The first few weeks of employment are important for many reasons. For employees, feeling supported and equipped during this transition period can mean they settle quickly into their new role and organisation.
Employers will also want to avoid issues with new starters; after investing in a recruitment process and given the demands of the role being recruited for, it makes practical sense to put effort and resources into ensuring new employees’ first few weeks are positive and of value, and stand the employee in good stead for their role.
An effective HR induction process can help to make your new recruits feel welcome, while ensuring they are provided with the necessary training and knowledge to enable them to perform their role to the expected standard. It is a fine balance. But with a streamlined induction process, you can make your new member of staff feel valued and welcomed whilst also laying the groundwork for them to become a productive team member and a positive asset to your business.
What is a job induction?
An induction is the process of acquainting new members of staff with your business and the role they have been hired to perform, settling them in and giving them the requisite knowledge to enable them to become a valuable member of the team.
The length and nature of an induction process varies from role to role, between businesses and industries, and the size of the company. Standard induction courses are unlikely to achieve their aim and should be adapted or tailored to the role in question. Of course, there are always basic elements that apply to every induction programme, such as health and safety information, data protection, employee benefits and facilities, employee representation and layout of the workplace. But a good induction process is so much more than this.
The importance of the induction process
Inductions should be mutually beneficial for both you and the new starter. Eight out of ten employees who leave their jobs are new hires, so the importance of a positive induction process cannot be understated. You are less likely to lose the new hire to a competing business if they are well-adjusted and settled, meaning you will save time and resources if you have to run the recruitment process all over again.
Try not to treat the induction process as a tick-box exercise. Use it as a real opportunity to show why your business is so great to work in; be creative. The better the induction process, the more effective and efficient the new hire is likely to become in their role. This is because they have been given the training and knowledge that lets them contribute to their team and the business from the beginning. Feeling supported boosts the new hire’s confidence and feeds into team morale, helping to preserve a positive company culture.
What should an induction include?
HR inductions will vary by organisation, but in general, the following are key aspects which can help support new starters:
Prior to the start date, send the new hire a detailed pack of information in either hard copy or electronic format. This gives them a full understanding of the organisation and will answer any questions they may have which could otherwise distract from the induction process.
Meeting who the new employee will work with is an essential element in helping them settle in and ease their first day worries. You should introduce them to the team, although bear in mind a barrage of new faces and names can be overwhelming (perhaps remind them they do not have to remember everyone’s name) and consider assigning them a work buddy for additional support. Employees who are welcomed in this way will be more eager to get started if they feel they are part of the team from the outset.
If your business is spread over multiple sites, informing new hires how they can interact with staff in different locations via digital means is a good idea.
Take your new hire on a tour of the building, showing them where they can find the toilets, staff room, kitchen facilities, first aid box, and fire exits. Ensure you have sorted out their workspace ahead of their arrival. There really is nothing worse for a new hire to be dumped somewhere temporarily or find their workstation full of the previous occupants’ personal items. Ensure they have everything they need to get started.
Depending on the role in question, you may need to train the new hire how to use certain equipment, computer programmes or systems.
An induction programme is an ideal time to introduce the new hire to some of the company benefits or perks that may be available to them. These might be pizza Fridays, gym memberships, food or drink bars, and relaxation lounges, depending on what your organisation offers.
Health & safety
The new starter should be taken through your health and safety procedures and receive any necessary training on the first day of the induction programme. Different roles will probably need different levels of training, but as a minimum, employees should know how to assess and minimise risks in the workplace and know about emergency procedures.
All employees should have received and signed a written statement of employment (typically in the form of a contract) within two months of their starting date. You will also need to ask them for proof of their right to work in the UK, their P45, and banking details for payroll.
It is good form to give all new starters access to an online employee handbook covering all procedures and policies within the organisation. This should give information on any legal requirements they must follow, in addition to company policies around dress code, sickness absence, annual leave and any other areas deemed to be important. If you cannot give them access to an online version, consider providing them with a hard copy.
Information about their role
Early on in the induction programme, it is vital you invite the employee to a meeting where you discuss the role and its key responsibilities, what is expected of them, and how their work contributes to the wider business. This gives the new starter an excellent overview to get started, and hopefully encourages them to excel in their new role.
Identify whether any further training is required
By the end of the induction process, you are likely to have a good grasp of how well the new hire will be able to perform, and whether they require any further training. This helps you to formulate a training plan or arrange supervision for certain tasks to ensure they are fully equipped to do the job.
Arrange a first appraisal meeting
If you want to keep your new hire on the right track, then giving positive feedback is an essential part of maintaining their motivation. Ensure you set a date for their first performance meeting; think about asking them to complete a set of questions beforehand so you can gain an understanding about how they feel their first few months have gone, and how well they are settling in. Post-induction interviews offer the perfect opportunity to find out how things are going, or any areas that require attention.
Induction errors to avoid
Providing too much information too soon, or information overload, is likely to overwhelm the new hire on their first day. Additionally, try not to concentrate entirely on administrative matters at the expense of your organisation’s culture and ethos.
If you have taken on several employees at once, it may be pragmatic to use a group induction process, using a combination of more formal presentations and one-to-one discussions. However, you will need to ensure that the content of the induction is relevant to all new starters; if tailored incorrectly, an induction programme may contain areas that do not apply to the specific role. The induction should be pitched at the right level. If the person you have hired is an office junior, for example, do not give them an induction aimed towards senior managers. Take into account your new hire’s previous experience, the new role and duties.
If your organisation offers a buddy system, think carefully about matching a new starter with someone who brings a positive attitude.
Who is responsible for delivering the induction programme?
Responsibility for delivering the induction programme may vary depending on the size of your organisation or the team within which the new hire will be based. If you run a small business, you might attend to the induction process yourself, whereas in larger organisations, the HR manager may welcome new recruits.
In many cases, HR departments are likely to be the first port of call, gathering information to do with the new hire, such as their employment history, bank details, records, etc. However, you may decide to appoint particular members of staff, people within your organisation who are suited to that type of role, for instance.
Your employer brand should be viewed as part of the induction process and should reflect the values your organisation promotes. This may require a review of pre-employment communications, for example, to ensure they are engaging and welcoming.
If you have delivered a good induction programme, the new hire should be able to identify their own personal development plan, and the beginning of their appraisal cycle. The quality of the induction process is vital because a positive experience during the first few weeks will reinforce a positive perception of the business. A negative experience can swiftly lead to the new hire to quit.
Onboarding process for remote staff
With the global pandemic, there have been huge implications in the way people work and are being employed. One of these key areas is onboarding new staff. Many companies have been forced to adapt to hiring and onboarding staff remotely rather than in person, and this has led to organisations implementing new onboarding processes.
Consider emailing your new hire a week or two before they start and set out the itinerary for their first day and week ahead. Break it down in daily format, structured into morning and afternoon tasks, for example. This gives the employee clarity about what they can expect from their first day.
Once the pre-boarding stage is complete, you should make sure your employee have all the equipment they need to work remotely. Will you provide them with a laptop, or phone, or will they need to source these themselves? You should also check they have a suitable working space and can access reliable internet connectivity. If possible, give them access to a dedicated support line during the early part of the onboarding process.
It is good practice to check in regularly with new hires, particularly when they are working remotely. This is probably even more important than if you were inducting a new hire at a physical location. For the first week or so, check in once a day, but reduce it over the following weeks as the new hire gets to know their colleagues and open up their own lines of communication. It is important to strike a balance between making someone feel like they are being micro-managed and creating clear lines of open communication.
Induction process FAQs
What should a company induction process cover?
A good induction process covers a brief overview of an organisation’s history, products and services, its culture and values, workplace orientation, meetings with key staff, how the employee fits into the business, and any benefits and policies.
What is an induction process?
An induction process is used by organisations to welcome new recruits to the company and prepare them for their new role. It also helps integrate new employees into a business.
Is it compulsory to have an induction for new starters?
It is good practice for organisations to have an induction process for new starters, but it is not compulsory.
What are the steps in induction process?
An organisation's induction process should be designed to suit its individual organisational requirements, and in most cases will include as a minimum training on company policies such as health and safety, a tour of the workplace, an introduction to colleagues and ensuring necessary documents are in order.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.