is well planned, organised and full commitment is given.
  2. What do they wear on induction? For departmental induction, staff should already be in uniform. For the company and HR induction, if uniforms are not provided yet, ask staff to come in smart casual. This is keeping in mind possible site tours and getting them into the business mind-set.
  3. How do you make an induction fun? There are SO many ways. First, include activities such as icebreakers. Human Bingo is a favourite of mine to play during the first day. If possible, arrange a small scavenger hunt (depending on your site/layout). By the end, induction team quizzes are always fun. Make it interactive and get the new employees participating and sharing their experiences. Ask for stories from before joining, from college or previous jobs (but nothing negative against other companies!).
  4. Is induction really training? 100% yes. So, you are imparting technical, knowledge and behaviour-based training throughout the whole process. Also, you are doing this using different approaches and techniques. Therefore, every step of the staff induction has training relevance.
  5. Do staff get paid for induction days? Absolutely! Firstly, schedule the induction training as part of the roster. Secondly, log all training done during these hours. Once you show induction is being covered at this time, induction days are paid.

Conclusion

In summary, we have covered many important questions about staff induction. These have covered how to prepare, develop and run a quality staff induction for new employees. With more questions still existing, watch this space for even more staff induction tips, recommendations, and avoidances. Best of luck in creating your staff induction for new employees. You will all benefit from this and it will help create engaged and committed new employees.

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