Inductions: How to offer your new starter the perfect start
17th March 2020
Interview passed with flying colours, job offer made and accepted, big first day at the office pencilled into the calendar – so how do you make sure that your new starter beds in successfully?
Inductions are the best way to give a new employee a thorough overview of their role within your business, how they should conduct their responsibilities, and how that will complement the roles of their colleagues to achieve your overall business goals.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), “An employee’s first impressions of an organisation have a significant impact on their integration within the team and their level of job satisfaction”.
An induction is the chance for a new starter to become familiar with the business culture and the people they will work with, so getting it right is important. However, planning the induction can be difficult and will require some logistical gymnastics, as well as an awareness of your legal obligations…
Sending out a welcome pack after the job offer has been accepted is a great first step to ensuring that the candidate feels prepared before their first day.
This is also the right time to get any contractual bits out of the way – conditions of employment, a contract of employment for the starter to keep, and new starter forms to be filled in for their first day.
Welcome packs aren’t necessary for most, and some companies (usually creative agencies) send out elaborate packages to their new starters which include branded materials, but you don’t need to stretch to do the same.
It doesn’t have to be complicated; a personalised welcome letter with instructions on how to get to the office, a brief overview of the company’s history and a good luck note is enough to make a new starter feel welcome and appreciated.
Small gestures can make a big difference, too. Having everyone sign a welcome card for the new team member, or going out for lunch together in their first week might help them to feel more comfortable, especially as they get to know their colleagues better.
The first day of an induction should introduce new starters to the company, the industry and the different areas of the business which intersect with their own roles. It goes without saying that an induction should include introductions – help your new starter to bed in by introducing them to each of their immediate team members.
The induction should make clear in specific detail the responsibilities of the new employee in their role, with an overview of where they fit into the business.
There are also some important legal obligations for businesses. These include informing your employees of the relevant policies (Health and Safety, Standards of Conduct and Data Protection, for example) before they begin to carry out their responsibilities.
This is the time to outline the procedures in place for sickness and leave, as well as the length of any probation period. Be sure to go over benefits, annual leave entitlement, your company wellbeing strategy, and so on.
A tour of the building is always useful, from a health and safety point of view as much as anything, and it will help to make introductions easier.
Other policies – building security, car parking, first aid point and fire assembly point – should also be covered off. The process can be laborious, but it gives your new starter the best possible overview of the important and pertinent information they need.
Let them know the processes in place for raising grievances and disciplinaries, as well as any further requirements and obligations as dictated by your industry.
Any training which is essential to the new starter’s role should be scheduled to take place in the first few days and weeks, to ensure that they can get on with their tasks.
If there is further training available which would be beneficial to them in the role, you should discuss with them to see if they are interested and talk about the timescales over which that training could be carried out.
Spreading training out over the space of a few weeks (or months, if necessary), can help to benchmark the employee’s progress in their new role, and will help them to gradually become more comfortable
The induction process is also a good opportunity for your new hire to get to grips with your company’s brand guidelines, particularly if they will be communicating with external parties or partners. This paves the way for your new starter to deliver a cohesive and consistent brand experience right off the bat.
Finally, having all the above information collated and in one location, whether physical or digital, will help for referencing when new employees need to double-check something.
Tailor your starter package
Think about how frequently things change at your business. Policies, practices, and people change as time goes on, so keep revisiting the information you deliver and update it where and when necessary.
If necessary, think about what changes may need to be made to tailor inductions towards more specific groups of employees, such as apprentices or graduates.
Looking to the successful practices of other companies can be a good way to draw inspiration when it comes to improving your own induction procedures.
Increasingly, companies are turning to online Learning Management Systems to help manage staff training – and this is being extended to new starters to begin the onboarding process to help them get up to speed before they join the company.
In summary, there are plenty of ways to make your induction processes as useful as possible. Maybe most importantly, inductions offer the opportunity to really build employee engagement from day one. Engaged and happy workers are more productive, and that’s better for business and better for them.