Build great Teams – People management

Induction Programs – Start Right

Induction Programs - Start Right

The time when someone joins your company is the time when they are most motivated and energized. This is when they most want to make a good impression and make fast progress. Harness their energy and start them off well by using a consistent, well thought-out induction program. Induction could be a process or a full multi-faceted program depending on the size of your company.

Induction is also known as onboarding. As its name suggests, it’s all about getting employees “on board” effectively. Make sure they can start doing the job you hired them to do as quickly as possible. A well-structured start, that lets a newly-hired person (new hire) become effective quickly, will also show your company in its best light. Make a great second impression (presumably you made a great first impression when you interviewed the new hire since they decided to come and work for you!)

What Is Induction?

Your new hires need to receive all the information and support they need to make a good start. Let them know who to go to for help. Show them how to use any tools they will need to use to do their job – at least at a basic level. Make sure they understand the language, including acronyms, that you use so they can communicate with you! Set general expectations around the standards and behaviours you expect to see demonstrated within your company. This includes setting expectations around the tasks you expect them to perform, and goals you expect them to attain over the first few days, weeks, and months, up until the end of any probationary period.

Consistent Induction Program

Having a consistent, structured induction process or program makes sure everyone who joins your company gets the same information. It makes sure nothing is forgotten. Small things that might seem second nature to you might be a great mystery to a new hire. Make sure you avoid any awkward “something important I may have forgotten to mention” conversations later!

Communicate relevant information about your specific products or operational processes to your new hires. Communicate health and safety requirements. These may be second nature to you and your current employees, but they may not be obvious to someone coming in from elsewhere. Don’t assume anything. Spell everything out and then you’ll know you’ve covered it all.

If you need to send a new hire on training courses, let them know what courses they need to attend. Tell them the time-frame for attending those courses. Explain to them what the purpose of each course is and what you expect them to learn.

Induction Checklist, Process Or Program?

If your company is small, you may only need some check lists to cover everything. For larger companies you’ll need checklists with additional process documents, presentations or training sessions. Creating a booklet that the new hire can keep to remind them of key things over the first few months is a great idea. Larger companies may have a full program with a number of key internal and external training classes, and time spent in various departments.

Your induction program will depend very much on your company. Documenting your process or program so it can be delivered consistently is key. That will ensure all new hires get the same experience. Making sure that it’s a positive experience, that will get them embedded quickly – is also vital.

How To Organize Induction

A good strategy is to have a core induction program for everyone. Then create optional parts appropriate for different levels of new hire (graduate versus senior manager) or the job they’ve been hired to do (technical versus non-technical). The optional parts may also be applicable if an employee moves internally from one part of the company to another.

Structure your program so that over the initial days, weeks and months, information is presented at the right level at the right time. Giving all the information on how to use a particular piece of software may be information overload. Maybe on day one all they need to know is how to log in and check some key information to make sure they get paid! Try and arrange your induction program so that it makes sense to a new hire. Make it as straightforward as possible to avoid confusion. Leave as much information as you can on how to do things with the new hire. They can then refer to it when they actually need to use it.

Set reminders to periodically review your induction program in case you need to update it, add new items, or expand from checklists to something ‘bigger’. You might need to upgrade a presentation into a training class. You might need to switch from an internal training class to an external class (or vice-versa depending on the topic). Your induction program will need to develop as your company develops.

My Question To You

Do you have an induction process or check list? Do you give everyone the same experience or does it change each time? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at nikki@mulberrybushconsulting.co.uk. You can also buy my book Accelerate to Team Success which is available as a paperback or on Kindle.

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About the Author:

Nikki Faulkner photo Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.

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