How to induct a new employee

Posted by Julien Dupuche on 02/12/2016

Induction, or orientation, is the process of introducing a new worker to the workplace and your business. Its aim is to assist the worker to settle into the job and become fully productive and committed to the business as soon as reasonably practical.

A well-structured induction program reassures the worker they've made a good decision.

There are also legal reasons why induction is essential. These include:

  • employment documentation, such as confirming contracts and processing tax declarations

  • an obligation to inform workers about their terms and conditions of employment

  • work health and safety issues – the employer has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers and other parties such as customers and visitors to the workplace, which means workers must be aware of their obligations and trained to perform their work safely and with diligence

  • information regarding evacuation procedures including risk management.


What to do

 

Induction goes beyond simply training the worker in how to do the job. It also includes:

  • introducing the worker to the business and type of work

  • confirming terms and conditions of employment and completing the initial paperwork

  • introducing them to work colleagues

  • introducing them to the actual job and specific on-the-job training

  • making it as easy and as pleasant as possible for them to settle in quickly

  • fostering a positive attitude towards the business, so they not only become productive quickly but also develop loyalty and commitment to your business’ values and behaviours, and code of conduct.

Induction should not just be a brief set of tasks on the first morning. It is a process of building productivity, loyalty and commitment. While there are routine initial steps to complete, other aspects involve an ongoing process over several days, weeks and possibly even months. Therefore, everyone involved in the process needs to be prepared and know their roles in the process. 

Checklists are also helpful to ensure all steps in the process are covered and followed through.


What do workers need and want?

 

Surveys of workers suggest their immediate priorities are to:

  • know they are safe and their work environment is as well

  • meet their boss

  • meet their co-workers

  • acquaint themselves with their job

  • receive their first work assignment

  • learn the business rules and procedures – both official and unofficial (i.e. unwritten).

Quick wins can include:

  • Have the worker perform productive work as soon as possible – this will help their confidence and sense of achievement.

  • Don’t commit information overload on the first day. Provide only essential information at first; further information can be gradual.

  • Pay great attention to creating a favourable first impression. Disorganisation, or managers who obviously don’t have enough time, will create a negative first impression, which can be difficult to turn around.

  • Continually reassure the worker, provide feedback, monitor and follow up where and where required.


Induction checklist

 

A checklist should ensure all the following items are completed.


Pre-arrival

 
  • Alert other workers of the new arrival

  • Appoint a work buddy to greet new employee and introduce them to team colleagues

  • Arrange an up-to-date copy of job description

  • Ensure work station is ready, with adequate resources to do the job


Initial 'survival' information

 
  • Conduct a physical tour of workplace

  • Show location of amenities – toilets, meal room, lockers, car park, notice boards, photocopiers/printers, pay office, public transport stops, nearby shops/banks, etc.

  • Highlight safety issues – first aid, first aid officer, emergency exit, security issues etc.

  • Identify location of other work sections
     

Starting work

 
  • Assign a 'buddy' as a contact person for information and problems, and to accompany the employee to lunch, tea breaks, etc.

  • Explain how work equipment, e.g. computers and machines, operates and check the employee is able to use them properly

  • Assign a simple first work task

  • Make sure someone is available to assist if required and check the work
     

End of day 1

 
  • Have a debriefing session. Answer employee’s questions, continue to encourage and reassure them

  • Explain next steps in induction program

  • Ask employee for comments/feedback for day 1 and beyond as the induction rolls out

A good approach is to have a standard format that allows generic information to remain constant, and gaps where specific information for each worker's details can be added.

 

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Source: Business Propel by Larry Forsyth
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