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How to run an employee induction

The purpose of an employee induction process is to quickly integrate a new starter into your business so they can hit the ground running

In this article you will learn:

Every company has its own values, culture and practices and starting at a new place can be intimidating for a new hire facing an unfamiliar environment. That’s why a company induction is so vital.

The purpose of induction

The purpose of an induction process is to fast track the process of familiarisation, enabling the new starter to be more productive, better integrated and happier in the workplace.

The induction can last any length of time, from hours to weeks, and the new hire can be asked to do all kinds of things – from shadowing their new line manager to going out for drinks and dinner with the rest of the team.

Read our step-by-step guide to setting up a new employee.

There’s no legal requirement to run an induction – but it makes solid business sense. Ally Maughan, who works closely with small businesses as a HR consultant with People Puzzles, told us that, in her experience “many firms which don’t bother to do inductions run the risk of people not fitting in and leaving – so you either waste money on agency fees, or waste your own time.”

The induction training advantages (and benefits)

As mentioned above, a good employee induction process can prevent wasted time and resources, but what are the benefits?

  • Better integrated staff – offices can be inherently cliquey environments meaning it can be difficult for a new starter to know how they fit into the social circle. An induction breaks the ice and doesn’t put the onus on the new person to approach others. This creates a more pleasant workplace environment and encourages people to help each other and collaborate.
  • Increased staff retention – high staff turnaround is bad for productivity and bad for morale. A benefit of better integrated staff is that they’re more likely to stick around for the long haul.
  • Better employee engagement – if you explain your company’s objectives and the expectations you have of your staff from the outset you ensure they are committed to working towards the same goals and are in line with your values.
  • A more productive workforce – staff that feel comfortable with each other work better together. They are more likely to ask questions, offer feedback and seek help. This facilitates a free flow of ideas and quicker resolution of potential issues.

Assess your induction requirements

To assess your induction requirements, you need to know what you hope to get out of your employee induction process.

Your induction should be tailored for different hires. A manager induction programme should probably be different from an induction programme for sales managers for example or if you’re taking on an intern. Different levels of experience require a different approach.

Considerations:

  • Who should lead the induction?
  • How long should it last?
  • What do they need to know?

Once you’ve done an induction evaluation you can measure the effectiveness of your induction process and determine the steps needed to make a good induction programme.

Ahead of the induction, collect an employee’s vital information such as their National Insurance number, P45 form and proof of address, as well as any other relevant documentation so you can hit the ground running on the day.

Hiring an apprentice? Find out how to take on an apprentice here.

Employee induction checklist

To help you achieve a successful employee induction, we’ve compiled an induction checklist of the key points you want to focus on with your new employee:

    Documentation – if they have any remaining information to pass on or documents to sign then you should get this out of the way first thing
    Office tour – show them everything from the kitchen to the toilet facilities and any breakout spaces or meeting rooms
    Introduction to their team – they don’t need to remember everyone’s name and role but it’s a good first step in breaking the ice
    History of the company and its vision – as mentioned before, a quick summary of the company and its objectives will ensure they are on board with the company’s MO
    Informal meeting with their manager – this could be you; but a casual meeting with the person they will be reporting to gives them a chance to get acquainted with each other
    Roles and responsibilities – an explanation of what tasks and actions are likely to make up their day-to-day will help ease the new starter into their new working life
    Office work times and holiday bookings – when does the office open and close; when is their official start and finish time; what is the system for holiday bookings and how much notice do they have to give
    Desk set up
    show them where they will be sitting and what equipment they will be using. Get them set up with the printer and sign up to any relevant workplace platforms or apps
    Health and safety (hse) procedures – hse induction for new employees is vital whatever type of environment you work in. Ensure they have adequate instruction and information in potential hazards and emergency procedures such as fire protocol and first aid. This will prevent injury and a lawsuit. But do keep this proportional to the level of risk they will actually face – don’t be patronising
REMEMBER: Ask the new employee questions about themselves. It’s a great way to make them feel relaxed and get to know them.

It’s also important to…

Make your employee induction fun

An induction based solely on health and safety and workplace processes is not going to be the most exciting or promising introduction to your company.

Keep them engaged and relaxed by making it fun.

Simon Brownbill, partner at national accountancy firm HURST, told us that at his company: “Each new team member is formerly introduced to their new colleagues at the team brief, where they are asked to share an interesting fact. We’ve unearthed all sorts of hidden gems, from fluent Japanese speakers to tenuous celebrity links. All new starters are required to write a tongue-in-cheek staff profile on the intranet too.”

After work drinks are a great way to use alcohol’s benefits as a social lubricant to break down any barriers and unwind. Just don’t take them too far…

This can have the opposite effect, as Iain McMath, managing director of Sodexo Motivation Solutions, can testify: “I know a company that supplies beer on Fridays. Once, it was the first week of an induction for a particular person, and this wasn’t put into context. The new starter decided that he would help himself and had a bit too much to drink. He was in telesales, and clearly, the link between the alcohol intake and his output was inversely proportional!”

Make the induction challenging

Running a staff induction isn’t all about giving speeches – you also have to provide active challenges which engage the inductee.

According to Ally Maughan: “You should get people doing things as early as possible, even if it’s something like proofreading. Doing some actual work on your first day is important, work that’s relevant to your job description. My view is, in the first three months, a new starter should have done everything on their job description.”

Introduce an employee induction buddy

After the initial induction process is completed, a buddy system is a great way to make sure they have someone they can go to for ongoing help and support.

When it’s left up to everyone to interact with the new hire, you run the risk of nobody speaking to them. Everyone thinks it’s somebody else’s responsibility.

This can make them feel isolated and uncertain of who they can ask questions to whereas buddies can:

  • Help the new employee socialise
  • Introduce them to their responsibilities
  • Guide them through unfamiliar processes, tasks or unfamiliar equipment
  • Share local knowledge – where are the best places to go for lunch? Where’s the nearest café, pub, restaurant, gym, or tube?

Seek employee feedback

The best way to improve and refine your employee induction process is to seek feedback from the people that have been through it.

You should ask:

  • What one thing have you subsequently discovered that you wish you’d known at the start?
  • What did you think went well about the employee induction process?
  • What could be improved about the employee induction process?

A bad induction day

A poorly thought out induction process can be hugely detrimental to a new employee’s ongoing happiness and success at the company. Here’s what to avoid:

  • Throwing them in at the deep end – putting them straight to work as soon as they arrive without proper guidance will leave them feeling overwhelmed and doubting their suitability for the role
  • Information overload – they don’t need to learn everything on the first day. Cover the essentials but don’t try and explain so much that they can’t possibly take it in
  • Being too casual – be relaxed and friendly, sure, but also don’t give the new hire a false impression of what the company is like on a day-to-day basis
  • Thumb twiddling – make sure you give them some task to do on the first day so they don’t feel bored and redundant
REMEMBER: your employees are the best advocates for your company. If a new recruit has a bad experience they might damage the reputation of your company.

As your employee count begins to grow, you could create a handbook that details all the policies, disciplinary procedures, health and safety information, and any other rules and regulations your staff need to abide by. Read our guide to creating staff handbooks here.

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