Organising the induction of new recruits.
The format and content of an induction programme will vary according to the size and type of organisation and the existing knowledge, experience and seniority of the recruit. It must be borne in mind, however, that it is as important to educate the newcomer in the culture, language and standards of the organisation as to train him or her to perform a particular job.
Induction should not be viewed in isolation. It should be treated as an extension of the selection process and the beginning of a continuing staff development programme. Known as orientation in the USA, it often consists of two stages: an organisation-wide programme, usually conducted by the human resource department, and a departmental programme. This checklist concentrates on the second stage.
The purpose of induction is to ensure that new employees:
* are integrated into their working environment as quickly as possible
* learn relevant aspects of the organisation's mission culture, policies, procedures and methods of working
* become productive and well motivated
* become aware of the skills and knowledge needed for the job understand their responsibilities.
Advantages of induction
* Newcomers are integrated more quickly into the organisation and become productive earlier.
* You show that you value the newcomer, making them feel welcome and giving them a sound impression of the organisation.
* It helps minimise employee turnover and recruitment costs.
* Successful induction is an essential first stage of an employee development programme.
1. Appoint a mentor
Consider asking someone about the same age and grade of the newcomer to act as a friend and advisor for the first few weeks. This will be particularly useful in a large, complex organisation or in helping to explain the myriad of detail not fully covered elsewhere. Monitor the relationship, however, and step in if it isn't working.
2. Plan the induction and involve and inform others
An induction programme should ideally be drawn up, but certainly authorised, by the newcomer's manager. The mentor should also be involved in the process. Other staff who will be working with the new employee should be informed of the induction programme, whether or not they will be involved. The induction plan should contain three stages: the first day or two should cover the bare essentials; the first three or four weeks should be learning by a mix of approaches; the three to six month period should gradually familiarise the newcomer with all departments.
3. Prepare the work area
Clear and tidy the new employee's work area. Check that all relevant stationery is to hand and equipment is in working order.
4. Introduce the recruit to the organisation and the department
On the first day, it is usually the personnel department who informs the newcomer of housekeeping arrangements (catering arrangements, for example), and covers the sorts of issues contained in the staff handbook (such as salary payments, leave arrangements and the sick pay scheme). Make sure that the new employee has copies of any necessary documentation, the organisation chart and job description, for example. An introduction to the department and team in which they will be working must also be made. Although the newcomer will be introduced to people around the organisation, a detailed look at what other departments do will follow at a later stage of the induction process.
5. Emphasise the importance of organisation policies and procedures
New employees must be made aware at an early stage of policies and regulations based on legislation, particularly in the area of health and safety. Other procedures based on national standards, such as IS0 9001 and Investors in People, and other schemes, such as internal employee development or mentoring, should also be introduced.
6. Plan a balanced introduction to the work
Whether training is done by the sitting-with-Nellie approach or by professional trainers, a mix of explanation, observation, practice and feedback is advisable. Consider using computer-based training, either stand-alone or on the company's intranet, that new staff can use at times to suit themselves. Beware of information overload. The new employee should be given some real work to do to avoid boredom and to give early opportunities for achievement.
7. Clarify performance standards
Make the performance levels you require clear from the outset. An employee cannot be expected to meet standards of which they are unaware. Where appropriate, discuss medium- and long-term needs and opportunities.
8. Conduct regular reviews of progress
These should be made during the induction programme, for example, on a weekly basis, to ensure that all the objectives, and the new employee's needs, are being met. The programme may have to be adapted to match individual learning requirements and speeds. Usually reviews will consist of informal chats, but a more formal appraisal interview may take place at the end of the programme, particularly if the employee is on probation. The views of the employee on the overall induction process should be sought for the design of future programmes.
Dos and don'ts for organisations with new recruits
* Ensure that all relevant staff know about, and are involved as necessary, in the induction process.
* Review a new employee's progress regularly and be prepared to incorporate his or her expressed needs into the induction programme.
* Evaluate the style and content of the induction programme and amend it if necessary, taking into account the views of employees who have had recent experience of it.
* Forget that starting a new job is a stressful experience for most people.
* Give the employee too much information at once.
* Make assumptions about the recruit's learning and integration.
* Forget that an induction lasts longer than one day or even one week.
Employee induction process, Susan El-Shanny Aldershot: Gower, 2003
The induction organiser, Mike Tilling Aldershot: Gower, 1999
Induction: good practice, Alan Fowler London: Institute of Personnel and Development, 1999
Getting new hires up to speed quickly, Keith Rollag, Salvatore Parrise, Rob MIT Sloan Management Training Journal, Winter Vol 46 no2 2005, pp35-41
Payback time, Stefan Stern Human Resources UK, Oct 2004, 40-41, 43
Self driven induction systems: the road ahead, Garry Platt Training Journal, Dec 2000, pp20-22
Getting to know you, Jennifer Hutchins Workforce, vol 79 no 11 Nov 2000, pp45-46,48
Improving retention and performance through induction IRS Employment Review, Oct no 714 2000, pp10-16 red
The Work Foundation, Peter Runge House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y
Tel: 0870 1656700 www.theworkfoundation.com
The Chartered Management Institute, Cottingham Road, Corby, Northants NN17 1TT
Tel: 01536 204222 www.managers.org.uk
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 151 The Broadway, London, SW19 1JQ
Tel: 0208 6126200 www.cipd.co.uk
* How did you feel in your first days with a new employer?
* How much do early leavers cost your organisation?
* How quickly do new recruits become productive members of the team?