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When I think new employee induction I think policies, processes, lots of reading, ticking boxes and time consuming. Not really thoughts that would inspire you to want to handle the inductions of new employees or as a new employee participate in an induction. I’m sure I am not alone in my thoughts. I see organisations that do inductions really well; some that do them appallingly and some that would say “Induction, what’s that;” and I am not exaggerating.
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks with my head in the induction space. For someone that struggles with the detail of policies, procedures and being desk/office bound it has been a challenge to stay committed to ensuring I’ve provided a positive induction and on-boarding experience for our two new team members.
Being only four years in to the Inspire HQ journey we haven’t inducted that many employees yet and it’s still an area of the business that has been a work in progress. To be honest, some of our previous inductions were probably the skim the surface type induction. This time I was committed to the process; I’ve been exposed to what works and what doesn’t with many of our clients and I wanted to do things differently. I’ve always said that we can run you the best recruitment process and find you the ideal candidate however if you manage the induction and onboarding element poorly your new recruit is destined for failure. I’ve had to live by my own advice these past few weeks.
It’s been a learning experience and there are many things I think I could do better next time but I wanted to share with you my learnings from the last 6 weeks. Here’s my 4 top tips for getting the induction and onboarding experience right:
- Planning and preparation – In the past I’ve printed the Induction Checklist the morning the new employee starts and we’ve gone with the flow. This time it was weeks in the making. The Checklist was reviewed, tweaked and ready to go. Each new employee had a schedule for what they would be doing every minute of every day of their first couple of weeks. Who they would be buddied up with when, what they’d learn about with each team member, what they needed to achieve in the free time they were allocated. Computer logins were ready to go (doesn’t mean we didn’t have a few hiccups with IT along the way but we were ready), phones were organised. It was a hit the ground running experience so they weren’t left to their own devices to fumble their way through the first week or to feel like they weren’t welcome.
- Don’t make it a one size fits all – There is naturally certain things that have to be completed as part of the induction process; policies to be explained, OH&S protocols, codes of conduct to educate them on, the list goes on. Even though these elements are the same I think it’s important to tailor the induction and on-boarding experience to the individual. Now this might be hard if you are a large employer who is inducting large groups of people together. It is however worth keeping in mind that everyone learns and absorbs information differently and for my two new employees they had very different backgrounds and different levels of knowledge and expertise about the recruitment and HR industry so it was important to tailor the induction and on-boarding to them to ensure they got the most out of the process.
- Share the load – Not only can the induction and on-boarding process be time consuming, it can be exhausting and you still have to get your own work done. Business doesn’t stop while you induct and on-board new employees. It can be a real juggling act. This time our existing team shared the load. It seemed logical that the genius of our admin function teach our new employees how to enter and manage candidate applications. Our candidate management genius has taught them the phone screening and reference checking element and our creative genius has taught them about our brand look and feel. Sharing the load helped to build relationships, provide insight into the different areas of the business from the genius of that area and it hopefully meant they didn’t get sick of my voice!
- It’s an ongoing process – Many people tend to think the induction and on-boarding process is completed on the first day or within the first week. For us, now in to week four with our new team members, it’s still an ongoing process. There is regular check ins and follow ups. There is one on one time spent with each member to see how they are tracking and our weekly team meetings have been focussed on developing our new team members but it has also been a great refresh for existing team members. We all get busy and caught up in our own work however it’s important to build time into our schedules for the induction and on-boarding follow up and check ins, otherwise in my experience the check ins and catch ups slip through the cracks.
Giving new employees the best possible induction and on-boarding experience is crucial for their success and longevity in your business. It’s near impossible to change the first impressions your new employee gets on day one, week one and month one; make sure you do everything you can to start the relationship off on the right foot.
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Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.