Why invest your time in a thorough induction – what are the benefits?

Surveys commissioned by the CIPD estimate the average recruitment cost to business cost to be £4500 - £6000, and state 22% of new starters leave in the first six months.   Investing time and energy in a thorough induction process can have a lasting impact on the retention of new starters and is a major factor in the newcomer’s future success.  ‘Sink or swim’ is an approach many employers take, expecting the new employee to demonstrate initiative and carve their own path, but this can be a high risk strategy which may back fire.

The most productive employees are engaged with the company – they understand the contribution which is required of them and they know how to achieve this - they belong.  Proper comprehensive induction can fast track the contribution the employee makes, integrate them into the team a.s.a.p and give them confidence they have made the right move.   Even before their first day, your company is responsible for the welfare of a new employee - important procedural and Health & Safety information needs to be imparted and if you haven’t told them the rules you are liable if things go wrong.

Before they Start – Pre-Induction

The period of time between receiving the acceptance of the offer of employment from your new employee to them actually starting their new job can be up to three months.  This is a vulnerable time for the new company, some prospective employees decide not to join at all.   They may be offered an alternative role by one of the other companies they applied to, or be persuaded to stay where they are by their current employer.

Providing information to the prospective employee in advance of their first day could make them feel more confident about the decision they have made to join your company.
Pre-Induction Information to consider

  • A letter/email from the most senior person in the organisation introducing themselves and welcoming them to the team.  A photograph may be helpful if they haven’t already met during the interview process.
  • Information about the company – its key products & services, how many locations the company operates from, a brief history of the company and its ownership structure, the number of employees and any other key facts.
  • Information from their line manager, key activities or projects currently being undertaken in their department, some prior knowledge of who they will be working with in their immediate team.

Practical information which will make their first day less stressful. For example;

  1. Your location, including sat nav accurate postcode and nearest public transport stops.
  2. Parking provision, or local car parks and rates.  Bike storage.
  3. Layout of the premises, including where they have to report to ie. Department or Reception.
  4. Information regarding what time they have to arrive and who they should ask for.
  5. Onsite facilities, i.e. food & drink available on/off site, kitchen facilities, shower facilities (if available) and location of toilets.
  6. Break facilities – formal or informal arrangements and timings.
  7. What they need to bring with them in terms HR paperwork, i.e. bank details, proof of identity, signed offer letter or contract of employment etc.
  8. Any preparation you would like them to make, for example pre-work for a formal Induction meeting.

Although making the right recruitment decision is a big deal for an employer, it is a bigger deal for the new employee.   Put yourself in the shoes of the new employee – you may have been in this position recently or a long time ago.  Feeling anxious, self-conscious, ignorant – aware of the promises they made at interview and anxious to live up to the commitments they made.   Make it easy for them to hit the ground running by giving good advice, in easy to digest ways, in a timely fashion. They will be anxious to make a good first impression.  The first day in a new job can confirm their hopes that they have made a good decision - or fill them with despair.

You may be tempted to assign the task of inducting a new employee to an existing member of the team, having a friendly face who is responsible for them in the early days is important, however anybody responsible for inducting others will need a structure to follow and some guidelines and ground rules.  It is a mistake to abdicate all company responsibility for induction and leave it in the hands of someone without the correct information or incentive to do a thorough job.  It is worthwhile setting up a standardised approach and giving the same basic information to all new starters to ensure maximum productivity at the earliest stage.