Build great Teams – People management

Impact Of Having No Induction Process – A Case Study

Impact Of Having No Induction Process - A Case Study

What happens if you have no induction process? Many small businesses I’ve worked with say they don’t need a formal induction process. They’re only small and it’s all pretty straightforward. There aren’t many people to meet; they’re like one big family and they all sit together. “We’ll show the new hire what they need to do as we go along. It’ll be fine.”

I believe all companies need an induction process. Even if it’s based off a check list. Here I share a case study that demonstrates how thinking you can ‘wing it’ can back fire. Putting even very basic structure in place makes joining a new company a good experience. That leads to a better outcome for everyone.

The Initial Situation – No Induction Process

I started working with a client who had 5 employees, one of whom they’d just hired. They had no induction process. The first person they hired into this particular role lasted only 2 weeks before not showing up any more. The business owner followed up to find out what had happened. Feedback was that they were bored. They said that they felt each day consisted of sitting around while everyone else was busy, with no idea what to do. When they did do something it invariable got picked apart and they were told they’d done it wrong. The team were friendly, but after each day the new hire felt frustrated which over the first 2 weeks became boredom as they had nothing to do.

They found a replacement and by the time I started working with them the replacement had been there six months. I helped the company set goals to improve performance and it became clear that some of the issues were nothing to do with performance. It turned out that the new employee had not been shown how to do all the tasks they needed to do. They had, however, been proactive and figured out how to do it themselves. In this case the method they’d found wasn’t very effective, which meant it looked like they weren’t performing well. The failing here was not the employees application to the task, it was a failure in induction. The manager did not make sure that a) the employee had been shown what to do, and b) that the employee was following the company’s process (which was not written down initially – but now is!)

What We Did – Add Structure

We created a checklist, and listed everything a new employee would need to be told or shown. We then organized the list by time – for when it would be most appropriate to share each item with a new employee. Things that were very simple, such as where the toilets are, could simply be ticked off when communicated (with a date). Things that were more complex but could be communicated verbally were noted as bulleted notes in the check list. They could now share exactly the same points with the next new hire. Again, once communicated they would tick it off the list with a date.

Once we got to more complicated processes, the company created simple process documents that captured the key points of the process. These can now be shared with employees (both new and existing) to make sure everyone does things the same way. The check list identifies the process document by name and saved location. Once it has been shared it can be ticked off and dated. Sharing the process may include sitting with the new employee and showing them what to do, but letting them know where the written document is for future reference. Where these documents were missing (most of them) we got existing employees to quickly jot down the basic points next time they did a process so it was captured for next time.

What We Did – Summary

We built an initial checklist containing everything quickly. If a new hire started tomorrow this company could now make sure they shared all relevant information. The business owner went through the list with all existing employees and asked them for any items we’d missed. That exercise showed up some people who’d missed out when they joined, so the business owner was able to plug gaps in both the existing team’s knowledge and in the induction checklist. Getting processes written down where none exists takes longer. We made it part of the employee’s goals to all take ownership of writing down key process points.

The next new hire had a much better experience. The business owner got the new hire to help write the documents that had not yet been written. It’s a good test of understanding if you can note down the key elements to share with someone else. Now this business knows they have the structure to get people on board consistently. Having documents that new hires can refer to also helps them be more self-sufficient, which can help in a busy environment.

My Question To You

Have you ever had an employee not actually start or start a few days or weeks after they started? Could your recruitment and induction processes have contributed? 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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