While some new employees are happy to “hit the ground running,” many new hires may need at least a couple of weeks to acclimate to your company’s policies, procedures, and people. An orientation or induction training program can help, but only when strategically implemented. If the training is too cursory, for example, then it might set employees up for failure.
Several studies have confirmed that a detailed induction training plan is necessary to make the most of employee potential. According to a recent Gallup poll, most companies do not have an onboarding plan that meets employee needs or expectations. Surveys reveal that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer is doing a great job of onboarding new hires.
Gallup concludes that “This failure gets in the way of the formation of an emotional bond between the new hire and the company — a connection that can make or break retention.”
Welcoming New Employees into the Fold
When someone starts a new job, it’s only natural to feel like a “stranger in a foreign land.” By creating a welcoming environment and offering a structured orientation program, you can help to diminish any initial feelings of discomfort. Circulating a companywide email introducing the new employee and encouraging staff to make them feel welcome is an excellent starting point.
Another effective way of making a new employee feel welcome is to give them a tour of your office or facility on their first day and introduce them to people they’ll be working with. When new hires know their way around, begin remembering people’s names, and fully understand where they fit in the “big picture,” they are more productive and comfortable asking questions, offering ideas, and interacting with colleagues.
Surveys reveal that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer is doing a great job of onboarding new hires.Gallup
What Should Be Included in Induction Training?
In a nutshell, the main objectives of induction training are to provide new employees with the information, tools, and direct experiences that will support them in developing their talents and contributing to the growth of the company.
With that goal in mind, here are the key components of an effective induction training program:
- A tour of the building, an informal introduction to key personnel, and an overview of the day’s (and week’s) agenda can help lay the groundwork for a smooth orientation. Pointing out locations of break areas, the kitchen or lunchroom, coffee machines, water coolers, conference rooms, vending machines, and other resources can help give the tour an informal feeling and put the new hire at ease.
- A “welcome packet” should be provided to new staff members, containing an employee manual and information about the company’s history, organizational structure, policies, company values, and mission statement. A welcome packet can also be one of the first places employees learn about company culture and policies covering everything from sexual harassment and Internet use to acceptable attire, non-disclosure of confidential information, customer service policies, avoiding conflicts of interest, and even environmental recycling policies. A code of conduct is also crucial for all organizations and would typically be included in orientation materials.
- Ideally, a staff person’s first day should include time to settle into their office or work area, set up their computer or workstation, fill out employment forms, and review information in the welcome packet. Additional tools for induction training are orientation videos, interactive training modules, and Power Point presentations about products, services, supply chains, and organizational goals.
- New hires typically meet with Human Resources and/or their department manager to discuss payroll procedures, health insurance options, pension plans, performance reviews, career advancement opportunities, and terms of employment. Other details to attend to during that meeting may include signing an employment contract, completing IRS forms, providing bank account information for direct deposit, and providing identification documents, such as drivers’ license, passport, and/or visa. Many HR departments also have new hires fill out an emergency contact sheet to prepare for potential health or other crisis.
- Virtually all workplaces have policies regarding health and safety, especially in the era of COVID. Building security, IT security, and incident response policies are also important topics to share with new employees, as are ID badges, security passes, and keys.
- Other miscellaneous items might include a detailed job description and a map of the building showing where people, resources, and supplies are located.
What Should Be Left Out of Induction Training
Perhaps the number one thing to avoid in induction training is TMI, also known as “too much information!” Overwhelming your new employee with stacks of reading material, people to meet with, dozens of introductions to deal with, websites to research, and too much input to process can be detrimental. Redundancy is another thing to avoid since it reflects poorly on the company and may cause the new employee to become disengaged during the induction process.
Training Best Practices
Considering the time, energy, and other resources that are dedicated to recruiting and training qualified personnel, it pays to plan your induction training process carefully. Here are a few pointers and training best practices that will help ensure a successful orientation period for new hires.
- For their first day, provide employees with clear instructions on where to go when they first arrive, which entrance to use, where to park, and other details that could prevent confusion, frustration, and lateness.
- Consider providing new hires with information prior to their first day. It will help prepare them and give them a head start assimilating to their new work environment.
- There are also advantages to having new staff fill out a “training needs analysis” or skills self-assessment prior to their first day to enable HR or their supervisor to line up training resources.
- Customize their induction training to match their personality and comfort level. For example, if they’re shy or have an introverted personality, they might appreciate you spreading out the introductions over a few days. In a similar vein, try to avoid putting them “on the spot” in meetings to minimize discomfort and help ensure a smooth transition into the job.
- Consider taking new staff members out to lunch or hosting a catered department luncheon on their first or second day to make them feel special and to welcome them to the team.
- Ideally, their desk or workstation should be equipped with the office supplies, phone, fully functional computer, and necessary software at the start of their first day.
Induction Training Checklist
Although each organization and employee orientation will be unique, it is beneficial to have induction plans and resources on hand as a starting point. An induction training checklist, which includes the following items, can serve as the foundation for a detailed and customizable orientation training strategy.
- Introduce new employee to key associates and managers
- Give a tour of the building, including fire exits, kitchen, bathrooms, conference facilities, etc.
- Provide overview of the organization, company culture, growth and progress, and future goals
- Review job description, responsibilities, chain of command, and necessary paperwork to be completed
- Discuss employee handbook, code of conduct, health and safety guidelines, and terms and conditions of employment
- Outline work schedule, weekly priorities, and upcoming events and deadlines
- Set aside time for the new employee to get situated and organized in their office, desk, or workstation
- Make sure new hires have everything they need to access the building, be productive from “day one,” and communicate with colleagues and clients. Depending on the security level of your organization, they may need swipe cards, security codes, company IDs, parking authorization, and after-hours building access.
When you’re trying to determine what should be included in induction training at your company, there are many factors to consider. If you’d like to learn more about effective onboarding of new employees, Knowledge City offers an induction training course that focuses on improving employee engagement, reducing turnover, and benefitting from alternatives to traditional employee handbooks. Sign up for a free trial to watch all our videos on HR-related topics. We offer video courses in recruiting, employee engagement, conflict management and much more.