Imagine what’s going on in the mind of your new employee when they come to work on their first day.
“Have I made the right decision? I wonder what they have planned for me. I’m excited but really nervous. Will I make a good impression? I hope I don’t mess up on my first day”
What can you do to ensure these natural concerns are dealt with immediately?
Professionally organised and delivered induction training is your new employees’ first proper impression of you and your company, so it’s also an excellent opportunity to reinforce their decision to come and work for you. Proper induction training is increasingly a legal requirement. Employers have a formal duty to provide new employees with all relevant information and training relating to health and safety in particular.
Creating and issuing a suitable induction plan for each new person will help them do their job better and quicker, and with less dependence on your time in the future. Employees who are not properly inducted need a lot more looking after, so failing to provide good induction training is false economy.
Here are some examples of how you can get the new person up and running as quickly as possible that can be used in addition to formal training programs:
• on the job coaching
• delegated tasks and projects
• reading assignments
• presentation assignments
• attending internal briefings and presentations, e.g. ‘breakfast briefings’ format
• special responsibilities which require obtaining new skills or knowledge or exposure
• videos and DVDs
• internet and e-learning
• customer and supplier visits
• attachment to project or other teams
• shadowing (working with another employee to see how they do it and what’s involved)
Of course, induction training will have to include some fairly dry subjects, so anything you can do to add interest, variety, different formats and experiences will greatly improve the overall induction process.
Induction training must include the following elements:
• General training relating to the organisation, including values and philosophy as well as structure and history, etc.
• Mandatory training relating to health and safety and other essential or legal areas.
• Job training relating to the role that the new starter will be performing.
• Training evaluation, involving confirmation of understanding, and feedback about the quality and response to the training.
Remember, each new starter will have different learning styles, so ensure you include a lot of variety to cater for all styles and abilities.
Here are some tips to make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to create a successful induction:
• Use a feedback form of some sort to check the effectiveness and response to induction training – whatever you choose as a format should be an evolving and improving process.
• Involve your existing staff in the induction process. Have them create and deliver sessions, do demonstrations, accompany, and mentor the new starters wherever possible.
• Make sure you involve a lot of contact with other staff for the new person. It’s important that they get to know the values and standards of the company by watching others and learning from them. It’s also a good task to set team members, as it brings home to them the responsibilities they hold as a key worker, and encourages them to share their knowledge.
• Depending on the job role, the new person may not always be able to get out and about to introduce themselves, so make this a proactive task within the whole process.
• Keep close tabs on the feedback from the new person, helping them to see how their role plays an important part in the company. Encourage them to ask questions and to be aware of the mentoring that is available to them.
For the first few days and weeks, your new team member will be looking for guidance and advice without asking for it. They are an ‘unconscious incompetent’ at this point (they don’t know what they don’t know). So speed up the contribution that the new person offers to you by proactively managing their expectations and you’ll see their learning and development quickly grow and they become a supportive and valuable member of your team. They’ll be glad they made the decision to come to work for you!
Originally published: 17 May, 2010
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