As I mentioned we have been hiring recently and one of our new people is starting on Monday – which prompted me to think about the issues of, and the importance of, employee induction.

Of course it’s important – and everybody knows that – don’t they?   But how well thought out are most inductions, do you think? 

Would it surprise you to know that the majority of induction plans fall short of best practice?   They go from the terrible – here’s your desk and your phone – to the incomplete.  Most miss a big opportunity.

So – what is the biggest opportunity with an induction plan?

Well – remember back to your first day at a new job?  You were excited, and also nervous – a little unsure of what lay ahead?   How did you feel by the end of the first day?  Still excited and buzzing?  Can’t wait to get home and tell everyone about it?  Or did you feel a little deflated – like you weren’t sure what you were supposed to do, and weren’t sure what exactly your plan for the next day was?

I know in the “busyness” of running an SME, sometimes it is hard to find the time to do all the stuff that needs to be done – let alone all the additional stuff, like induction plans.  However, it really is a critical and massive opportunity for you to avoid lots of problems down the road.

Apart from the normal – health and safety, reporting, lunch times, introductions, and a tour, there is the opportunity to instantly engage with the hearts and minds of your new people/person.  The induction should cover their training plan, and the expectations of the role.  People like to know where they stand and your covering this will give them security.  Many make the mistake of thinking – ‘well I don’t want to scare them on day one we can go through that later’.  Let me assure you, an absence of clear communication is going to scare them more, and may also lead to a mismatch in expectations on both sides which can cause big problems down the line.

In inductions there is typically and naturally, a lot of information going AT the employee.  That is quite as it should be.  However, it is also an ideal opportunity to get information FROM the employee.  Why did they take the job, what are they hoping for from the job and from their career with you, what are they nervous or excited about (ie where can you help them and where can you direct their efforts which they will find most rewarding)?

Also – top tip – the first day is the day they should (if they have not already had it in the post) receive their employment contract and all related documentation – next of kin, employee handbooks, disciplinary and grievance procedures, benefits documents, social information, and you should sit down and go through it with them. 

Along with everything that you give out on day one – you need one piece of paper back from them – which is a list of all the documents you have given out.  With their dated signature on it.  This is your proof (should you ever need it) that – even if they have never signed and returned their contract, they HAVE had it – which is your legal responsibility to give, in the first 3 months of service.

Also – their enthusiasm for the job is never going to be higher than on the first day.  I have always found going through new starters contract of employment with them on day one and allowing them to ask any questions, leads to less issues down the line. 

So there you go, how to treat a new recruit. There is a lot more to induction plans and how you put one together – and if you need some help with that – let me know.

For now – I’m off to finish Andrews!

Carole Fossey