The importance of inductions Show don't tell

Main Image

There’s three reasons why a good induction is important.

Firstly it sets the expectations of how things will be moving forward.  Ducks imprint on the first thing they see. New employees do the same.  Values aren’t told, they are shown and at no point during the employee lifecycle are they shown more than in the first few weeks.

Employees who arrive at work and don’t have security cards set up, a working computer or stationary are shown that the organisation values bureaucracy over efficiency.

Employees who don’t get to meet their manager properly or spend any time going over objectives are shown that the business is hierarchical.

If there is no organised way for them to meet their new colleagues they re shown it is an unfriendly organisation that doesn’t value social connections.

And if they are told that everyone is too busy for the above then they are shown that the organisation is disorganised, top heavy, micromanaged and doesn’t value new employees

But a well run induction, starting even before the new employee starts, shows organisation, demonstrates calmness, efficiency and effectiveness and sets the right tone and expectations from day one.

Effective inductions can be as simple as having everything ready, all systems and logins working and tested (harder than it sounds), meetings with colleagues and managers pre-set (with an agenda), nobody appearing stressed or disorganised and all documentation ready to complete.  An effective plan for the first few days also helps immensely.

Secondly the right pace is set. Not only does this build on point one (a slow start shows the new employee that the organisation tolerates mediocre effort), but it also helps the organisation get a return on their investment quicker. We have placed candidates in organisations, major internationals and top 4 banks, where they haven’t had security access or even a computer for 6 weeks! The assumption is that the employee fills a position that in some way adds to the profitability of the organisation. Delaying them getting started in their role due to bureaucracy means that they’re just a cost to the company for this period. If they aren’t effective for a month that’s a month of wasted salary PLUS the ongoing damage done by the attitude you have imprinted on your new employee.

Thirdly research shows that an effective induction, combined with a transparent recruitment process and consistent values is key to employee attachment.  Employee attachment isformed within the first three to six months of employment and is a major factor in longevity of employment.  Follow us on LinkedIn to get access to our video interview with Sork HC, the leaders in employee attachment research.

An effective induction is key to this attachment and investment here will likely lead to higher staff tenure, lower staff turnover, less need to hire new people and (in a reverse catch 22 situation) less inductions.


So what makes an effective induction?

Firstly look at your values.  Are they real values?  If the company ones are just empty platitudes then what are your values?  As a business owner?  As a team leader?  As a HR professional?  Then make sure that these values are shown throughout the induction.

Here’s a test for you.  Think through your induction in light of your values.  Don’t mention the values by name and 4 weeks in ask your new employee what values they feel were demonstrated.  See if they match.  If not, revise for the next person.

Secondly think of induction as a holistic part of a complete lifecycle.  Induction starts in the recruitment process, ramps up about 2 weeks before they start, D-Day is the first day and then on for the first 3 months.  Have a plan for at least the first 3 months.  Keep it pretty intense for the first 2 weeks then tail off over time.  Book in follow ups, take on board feedback and revise constantly.

Thirdly nearly is not good enough.  Have EVERYTHING ready on the fist day. If you settle for 99% then you are showing your new employee that 99% is OK.  It’s a lot harder than it sounds – all the pens, passwords, hardware, meetings, contracts, etc – but there are a lot of vendors involved here.  You need to scream, shout and bully to get this done. But get it done you must.  And you must appear cool calm and collected as if it was easy.

Overall, remember that with inductions what you show your new employee is infinitely more important than what you tell them.

What has been your experience of inducting new starters into your business? We’d love to hear from you.

If you've enjoyed the read, you're a recruiter of HR professional and my blog has sparked your interest in working for a company that does really good inductions, check out our current opportunities here 

Or subscribe to our blog to see what else we have to say on the matter. 

Or find out what it would be like to work for The Recruitment Company here