While we put our best foot forward during the recruitment process to win candidates over, it can be a challenge to carry this momentum through to a candidate's first day as a new employee. So here are seven employee induction tips for a more positive experience.
1. Does the start date work for everyone?
Double check that those people critical to a new employee's induction are available on the intended start date. Having a new employee start when the IT department is attending a conference, or when the manager they will be reporting to is on annual leave will leave a sour taste in anyone's mouth. This is why it makes sense to…
2. Have one person responsible for overseeing inductions
This is because there are a lot of elements that need to come together, in the correct order (see below), for a successful induction. Somebody needs to understand the entire induction programme i.e. who is covering what, ensuring that any improvements identified are carried forward to the next induction and, more importantly, be that consistent point of contact for a new employee. Ideally the person responsible for inductions will have a master checklist, as well as a checklist from each of the divisions involved and the people listed on the induction timetable.
3. Welcome packs work wonders
Changing jobs isn't easy and a welcome pack can go a long way to putting new employees at ease while they wait for their start date to come around. It also helps reaffirm that they made the right decision. One thing we include in our welcome pack is practical and light hearted 'inside information' from the team. This includes the best places to park, the team's favourite lunch spots and watering holes, special bank interest rates that the team qualify for and local bus timetables etc. We also include their induction timetable so they know what to expect during their first few days, plus a copy of the seating plan. You may even want to change things up a bit and include a celebratory bottle of bubbles to congratulate them, or include their new business cards. By all means also enclose a copy of the company policy manual and any administration forms, but make sure they are tucked in at the back.
4. Make the new employee part of the team
Satisfy everyone's curiosity and give your team a heads-up well before a new employee starts, and remind them again a couple of days ahead of the start date. Sharing the person's name, start date and role is a given, but you should also try to give the team some insight into who this new person is; their professional background and personal interests. It's also important to include team elements in the induction timetable - such as a prearranged welcome morning tea, or lunch with the new employee's immediate team. Finally, making sure they feel part of the team means ensuring that their work space is fully set-up, security/building access has been arranged, the induction pack is prepared and everything IT has been tested and is working.
5. There is a logical order
Getting the induction timetable in the right order is important. Most businesses have one or two central systems that are pivotal to their operations. Once a new employee has been introduced to the team, the next logical step is often to introduce them to the systems that will likely be referenced as they go through their induction timetable. It's also a good idea to kick-off an induction timetable with the big picture stuff and then ease into the job specifics and detailed training.
6. You can't brush over Health and Safety; well not for much longer
The Health and Safety Reform Bill is going to put more onus and legal requirements on managers and company directors (good governance) to manage risks and keep their workers safe. Part of this responsibility will extend to ensuring that health and safety is on the induction agenda. Practical areas that should be covered, include: where the health and safety manual is stored; who the first aiders are; where the first aid kits are; what to do if the fire alarm sounds; how to report a serious accident or near miss, and making them aware of serious medical conditions among the team etc. The best way to approach this is to ask new employees to complete and sign a checklist confirming that they have understood all the health and safety areas explained. This then needs to be stored in the new employee's personnel file.
7. A one and three month catch-up is a good idea
While most business today have an 'open door' culture it is still a good idea to block out some time in the calendar to focus on how well a new team member is settling in, that they are receiving the support they need and to ensure that the expectations set at the interview stage are on track to being met. We ask new employees to complete a short ten questionnaire to help direct these discussions and set short-term goals, as well as capture any improvements they've identified through their fresh eyes.
Of course there are lots of others things to consider when it comes to planning for a new employee's arrival, but hopefully these seven employee induction tips will help you be better prepared for the next one.