By Olivia O’Neill, Director at the Godfrey Group
Employee induction programs are essential to any organisation, whatever you may think. When you’ve spent time and money on the recruitment process, you might be of the view that your new employee should already know everything about your business. You might feel that you’ve spent enough time with them already, so why do you have to spend even more time when they start?
The main purpose of an induction is to integrate your new hires into the company and show them the systems, procedures, culture, values and the organisation itself. It also helps them ease into a new environment at a time when many new employees will make a call in those early days on whether to stay or leave.
If you think that your new member of staff is ready to be thrown in at the deep end on day one and be expected to swim, then your expectations could be a tad unrealistic! Let’s look at the importance and value of induction training to your business.
Benefits of employee inductions to the company
1. Saves money and reduces turnover.
Structured induction programs are an essential and natural extension of a recruitment process. They are key to ensuring the candidate’s success, ensuring that he or she adapts quickly and easily to their new role. You want to get your ROI, right? Someone leaving within a six-month period is not a great commercial outcome and no good for your company culture, morale or productivity.
While you’re obviously keen to get through the backlog as soon as possible and the new staff member did say that they were okay with hitting the ground running, they actually need time to settle in to your organisation’s particular culture. They also need to understand their own role in the business – they need to become familiar with ‘how‘ and ‘why’ you do the things you do, and feel that their questions about the organisation are being answered.
2. Ensures efficiency and reduces risk.
Your new employees need to be across any legislative and compliance requirements related to your business, plus the processes and procedures when it comes to “how” you do business. They need to understand the culture, vision, mission and goals. For your employees to operate efficiently and get involved in their job, they need to be educated on your company policies. This includes knowing what their requirements and responsibilities as an employee are – it’s best if they actually sign off on those policies so that you can be sure they understand, and this is a good risk management practice for potential confusion down the track. The bottom line is that you can’t assume that just because they know where the company manual is on your intranet, they will have actually read and understood it.
3. Results in a smooth transition.
With the right induction, you can be clear about your corporate expectations and ensure that the new hire doesn’t pick up a second-hand distorted view. A good induction program doesn’t have to be huge or extensive, but it should be structured – and therefore easily rolled out to each new employee.
In my view, the induction adds to the employee’s initial experience with your business – it demonstrates that they are supported, cared for and that you are committed to their success. From a practical perspective, it ensures that the transition into your business is smooth, measured and relaxed.
Seeing the value in inductions
Companies that don’t put in place some form of induction training often risk employees feeling like they are drowning. They might also feel as if they are wasting time trying to find out about the processes, systems and protocols that everyone else seems to know about, and are afraid to ask others (everyone seems so busy, which leaves them feeling incompetent and overwhelmed). New employees should instead be focused on tasks with a stronger commercial outcome.
So, rather than see inductions as a waste of time, view a good induction program as a way to help people become productive faster. A good program should include system training and if the main system you use is complex, then formal training should be scheduled.
A good induction program doesn’t have to be a long process but if the job is complicated, perhaps consider running it over a period of time to prevent information overload for the employee.
Whatever you choose to do, and whether formal or informal, the point is that you need to do it – inductions are important for your employees and essential for the health of your business.