Empoyee Induction Training
"The importance of induction training can not be underestimated, as it marks the beginning of the relationship between employer and employee. It is of fundamental importance in setting standards and patterns of behaviour for the future"...
States our training consultant Maria Merrick, previously Head of Learning & Development at Bodyshop International, who gives some useful advice in her article on Induction Training
Effective inductions need to have at least the three following objectives:
- Help employees settle in to their new environment
- Help employees understand their responsibilities
- Ensure that the organisation receives the benefit of a well-trained and motivated employee as quickly as possible
Inductions should develop the skills, knowledge and behaviour that an organisation needs. These requirements need to be defined beforehand in order to ensure an effective programme. Best practice programmes focus primarily on the employee and allow the new employee a say in their own development, taking into account the particular needs and learning styles of individuals. The idea is that flexible, employee centred programmes reduce the stress often associated with starting a new job.
Although personalised programmes require more thought and effort, they are by far the best way of bringing an individual into an organisation. The best way of learning is by having fun, so most importantly; induction programmes should be fun.
Obviously key people and functions need to be involved to ensure the success of any induction training:
Roles and Responsibilities
- Line managers - have primary responsibility for inducting members of their team. They are in the best position to identify induction-training needs, assess learning styles and monitor, support and encourage the progress of a new employee.
- The HR/Training function - is there to advise line managers, manage and co-ordinate group events and oversee the delivery of the overall induction programme.
- Senior managers - can contribute to induction programmes by explaining the vision and purpose of the organisation. Their involvement can help motivate employees and make them feel important.
- Specialists - such as health and safety representatives are vital in explaining particular aspects of the organisation. Their involvement adds a face to a policy and can encourage enthusiasm for procedures.
- A nominated "buddy" - can help new employees settle in by introducing them to colleagues and the social side of the organisation.
Many best practice organisations have started to utilise the time between the appointment of an employee and the start date of their new job. New recruits now receive pre-employment information packs including staff handbooks and sometimes a list of recommended reading. They must all be user friendly and jargon free in order to help employees understand the organisation. An outline of the initial programme can allay pre-employment nerves, as can pre-employment visits.
Induction training can be divided into primary and main;
This addresses employee's immediate needs and priorities, so health and safety, facilities and conveniences should always be explained immediately. It is also important to ensure employees understand any contractual relationships they are entering into.
The main induction focuses on the organisation and the job. Regarding the organisation, new employees should be given a structured view of the organisation by receiving mission statements, structure charts and business plans. They need to know how they fit into an organisation, so meetings with appropriate people and accountability charts are vital. Inductees must also be familiarised with the culture of an organisation and also need to understand any relevant rules. By communicating clearly published policies and meeting with a variety of staff to discuss formal and informal issues, these needs can be addressed.
It is crucial that the new employee has the particulars of their job explained, preferably by using a well-written job description. At this point, standards of performance should be set and targets agreed. The line manager needs to identify any training that may be required.
The success of the induction training will largely depend on the ability of the person responsible for the design, co-ordination and delivery of the training. Many organisations provide training on induction delivery, which includes an emphasis on the importance of good induction and can highlight the range of different training methods available. Some of these organisations include induction in their general management skills training and run presentation skills courses for others involved in induction training. Involvement with induction training is sometimes viewed as a means of developing existing staff.
As with any training, reviews of the induction training between the line manager and the inductee should be an integral part of the programme. The aim of the reviews should be to;
- consolidate learning
- encourage employees
- assess problem areas
- develop targets
- gain information for evaluation
Induction should be evaluated on two levels: the inductee and the organisation. The learning of the inductee needs to be measured against the original induction objectives and the effects of the induction training on the organisation need to be established. Precision of measurement is difficult, although induction should be taken into account when considering staff retention, attendance, equal opportunities, health and safety and customer care.
As with all procedures, induction programmes need to evolve alongside the development of the organisation, the needs of the employees and the emergence of newer, more effective learning resources. Imagination and innovation are crucial for designing successful induction programmes, as is the ability to be proactive and forward thinking. Investing time and money initially in induction training will pay huge dividends in the long run.
To discuss how we can work with you to ensure your employees receive the most effective induction into your organisation, contact us today on;