Once the recruitment process has completed with your chosen candidate accepting your job offer and agreeing their starting date, this should not signal the end of your plans for the new recruit.
To give the new employee the best opportunity to flourish you should set up an induction process.
But what is an induction, or onboarding, process, and what should you do to help your new staff members settle in quickly? We asked Peter Done, Managing Director of employment specialists, Peninsula Business Services to explain.
Induction, or onboarding, is the process where a new hire is introduced and integrated in to the business, being trained and supported in the company’s culture, services and customer base to lead to an effective employment relationship.
Why is induction important for both employees and employers?
Inductions are equally important for the employer and the employee. They provide the employee with the opportunity to scrutinise the business from their first day.
Their first impression of the organisation, from how they are treated to how the company treats their customers, will stay with the employee throughout their time with the company. Having a bad first impression could result in the employee deciding the business is not the right fit for them and may lead to them leaving earlier than expected, or even immediately.
On the other hand, an induction process is vital for the employer as it provides a short period of time within which the employee is fully introduced to all aspects of the business and receives proper training.
This allows them to start working productively and efficiently from an earlier point than if they were left to discover things for themselves. This makes it vital for an induction to be structured and thought out before the employee arrives.
What should be covered in an induction?
The length of the induction process will depend on the role carried out by the individual. It will normally start on the first day of employment, with a full introduction to the company and the services offered by the company.
Other points that can be covered off early in the induction process include an introduction to the department or team the employee will work in, the values of the business, the culture of the business, and the short-term and long-term aims of the business.
Training should also be covered during the induction, whether this is training on how to carry out the role or training on company rules and procedures. This can take place on a one-to-one basis or along with other employees who are also undertaking their induction at the same time.
It is a good strategy to plan training so that it builds on itself week by week, allowing the employee time to absorb and understand the previous training before carrying out more. Some form of assessment or review can also be used to test how useful the induction training is.
Having an induction plan
It is best practice to organise the employee’s induction before they start and create a plan outlining the dates or estimated periods certain activities will take place.
The plan can be provided to the employee on their first day to evidence the company’s investment in their employment, and to allow the employee time to prepare for their induction activities.
It will be best practice to arrange a meeting between the employee and their line manager to talk through the induction plan and what this entails, to avoid any risk of the employee becoming overwhelmed.
Alongside a plan, an induction checklist is also a good document to have. This can be kept by the employee, or their line manager, and activities can be checked off as the employee completes them.
It will be useful to have health and safety and administrative points contained in this checklist to act as a reminder to complete these, or to provide evidence that the employee has been taken through these.
For example, it is easy to forget to provide the employee with an entry card or to show them where the accident book is when there is a large amount of other information to get through. Having these on the checklist will ensure these are covered and not forgotten.
The induction plan may need to be amended, lengthened or shortened depending on the new employee.
For example, an employee who is starting their first job since leaving education is likely to need more training on office skills than an employee who has previous experience in an office. This should also be considered where the employee has previously had a career break, a career change or are disabled.
The employee and their line manager should meet periodically during the induction to go through the induction plan and the checklist, checking that all plans have been carried out. This will allow any missed plans to be rearranged and for the employee to provide feedback on their induction to the business.
Using an induction buddy
Many employers will allocate a new starter a ‘buddy’ for their induction. Whilst losing a small amount of time from the experienced employee’s day to day role, having a buddy will ensure the new starter is not left isolated in the business.
A ‘buddying’ system encourages better networking, greater communication and a quicker resolution of issues as the new employee has an informal point of contact to ask any queries or raise any concerns as these occur.
The buddy can also be allocated to sit with the employee during break periods or to encourage the new starter to attend social events, such as the end of the month work drinks, as they are more likely to engage in activities when they know a friendly face.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Peter Done, Managing Director of Peninsula Business Services – the UK’s leading specialist Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety service. Other employment guides Peter has written for ByteStart include;
- Managing staff sickness absence – A Guide for small businesses
- A small business guide to carrying out effective staff appraisals
- Restrictive covenants and contracts of employment – Advice for employers
- What is workplace diversity, why is it important, and what are the benefits to businesses?
- What you need to know about fixed term employment contracts
- A practical guide to flexible working rights for small businesses
More help on being a good employer
ByteStart is packed with guidance on a wide range of staff-related issues. For more help try some of our other guides;
- A Guide to Employment Contracts for small businesses
- What is employers liability insurance, and is my business legally required to have cover?
- A Guide to the National Living Wage for small business owners
- How to prepare for and handle an employee grievance
- Health & Safety compliance for small businesses – where do you start?
- How to design an effective incentive scheme for your small business
- Using staff benefits to motivate and retain employees
- 5 ways to motivate your staff without spending a fortune
- How to increase productivity and positivity with an employee engagement scheme
- How businesses can encourage a healthy work/life balance and benefit from more engaged and productive employees