A new workplace can be daunting for people, but it doesn’t have to be a scary process. The right initial processes can help new hires feel welcomed and ready to take on their role. It is also an excellent opportunity for employers to make a good first impression.
An induction program is a process that helps new employees get acquainted with the office and their role. It gives them that initial breathing room to adjust to the company’s culture while giving them time to get the formalities out of the way and get to know their coworkers.
This guide will look at why an induction program is essential and how you can design your induction program. Let’s dive in!
What is an employee induction program?
The employee induction program introduces new employees to their work and helps them settle into the workspace. It is slightly different from the onboarding process, which begins when a hire is made and usually lasts through the first week or two.
A good induction program gives the new employee information on their role in the organization and gives them the tools to navigate the role and their new office. An induction program includes everything from a tour of the workplace to meeting new colleagues and an introduction to their role in the business. It might also include any mandatory training and paperwork.
Why are employee induction programs important?
Employee induction programs offer a chance to make a strong first impression on the new hire. Get creative with the process and use this opportunity to show them why your company is the best place to work. It helps maximize productivity, too, as employees who are better informed about their roles and feel welcomed into the workplace are well-equipped to excel.
Take a look at this interesting article that lists seven different creative ways of doing induction programs. One of the methods involves using virtual reality to create an immersive experience for the employee (image below).
Source: E learning industry
People usually take some time to settle into their new role, but a detailed employee induction program can cut that time short. They can start contributing to the team quicker if they already know exactly what their role is and what is expected. It also helps them understand who they can reach out to for more information and fit seamlessly into the company culture.
5 step process for a successful induction program
A successful employee induction program hits three key objectives: it provides an introduction to the role, it helps the employee navigate the workplace culture, and it gives them an initial support system. This section will look at the five steps that go into making a strong induction program.
1. Meet and greet
The first thing that the induction program should do is to introduce the new employees to the people they will be working with going forward. It’s ideal if you have designated someone who will meet them on arrival to welcome them and introduce them to the team.
Consider assigning someone who can be the new employee’s go-to person and help them with any queries they have in the first few days. A simple meet and greet can help the new hire feel welcome and foster collaboration. You can make it a fun activity by using icebreakers and group games to help people get to know each other. This approach can be particularly useful when you have more than one new hire. Even if they don’t remember all the names straight away, they will have fun and will be less hesitant to approach others in the office.
Some companies, such as IBM, have included a particular segment to their employee induction program that enables collaboration. The Discover IBM program is a great way to introduce new and old employees and help them connect and grow. Read more about the ambitious two-year induction program at IBM in this case study, which also highlights other induction programs that have worked well.
2. Health and safety
Before they can dive into their new role, take the new employees through your health and safety protocols. The specifics of this will depend on the job’s level and nature, but every employee should understand the escape routes, fire drills, and any other emergency procedures.
In addition to this, it would be a good idea to acquaint them with any first-aid services you may have on-site or common workplace risks they should avoid. Doing this will help them stay safe and give them the knowledge to navigate any unforeseen situation.
The induction process is also the time to sign the formal documents that begin the employee’s journey with the company. These include the legal employment contract, any documents that support their right to work in the country, and their bank details for payment of their salary.
The documents will differ from company to company. Make sure you have the papers ready in advance. Walk the employee through the details and offer to answer any questions
Set some time aside for the documentation process, and don’t try to cram it between other induction sessions. It’s more than just a formality and can be an important part of getting the new employee acquainted with the workplace and its culture. Walk them through any benefits or facilities that the company provides. For example, company-provided health insurance might require additional paperwork to be signed.
4. Introduction to company policies
Introduce company policies around issues such as work hours, leave policy, appraisal method, and the company’s code of ethics. It is also a good idea to introduce the new employee to any other legal requirement they must know before commencing their role.
Company policies are particularly significant for people joining at senior levels as they are also responsible for enforcing the company culture. A study by Harvard Business Review of 588 senior executives who had just moved into a new role revealed that almost 70% thought that poor understanding of the company’s norms and culture was a cause of failure (chart above). Read the entire article to learn more about how the initial processes for a new hire must go beyond onboarding.
If you have software that is used to manage your human resources, payments, leave policies, and so on, run a quick intro session to the platforms. Some businesses use online tools to manage their employees’ work hours, like an employee timesheet app, or collaboration tools such as Trello. Make sure they know how to use any relevant tools.
5. Introduction to roles and responsibilities
Finally, tell the employee in detail about their role and what it entails. Make sure you introduce them to the chain of command and workflow so that they understand who they report to and who to approach with questions or concerns. Many workers feel hesitant to ask questions, so encourage them to speak up.
Giving them an overview of their responsibilities will also help you identify if they need any additional training to prepare for their role. It helps the employee to understand how they are expected to contribute to the organization and gives them a sure footing from which to begin their journey.
An employee induction program is a great way to equip the new employees with all the information they need to contribute to the organization and excel in their role. By taking some time to introduce them to their new team, explain the office’s safety precautions, and give a tour of the workplace, you can help them sail through the initial settling-in period.
Ensure that you take your time to explain their role and encourage questions before they get started, too. One of the most critical aspects of an induction program is helping new hires to understand the company’s culture and ethics. Doing this enables them to fit into the larger organization and understand what is expected of them. Use a great induction program to make a warm first impression and prime your new employees for success.
Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.