Why is an induction programme important?

Induction periods are an opportunity for a business to welcome their new recruit, help them settle in and ensure they have the knowledge and support they need to perform their role.

An effective induction programme ensures that an employer encourages commitment from their new recruit and brings them along their journey. Whereas a quick induction programme can lead to wasted time, costly recruitment fees, negativity and disheartened staff

Below are two scenarios of the type of first impressions created:

Scenario one

“On my first day of employment, I turned up at the company ten minutes before I was due to start. When I arrived, the receptionist did not know who I was. She tried to call the finance department (the one that I was working in) but no one from the department had arrived to work. Initially, I was not worried, as I was early. I sat in the reception area and after half an hour someone came to take me to my department. Most of the desks were empty and the person said that my line manager would be with me shortly. Everyone in my team was arriving late including my line manager. My line manager quickly introduced me to a few other staff in the department, told me where the amenities were and said that he had to go to a meeting so left me with a copy of the employee handbook and told me to read it. I did not have a computer, my desk was not ready so I was left perched on the end of someone else’s desk”.

Scenario two

“On my first day of employment, I walked through the front door and the person at reception greeted me with my first name and welcomed me to the company. As I was walking through the office, a number of other employees already knew my name and also welcomed me to the company. Everyone knew that it was my first day of employment. My line manager took me to my desk and everything had been set up, my email address, login details were all there. She gave me a copy of an induction programme, including a detailed timetable for the next 3 weeks, showing exactly what I was doing, who I was meeting even when I was going to be taking my breaks. The induction programme included meeting one member from each of the departments in the company. Finally, it had stages in the programme when I would be touching base with my line manager again to ensure things were ok”.

Creating those first impressions are key as they have a lasting impact about the company.

Scenario one firstly told the employee that timekeeping was not important and people could turn up whenever they wanted, the role or the employee did not matter within the department or the wider company.

Scenario two made the employee feel welcomed. The employee was able to understand the company values, culture, objectives, ready to focus on their role and being accountable for what they were responsible for.

A company that wants to create a positive and lasting first impression and achieve the following with their new recruits would benefit from a carefully tailored induction programme:

  • settle in quickly
  • integrate with the team
  • understand the company values, culture, product or service
  • understand their job requirements and objectives
  • understand how their role fits into the overall company objectives
  • understand how their role impacts all the departments within the business from the salesperson successfully getting the deal to the accounts department collecting payment
  • become productive more quickly and do their job that you have recruited them for
  • work to their highest potential

The following are some other benefits of a carefully tailored induction programme:

  • helps employees build good working relationships which then helps them do their job better
  • reduces turnover and absenteeism and more importantly, increases employee commitment and job satisfaction which benefits the employer. An employee who understands, the company, the culture, the people their role, ways of working is likely to be able to have better productivity
  • an induction programme should start from pre-employment to the end of the probationary period
  • give line manager’s the responsibility of spending time with their new employees
  • hold review meetings during the probationary period as this helps to ensure that any queries are answered, the employee is doing what the company requires, the role meets the employee’s expectation, and fundamentally ensures the employee understands how their role fits into the bigger picture of the company’s aims and objectives

Things to avoid:

  • don’t treat induction like a ‘tick box’ exercise
  • don’t leave it weeks or months after the employee has started, as this will be too late

If a new employee does not understand the company, their role or how their role links to company goals, this will impact how long they stay with the company. High turnover in a company has a number of negative effects:

  • recruitment takes time and is costly – remember the time of reviewing CVs, interviewing also costs management time
  • limited time spent with the employee is wasted
  • staff remaining in the company become disheartened
  • could have a negative impact on the company image and brand

An employer who wants to ensure that employees are coming along their journey, should not stop investing in their employees at the end of the induction programme. Too many times, I receive calls from clients complaining that their “employees were doing a fantastic job, however, over the last couple of months, they are not up to scratch”. When I ask if they have invested time in carrying out regular one-to-ones, most of the time the answer is no. If employers do not invest time with their employees and ensure that they still understand the company goals, objectives and remain focused then the situation of the employee leading astray happens and performance dips. Regular one-to-ones are a way of ensuring this does not happen, whether they are weekly, every couple of weeks, monthly or even bi-monthly.

Bring your employees with you along your journey. Improve your induction process to enhance retention.

Daxa Patel
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Daxa Patel

Daxa formed her company after spending over 25 years in HR; being part of senior leadership teams providing operational and strategic advice on employee matters. More recently spending over 6 years providing outsourced HR consultancy to both small to medium businesses. It is important for Daxa that she provides SME’s with efficient, direct advice - saving them time and money so they can concentrate on their business. She ensures that the client receives a high-level HR service that gives them the results they are seeking. Understanding that each client's needs are unique to them and therefore providing the result that meets their requirements is very important.