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Staff Induction / Onboarding

November 16, 2021

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If you want a good candidate to become a great employee, then a staff induction process must be a priority; it is the nexus between your staff selection process and staff retention program

What is Induction or Onboarding?

Staff induction, or onboarding, is an extension of the recruitment and selection process. Do not just hire someone and hope that it works out. No matter how effective your recruitment process is, there is still a chance that you have made a poor hiring decision, or the new employee isn’t what you thought they were going to be. Thus, the first few weeks of a new employee’s tenure can be a time to confirm what was learned through the selection process and if any unexpected behaviours emerge, they can be addressed early, especially in the context of the organisation’s Code of Conduct and your own “Vision, Values & Behaviours” document.

Induction is the process that helps a new employee go from being a stranger to a successful new team member and having them gain a sense of belonging as quickly as possible. It is the initial process of orienting new employees and training them to become contributing members of the team. In addition to equipping new hires with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their new roles, onboarding should also help new employees become fully engaged and culturally acclimated. This means fostering the relationship with your new hires and proving your dedication to investing in their professional growth.

The induction process is an opportunity to reinforce the type of workplace culture you want and what the minimum, non-negotiable, expected standards of behaviours are by clarifying the organisation’s Code of Conduct or a “Vision, Values & Behaviours” statement.

The faster that new hires feel welcome and prepared for their new jobs, the sooner they’ll become productive employees. Onboarding is easily one of the biggest factors that impacts employee retention, so it is essential that it be done correctly.

Why is Effective Staff Induction Important?

Effective onboarding significantly reduces recruitment failure rates and increases employee engagement and retention.

It takes time for new employees to become fully integrated, productive, and able to work autonomously. Research has shown that being systematic in onboarding brings new employees up to speed 50% faster, which means they are more quickly and efficiently able to contribute to achieving desired goals. Employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay for three or more years.

New employees, even if they are experienced professionals, are unfamiliar with the business, do not understand how things really work, lack established relationships, and must adapt to a new culture; with these latter two reasons being the main reasons for high staff turnover.

New employees must learn a lot and may be feeling quite vulnerable, even when they seem outwardly confident. That is even more likely to be the case when people have relocated for their jobs and perhaps have made significant changes in their personal lives, or if they are moving up a seniority level and must adjust to a new managerial role.

This also applies to employees making internal moves. They can face challenges that are as tough or tougher. This is especially the case when they are coming from different units, have been shaped by different cultures or are moving from different geographies.

While it is possible that new hires will work independently, it is more likely they will be part of a team (or teams). The sooner they build effective working relationships with their peers, the better. The faster a new employee learns about the organisation and their role, the more they will be able to accomplish in the critical first months.

It is hard to overestimate the impact of effective onboarding and induction of new employees. Even if your new employee seems like a self-starting superstar, still think of this step as an investment in your resources. Research shows employees stick around longer at companies with structured onboarding programs. Thus, a small initial investment of time and effort in connecting the new employee with the team will pay long-term productivity and performance dividends.

How to Effectively Induct a New Employee

Staff induction needs to be planned and consideration given to who does what and when.

Try and see the induction process through the eyes of your new employee and what messages are you sending about the organisation. Think about the “gossip test” – what do you want the new employee to say to their friends and family about their first day and/or first week?

The induction process needs to be standardised and prescriptive, to a point. However, there is always room for flexibility. If a standardised process is adopted then you can review and look back at things that worked well and areas that need improving.

The actual process of induction starts at the recruitment phase whereby you are already telling the candidates about the culture of the organisation, your expectations of them and the minimum non-negotiable standards of behaviour. However, the actual process starts in the pre-employment stage whereby the new employee is contacted by their future direct line manager.

The process then goes through a series of steps that includes planning for the practical or physical requirements of the role to the more psychological and social aspects of the induction. It is preferable if the most senior manager can be available for the first meeting.  If that is not possible, then it is imperative that the new employee’s direct line manager does the necessary introductions and an “entry interview”. A time then needs to be made for the most senior manager to meet the new employee as soon as possible and reinforce the organisation’s vision, values, and behaviours. However, the preferred approach is for the most senior manager to be present when the new employee arrives for their first day.

If the line manager is unavailable, then postpone the employee’s first day until the manager is available. This is especially important and no short-cuts should be taken. The new employee must spend time with their direct line manager on the first day.

The “entry interview” is followed by a team meeting and then the implementation of their learning and training plan. The new staff member’s performance needs to be more closely monitored during the induction and transition period through regular catch ups that become less frequent with time. This will vary depending on the role, the nature of the team and the new employee. However, this is an integral part of a seamless transition to your Employee Retention Program.

Need Help Designing a Plan?

If you are looking to improve your staff induction process, get in touch with us as at Fermion to arrange a personal presentation at your office, or via videoconferencing, please contact Christopher Apps at Fermion on 02-42853480 or 0401 752 602 or chris@fermion.com.au.

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