Conducting a comprehensive induction for new employees is critical for compliance reasons but should also be viewed as an opportunity to connect new employees to the values and culture of the organisation they are joining.
An induction usually includes some kind of welcome, a walk around the workspace, a copy of the employer’s policies and procedures and a review of the emergency exits and muster points in case of an emergency.
Some inductions also include a workplace health and safety briefing, a session on how to use the payroll portal and how to log into various programs. Whilst all of these components of an induction are essential to enable an employee to properly and safely perform their duties, they can be less than inspiring.
Induction should not only be the time to tick those compliance boxes (WHS, policies and procedures etc) but also a time to ignite the fire in new employees and maximise on “buy-in” to the organisation’s vision, values and culture.
Here are some ways to supercharge the induction process to inspire new employees and bring them on board with your organisation’s values, vision and culture.
Bring in the big guns
Conducting an in-person session with a senior leader is a great way for new employees to see how the organisation lives its vision and values.
Building in face-to-face time with the CEO or general manager who can speak to the history of the organisation, its overall vision and how each employee’s contributions help to realise that vision, will work wonders for increasing new employee buy-in. This type of facetime demonstrates that all employees, regardless of their position, are held accountable to the same standards and are worthy of the time of the organisation’s most senior leaders.
The founder of Red Balloon, Naomi Simson, has blogged about her philosophy and process for onboarding new employees. Ms Simson not only conducts a meet and greet with new employees to discuss the history of her organisation and its values, but also takes new employees to lunch during what she describes as the important “dating phase,” which in her view is critical for long term engagement.
Senior leaders involved in induction should be able to speak confidently to new employees about the culture and values of the organisation and clearly articulate the ways in which employees can live those values and embrace the workplace culture.
There should also be a clear understanding amongst senior leaders about the significance of the induction process.
There should be no such thing as “too busy” to attend an induction session with new employees - the induction period is a critical time to capture the imaginations of new employees and inspire dedication.
Check-in and mentor
The induction process shouldn’t end simply because an induction day or session is over. It takes time for a new employee to settle into their position and mentoring from both managers and peers can play a critical role in this.
Mentoring from peers in particular can take the pressure off a new employee when simple questions about the workplace arise and they don’t know who to ask. Appointing a mentor or buddy for a new employee will give that person a place to go if they need to ask questions about who-is-who or where the copier paper is kept.
For managers, the induction process should be viewed as ongoing during the early stages of an employee’s time with the organisation. Managers should regularly check-in with new employees as they settle in. The induction process will usually run concurrently with the employee’s probationary period, the purpose of which is to assess if the employee is right for the role. For this reason, managers should monitor new employees throughout the induction process to ensure that they understand and are able to work in accordance with the organisation’s values and culture.
Shane Koelmeyer is a leading workplace relations lawyer and Director at Workplace Law. Workplace Law is a specialist law firm providing employers with legal advice, training and representation in all aspects of workplace relations, employment-related matters and WH&S.
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Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog.
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