Induction or orientation to the work place typically involves showing the new employee around, telling them about the organization and showing them where they will be working - if it happens at all.
After selecting the right person, ensuring an appropriate induction is probably the next most important event in maximising results from people - yet it is often left to chance. Even many large organizations only provide induction programs when there are enough new employees to make up a reasonable sized group. This can often be weeks after someone started. Meanwhile their introduction to the workplace depends on how aware and professional their supervisor is.
Ensuring an effective induction program which reduces or removes any legal liabilities and helps the employee start to make an early contribution should involve a comprehensive process which is the responsibility of the recruiting manager.
Many people are unaware of the risk being taken if the new employee is not made aware of certain policies, occupational health and safety procedures and other areas covered by employment legislation. There are plenty of cases where employees have just never been told what their obligations are and the employer takes the rap.
Another reason is to get the new employee up to speed as soon as possible by taking care of all their information and support needs as early as possible. This will help them achieve the "expectations of success" that should have been established prior to recruitment, and give them the best possible chance of passing their probation period. There are many cases of employees leaving within the first few weeks because they felt they had joined the wrong organization.
To overcome this, a comprehensive checklist, which is broken into stages and starts before the first day of employment, should be developed. Spreading the process over an appropriate period aids learning and allows them to receive the information when it is required. This is better than one block of time dedicated to induction.
At the completion of each stage the program should be signed off by the supervisor and employee and then safely filed. The company tour and overall information can still be done as a group if this is more practical but the key issues cannot be left until then.
The pre-employment stage should include such things as ensuring the workplace is ready for the new employee, documentation, dress code advised, medical, employee handbook, parking, and an announcement to other staff.
The next stage should cover day one and start with someone being designated to greet the new person. First impressions really count. More documentation can be provided at this stage and an overview of policies and procedures - especially those with legal ramifications.
Later stages, which may extend up to the first month or two, can involve more information about the organization, more policies, benefits and more job related issues.
Each organization will be different but most people want the same. They want to feel they work somewhere that is professional, where they are welcomed, supported and valued and all the important issues are taken care of.
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Paul Phillips is a Director of Horizon Management Group; a consulting firm which assists businesses manage their people more effectively. More resources, including free downloads, are available at www.horizonmg.com
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