The most dangerous time for employee dissatisfaction, low productivity, and turnover is during the first few months of employment. A well thought out employee induction process will enable new employees to become productive members of the organisation quickly.
Time invested early will pay off with substantially higher employee retention and productivity levels down the road. A good induction program will be specific to each position and cover at least a few months. It will run the range of topics from organisational values, vision and strategy to compliance requirements such as safety and specific on-the-job training.
When you are developing your company’s induction program, make sure you consider the following:
- Plan for induction
The challenge is to find the right balance between speed and meticulousness. The employee needs to receive and understand the information that is essential to their task – matters of legal compliance for instance – and they need to be brought up to speed on the organisation’s culture and values with detailed and readily accessible information, but this process can’t be interminable. Make a list of the essential topics to be covered in the induction program.
- Delivery methods and techniques
Comprehensive yet engaging induction programs use variety to arrest attention. The following are all excellent induction program delivery options (for optimal results, combine several of these):
- 1 to 1 with the CEO but will depend on size of company
- Guided tours of the workplace
- Practical demonstrations of products and/or services
- Videos: these are extremely engaging, and they allow for a consistent message. Use them for a variety of purposes (e.g. a welcome message from the CEO, product information, video tours of other workplaces/company sites, company information from relevant people in the business, etc.)
- Online induction training is highly consistent, and its reach is beyond compare. Use online training to help cover mandatory training topics and any other parts of the induction program that don’t require face-to-face interaction
- Old-school printed information if that’s the best option for your employees
- New starter basic information
The induction program’s content will differ by business and position. However, there will be some necessary information that all your new starters, regardless of position, will need. Providing this information is key to them assimilating successfully into your business.
You will need to provide materials that clarify what has been explained face to face. These materials, including product and service lists, policy and procedure handbooks, workplace maps, contact information, etc. should be readily available for the employee’s future reference.
You will also want to provide basic survival information on day one. This induction form should contain the following:
- Introduction and welcome
- Basic employment terms and conditions – although there will be a written employment contact or award/agreement that covers everything in detail, a separate list of the basic essentials will also be useful.
- Working hours and time-keeping arrangements
- Leave provisions
- Amenities/facilities (e.g. washrooms, parking, public transport, eating facilities, etc.)
- Work health and safety procedures and rules, first-aid, and worker’s compensation
- Employee benefits (also guide them to more complete information sources)
- Policies that employees need to know immediately, such as dress codes, personal use of office equipment (e.g. email, Internet, phones), confidentiality, and discipline and grievance procedures
- Names and contact details of key people the employee may need to contact
- A basic organisation chart
- If employees have difficulty with English, make the form available in other languages and/or use an interpreter.
Invest in your new people by welcoming them into your business, training them in how you do business, and buddying them up with a great performer. If you give your new employees time to get up to speed before unleashing them on your highly valuable customers, you’ll be doing your business and customers a big favour.
First published on herbusiness.com