Inducting new staff into your organisation is a vital process to get right as this will be their first impression of your organisation. A well-executed induction can help make new recruits feel welcome and supported and is proven to help retain staff.
This week’s column will explore some of the key steps to consider for your induction programme.
Why is onboarding important?
Onboarding new staff is so important as it helps new team members:
- Understand the role of their job.
- Find out about the culture of your organisation.
- Learn about the values and vision of the company.
- Read and understand policies and procedures.
- Gain the insight and tools needed to do their job.
And on the flip side, it helps you to meet the statutory duty set by the regulator.
We have all been a newbie and know how daunting it can be. I've had some great inductions but also some not-so-great ones. A well-structured induction ensures that staff feel reassured, relaxed, and part of the team and allows them to build relationships with their colleagues informally.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Being prepared is key. Imagine turning up on your first day and the company's not expecting you and doesn't have anything ready. What kind of impression does that give?
Make sure that you have any paperwork printed out, equipment and log-ins ready to go, any of your staff who will be buddies informed and eager and any training materials in place and tested.
A great way to prepare is to create an induction schedule containing training dates, people to meet and documentation to be read or signed. You could even go a step further and include times and durations of breaks to help guide the inductee.
Make new recruits feel welcome
The time has come, and the new member of staff has turned up for their first day with your organisation. The first thing you need to do is to ensure that they feel welcomed. Here are my top tips:
- Open that front door with a smile and warm welcome.
- Offer them a drink.
- Give them a tour of the organisation, introducing them to their colleagues and any people they will be supporting as you walk around.
- If they'll be working remotely, set up meetings with other colleagues over Teams or Zoom.
- Go somewhere quiet and run through the job role again, using their job description. This will allow them to ask any questions they have.
- Go through the induction schedule you have prepared in advance. Support them to make their way through this and regularly check in for reassurance and feedback.
- Involve new inductees in breaks and lunchtime - and remember to keep offering them a drink!
Gather feedback to improve your processes
We only improve from learning and a great induction is not only a chance for new recruits to learn but for us to learn how we can improve our processes in the future.
At the end of each day ask your new member of staff how their day has gone, if they have any questions and if they have any feedback. Doing this every day helps you understand if you have got the induction schedule correct and if it is fit for purpose. I would personally devise a feedback form to use at the end of the induction period, which is aimed at seeking constructive feedback, recording development and training needs and future aspirations.
Alongside the feedback from the inductee, you should also gather regular feedback from your existing staff and the people you support about how they found the new member of staff. You can utilise this feedback to deliver positive praise or constructive feedback and embed it further into their induction plan.
Be sure to record any interactions or meetings for their induction pack as this is your evidence of onboarding someone should you later need it.
Most people think of induction as the first week or two, but I always think of it as the entire probation period. Ensure you check in regularly, ask how they are finding the role, if there have any training or support needs or have any constructive feedback. Remember communication is key!