When a new staff member joins your organisation, make sure to provide an induction to help the new employee understand what is required of them and their role. If you choose to not do an induction, you might find yourself spending time and resources on an individual that isn’t quite right for your company.
Plus, it’s widely agreed that 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.
A popular approach many employers take is the classic "sink or swim" tactic. This will demonstrate the employee’s initiative to be able to carve their own path, however, be warned that this is a high-risk strategy which may backfire.
Whenever you employ a new staff member, you want them to be integrated into your existing team as fast as possible. Inductions can fast-track the contribution the new employee makes, integrating them into the team more efficiently and boosting their confidence.
As the employer, it’s important to understand that your job starts before the recruit's first day. Your company is responsible for the welfare of any new employee - important procedural and Health and Safety information needs to be shared, and if you haven’t told them the rules, you are liable if things go wrong.
This is the period of time between receiving and accepting the job offer, to them actually starting their new job. In some cases, this can be up to three months. This is a vulnerable time for the new company as some prospective employees decide not to join at all.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. For example, 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 (most likely due to an effective exit interview!)
Contacting the prospective employee and providing information in advance of their first day could make them feel more confident about the decision they have made to join your company. It also shows that – as a company – you are eager and excited to get them on board your team.
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 them during the interview process and adds a personal touch
- Information about the company, such as its key products and 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 you feel are valuable for a new start to know
- Information from their line manager, key activities or projects currently being undertaken in their department and some prior knowledge of who they will be working with in their immediate team
The first day
The first day on the job is always nerve-racking for a new employee. New faces, new responsibilities, new bosses to impress quickly. To help calm their nerves (and boost their performance) provide them with the following information:
- Your location, including a satnav accurate postcode and nearest public transport stops
- Parking provision, or local car parks and rates, as well as bike storage
- The layout of the premises, including where they have to report to i.e. department or reception
- Information regarding what time they have to arrive and who they should ask for
- Onsite facilities, i.e. food and drink available on/off-site, kitchen facilities, shower facilities (if available) and the location of the toilets
- Break facilities – formal or informal arrangements and timings
- What they need to bring with them in terms of HR paperwork, i.e. bank details, proof of identity, signed offer letter or contract of employment etc.
- Any preparation you would like them to make, for example, pre-work for a formal induction meeting
Giving the responsibility of inducting to an existing member of the team can be a good move to make. It provides the newcomer with a friendly face who is responsible for them over the first few days. This gives them time to find their feet properly and adapt to the new surroundings and company structure.
However, anybody responsible for inducting others will need a structure and some guidelines to follow. It is a mistake to abdicate all company responsibility for the induction and leave it in the hands of someone without the correct information or incentive to do a thorough job. To avoid any problems during the induction process, it’s worthwhile setting up a standardised approach and giving the same basic information to all new starters to ensure maximum productivity at the earliest stage.