Induction is a vital part of any employee’s journey with a company. Eight out of ten employees who leave their jobs are new to the company, so it’s vital to make the right impression early on. Despite this many businesses make the mistake of leaving the induction process to just one or two people to deliver. Here’s why - and how to make sure your induction is up to scratch.
Induction covers the first few weeks of a new hire’s time; this should be composed of a formal programme which integrates the recruit into the business and trains them in their role. They should, through the process, get to know the values and practices of the company, its people and management structures, and the expectations of the role.
Despite the fact that induction is such a multifaceted process, it often gets left to one person, perhaps the new employee’s manager, or someone in HR. This is far from ideal. Take risk avoidance, to start with. Having invested time and money into finding the right person for the role, what if the person in charge just isn’t very good at induction for whatever reason – perhaps they’re too busy, for example. Or what if there’s just a clash of personalities, which, even with the best will in the world, can sometimes happen?
Then there are practical issues to consider. In any organisation, beyond the very smallest microbusinesses, no one individual knows everything about the company. Involving multiple people in induction boosts knowledge transfer, avoiding gaps in new employee’s knowledge.
There’s also the issue of getting to know people. In part that’s about fostering friendship, but also understanding who’s responsible for what, who they should go to for different questions, and understanding the company hierarchy and dynamic. The more people that are involved, the more straightforward this process is, and the better new recruits will understand the business at all levels (and find people they can relate to).
So including as many people as possible in induction is important. And there are plenty of ways you can go about that without it being excessively onerous for already busy employees. It’s incredibly powerful to involve senior members of the management team in some way – the CEO or COO. Their contribution doesn’t have to be time-consuming though, a quick introduction and hand shake, or even a hand signed card or letter is really effective at making a recruit feel special.
Just as important is to build in interaction with staff who are at the same level as the new hire, perhaps through a buddy scheme or similar. The importance of developing peer groups is well-documented – peer recognition schemes, for example, have been shown to have a hugely positive effect on motivation and engagement. And shared successes have been shown to be felt more deeply, so fostering friendships within the team helps create and entrench engagement and continued loyalty. Again, you can help this along during induction in small but important ways: include a lunch with the whole team in every induction; or drinks after work on the first Friday, etc.
Even better, all these practices support one another. In companies where knowledge sharing and collaboration is high, employee morale and job satisfaction are also high. The different benefits of broadening out your induction, in other words, creates a virtuous circle where the various benefits mutually boost one another.