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Your guide to a great induction programme

Every business knows that induction programmes are important, but what makes the difference between a great induction programme and one that is just so-so?

To get it right, it’s helpful to start by sitting back and thinking about what your induction programme is really for.

According to the CIPD, it’s the process where employees adjust or acclimatise to their jobs and working environment.

But inductions that rely on a one size fits all approach are doomed from the start. Thinking beyond the induction process itself to the actual results you want will help you to turn ‘average’ into ‘great’. You’ll no longer just go through the motions.

Instead, you can create something:

  • designed to be appropriate to each member of your workforce
  • that really has a positive impact on your business 
  • that helps make your workers more productive
  •  building company loyalty from the start

Start by asking yourself three basic questions:

  1. What do you want inductees to gain from the process?
  2. What should the business gain from the process?
  3. What’s the best method of delivery for your particular business?

Your answers to these questions will help shape your programme.

1. What do you want inductees to gain from the induction process?

Most business can break this down into:

  • Understanding the company’s strategic and business aims: an overview of what the business does and how it does it.
  • Understanding the company’s ethos and culture; including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Learning practical essentials: where things are, procedures, who to contact for specific information and assistance.
  • Knowledge of health and safety procedures.
  • Knowledge of HR procedures such as applying for leave, sickness notification, working hours and salary payment.
  • Clear knowledge of what is expected of staff and what staff can expect from the company in return.

Take your time to think about each of these points. Don’t be satisfied with the first thing that comes into your head. Talk to colleagues in different roles within the business and ask them what their answers would be. This can be particularly enlightening.

All businesses are different. For some, the information being given to new employees will be short and simple. For others it might be more detailed. It’s important that you clarify what information is required and then present it accordingly.

For example, the strategic and business aims of some organisations may be very straightforward. If that’s the case, don’t feel the need to flesh it out with a lot of management-speak. Other businesses might have the opposite challenge – complex strategic and business aims. In this instance, think about how you can refine the overall message so that it’s concise and clear.

Go through each of the bullet points above in this way to find out what you need to include.

2. What should the business gain from the induction process?

Your induction should be a two-way learning process. What does your business need to gain from the induction? Your list might include some of the following:

  • For your staff to be ready to be productive from day one.
  • For staff to be knowledgeable and confident about their new environment.
  • For new staff to be clear about where to go with questions and for direction, so that any newbie challenges are dealt with straight away.
  • To gather evidence of certification, qualifications and training – some of which you might be legally required to retain on file.
  • To ensure that compliance requirements are adhered to, such as health & safety, equality, diversity & inclusion and brand standards.
  • The ability to test inductees on what they’ve learned and revisit information if necessary.

Add any other bullet points that are relevant for your business and then go through them as you did with the previous section.

3. What’s the best method of delivery for your business?

Now that you’re clear on what you want to get out of your inductions and the information that you’ll need to present, you’re halfway to creating a great programme that will get the results you want. The second half is all in the delivery.

This can be the part of your planning that really separates the great induction from the ‘hmmm-okay’ and the ‘actually-I’ve already-forgotten-most-of-it’ induction.

It doesn’t matter how good your induction content is if you don’t deliver it in a way that’s effective.

Are your staff interested? Have you got everyone’s attention?

Avoid a series of lengthy, PowerPoint led presentations. Only a small percentage of the information gets retained in people’s memories and as for the accompanying print outs; they don’t always make much sense and will soon be lost – crumpled up at the bottom of a drawer.

Look at delivering induction information in bite-sized chunks. The information is better absorbed and retained. This style of learning is more easily achieved through online induction systems such as induct.me and there’s the added benefit of inductees being able to fit the learning around other commitments, learning when they’re most receptive.

If you’re still doing inductions face-to-face, think about how you can reduce monotony, break things up and bundle learning into segments.

Can you deliver it when it’s needed?

Inductions that take place after someone’s been in the job a month or more can open the door to a very unpleasant can of worms. Wriggling out at you are such nasties as health & safety breaches and lost customers.

Your induction should be delivered on day one. Or even better – before the new staff member’s first day at work.

Again, online systems have the edge here, as the programme can be delivered to each individual before they start working with you. It’s accessible to everyone, wherever they are and you don’t have to go through the administrative nightmare of getting everybody in one place at one time. And then trying to make alternative arrangements for the one or two who miss that one day.

Can staff revisit the information easily, finding out what they need to know and reinforcing their knowledge?

Whether you’re delivering your induction online or through traditional methods you will need to make sure that all information is available online for reference and reminding. If you’re using an online induction, this can be built into your program. If you’re going for the traditional method, then you should create an online portal within your business intranet for staff to retrieve the information they covered at the induction. Don’t rely on PowerPoint print outs; they’re unlikely to be to hand when the information’s needed.

Is it effective AND cost effective?

This last aspect of programme delivery takes us full circle: back to your initial thoughts on what you want to get out of your inductions. Think about which method – online or traditional – is more effective for your type of business, based on the results that you’re looking for.

When you look at the cost, look at the comparative costs of a traditional v. online induction, but also look at the broader cost implications of the time taken for a member of staff to become most effective and productive.

Whatever your business, your staff get off to a better start if they begin with a really great induction. If your staff are comfortable and confident on day one, armed with the knowledge to give all your customers the best possible experience of your company, then you know you’re doing it right.

Want to do it right, but now quite sure how? Give us a call at induct.me and let’s talk about what you need and how we can make sure you get it.