When your organisation has a new starter joining the ranks, it’s important to remember that onboarding is a two-way process. You aim to leave a good impression on them as much as they do you. A bad first day is never ideal, especially for what can already be a fairly daunting experience for new members of staff.
Making people feel welcome makes all the difference and can really help newcomers settle in and hit the ground running in the process. On the other hand, a poor induction can have the opposite effect, making fresh starters feel under-valued and shut out as a result. With the help of industry insiders, we’ll get you up to speed on the proper approach to carrying out your inductions.
The importance of inductions
“When taking on new employees, an induction process can be very important in ensuring their ongoing success”, says Alan Price, Group Operations Director at Peninsula Group.
“Inductions should allow new staff to learn about the structure, culture, policies and rules of an organisation alongside helping them to settle in and find their way around.”
So, what form should an induction generally take? Alan points to things such as general work process and software outlines, as well as more general information like building health and safety.
We’d highly recommend having an induction plan in place before you begin employing others. If you’ve ever had an induction where your desk wasn’t cleared, equipment wasn’t set up or an internet connection wasn’t up and running, then you’ll know how much of a bad impression this can make. Alan notes that simple, yet essential, things such as these can also be big time savers.
Introduce them to each department
A new starter can settle in quicker and gain more of an understanding of the business if they spend more time with each individual department of the organisation. Nimesh Shah, director of contact lens retailer Feel Good Contacts, notes new starters can form “a better understanding of each phase of operations, learning how the business runs” in the process.
Nimesh continues: “They’ll have more of an appreciation of what they contribute to the business. Should they wish to develop or change roles at the company at a later stage, it can be very beneficial. Personally, we’re very keen on developing and promoting from within. We’ve had staff members move from our warehouse to customer service and right up to head office, where they’ve joined the marketing team.”
Alan shares similar sentiments: “It’s a good idea to allow each member of the employee’s team to talk to their new colleague directly in order for them to discuss their role and their overall contribution to the business.”
This will also help to calm any first-day nerves and will help them to settle into their team much easier.
Put yourself in their shoes
Matt Deighton, MD at Sofas by Saxon suggests taking an empathetic view.
“Before you welcome a new starter into your business, take the time to remember what it was like when you joined a company. Ask yourself what you wish you’d known going in and what you'd have appreciated being covered right away.”
Again, it’s likely you’ll have experienced a bad induction in your time. Think back to how disappointed you might’ve felt when you weren’t properly welcomed and just left to your own devices; it really can make all the difference.
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In order to carry out effective inductions, Matt recommends creating “an induction process that can be tailored to an individual so that you can easily adapt to their needs or skill gaps.”
No matter how packed your schedule may be, Matt says you should always put time aside to welcome new starters into the business: “You don't want to come across as the busy boss who has no time for their employees, after all.”
“You should always try to involve them in any activities or situations with your team right off the bat, as this will help them to integrate and get to know their colleagues in a much more natural and fluid way.”
Check in with them once they’re settled
Once your new starter has settled in nicely with their team and is dealing well with the duties given to them you should check in with them. Matt suggests: “Schedule a regular check-in to see how they're getting on or if they have any feedback on their training. If you don't always have the time, you can ask a colleague to do this on your behalf.
Alan notes that while everyone adapts to their role at different speeds, the immediate manager should make sure to observe them over their first few weeks: “Appraise their performance, and identify if they need any additional support in certain areas.”
This process connects their induction and their first week into the early stages of their new role, supporting them sufficiently and providing all the necessary assistance.
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