The 5 secrets to a great workplace induction process

Death, taxes and staff turnover. Nowadays, whatever your industry, it’s a fact of business life that employees will come and other employees will go. The good news is it’s a situation that can be harnessed by senior managers and HR to inject new energy and ideas, inspiring your team to even greater heights. Yet it also has the potential to be disruptive. That’s why every business needs an effective employee induction process, both to minimise any negative impacts and bring new employees up to speed as quickly possible by creating a great first impression.

1. Start yesterday

You may think the induction process begins on that first morning when a new employee arrives on the job. The reality is quite different. Effective managers know the induction process for a new team member actually starts from the moment they accept your job offer, if not even before then. Why wait until day one? Often there can be a time lag between accepting and starting too, so think about what information and support you can provide to help prime your new team members beforehand, so they’re more comfortable on day one – and far more likely to hit the ground running in your workplace.

2. Clearly explain your workplace systems

From OH&S and finance to IT, admin and even marketing, every business has different systems and procedures. While they may seem obvious enough to you, these are all areas where new employees can typically become bogged down. Map out your key workplace processes using easy-to-understand language and diagrams. Make things clear. Make things simple.

3. Create a consistent culture

Buying into your culture is another key part of the employee induction process. Ideally any new team member will already, at least partially, have had some exposure to the company vision and culture they’re joining. All the same, it’s important to help make that initial workplace immersion experience a good one. Take time to document the company vision and values, explaining what they mean and why they were chosen. Share a little of your corporate history. Then, inspire your new team members to help you shape the next chapter of your story.

4. Mentoring matters.

Even the most comprehensive employee induction programs can’t cover every conceivable question. That’s where allocating a mentor to new team members can be hugely useful in the first few weeks. Ideally this should be someone other than their line manager, but still from the same team or department, so they can help to fill in any information gaps quickly and easily.

5. Put it in writing

Talking to someone is one thing. But there’s also considerable argument for producing a written induction guide for all new employees. Whether you choose to physically print it or simply supply it in digital form, it allows everyone in your workplace (new and existing) to refer back at any time should they have questions or be unsure of processes and/or expectations. If you’re not sure where to start, the Australian Government’s FairWork Ombudsman provides a detailed checklist you may find useful:

One final thing.

Have you ever considered an induction program for your existing staff? In certain situations this can be very useful, especially where you have team members who are changing roles or perhaps returning to work after a long absence, such as maternity leave, long service leave or a prolonged rehabilitation from injury or illness.

Hitting the ground running.

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