Induction training is absolutely vital for new starters.
Good induction training ensures new starters are retained and settled in quickly and happily to a productive role.
Induction training is more than skills training. It's about the basics that seasoned employees all take for granted: what the shifts are; where the notice-board is; what's the routine for holidays, sickness; where's the canteen; what's the dress code; where the toilets are.
New employees also need to understand the organisation's mission, goals, values and philosophy; personnel practices, health and safety rules, and of course the job they're required to do, with clear methods, timescales and expectations.
On the point of values and philosophy, induction training offers a wonderful early opportunity to establish clear foundations and expectations in terms of ethics, integrity, corporate social responsibility, and all the other converging concepts in this area that are the bedrock of all good modern responsible organisations. See also love and spirituality in organisations: trainers and new starters - anyone - can bring compassion and humanity to work. The starting point is actually putting these fundamental life-forces on the workplace agenda.
Professionally organised and delivered induction training is your new employees' first proper impression of you and your organisation, so it's also an excellent opportunity to reinforce their decision to come and work for you.
Proper induction training is increasingly a legal requirement. Employers have a formal duty to provide new employees with all relevant information and training relating to health and safety particularly.
As a manager for new employees it's your responsibility to ensure that induction training is properly planned. Even if head office or another 'centre' handles induction training - you must make sure it's planned and organised properly for your new starter.
An induction training plan must be issued to each new employee, before the new employee starts, and copied to everyone in the organisation who's involved in providing the training, so the new starter and everyone else involved can see what's happening and that everything is included.
Creating and issuing a suitable induction plan for each new starter will help them do their job better and quicker, and with less dependence on your time in the future. Employees who are not properly inducted need a lot more looking after, so failing to provide good induction training is utterly false economy.
As with other types of training, the learning and development can be achieved through very many different methods - use as many as you need to and which suit the individuals and the group, but remember that induction training by its nature requires a lot more hand-holding than other types of training. Err on the side of caution - ensure people are looked after properly and not left on their own to work things out unless you have a very specific purpose for doing so, or if the position is a senior one.
As with other forms of training their are alternatives to 'chalk and talk' classroom-style training. Participation and 'GAAFOFY' methods (Go Away And Find Out For Yourself) can be effective, particularly for groups and roles which require a good level of initiative. Here are some examples of training methods which can be used to augment the basics normally covered in classroom format:
- on the job coaching
- delegated tasks and projects
- reading assignments
- presentation assignments
- attending internal briefings and presentations, eg 'lunch and learn' format
- special responsibilities which require obtaining new skills or knowledge or exposure
- internet and e-learning
- customer and supplier visits
- attachment to project or other teams
- shadowing (shadowing another employee to see how they do it and what's involved).
Be creative as far as is realistic and practical. Necessarily, induction training will have to include some fairly dry subjects. So, anything you can do to inject interest, variety, different formats and experiences will greatly improve the overall induction process.
Induction training must include the following elements:
- General training relating to the organisation, including values and philosophy as well as structure and history, etc.
- Mandatory training relating to health and safety and other essential or legal areas.
- Job training relating to the role that the new starter will be performing.
- Training evaluation, entailing confirmation of understanding, and feedback about the quality and response to the training.
And while not strictly part of the induction training stage, it's also helpful to refer to and discuss personal strengths and personal development wishes and aspirations, so that people see they are valued as individuals with their own unique potential, rather than just being a name and a function. This is part of making the job more meaningful for people - making people feel special and valued - and the sooner this can be done the better.
For example, the following question/positioning statement is a way to introduce this concept of 'whole-person' development and value:
"You've obviously been recruited as a (job title), but we recognise right from the start that you'll probably have lots of other talents, skills, experiences (life and work), strengths, personal aims and wishes, that your job role might not necessarily enable you to use and pursue. So please give some thought to your own special skills and unique potential that you'd like to develop (outside of your job function), and if there's a way for us to help with this, especially if we see that there'll be benefits for the organisation too (which there often are), then we'll try to do so..."
Obviously, the organisation needs to have a process and capacity for encouraging and assisting 'whole person development' before such a statement can be made during induction, but if and when such support exists then it makes good sense to promote it and get the ball rolling as early as possible. Demonstrating a true investment in people - as people, not just employees - greatly increases feelings of comfort and satisfaction among new-starters. It's human nature - each of us feels happier when someone takes a genuine interest in us as an individual.
Including a learning styles self-assessment questionnaire or a multiple intelligences self-assessment questionnaire within the induction process also helps to 'draw out' strengths and preferences among new starters, and will additionally help build a platform for meaningful work and positive relations between staff and employer.
Ensure that new starters are given control of these self-tests - it is more important that they see the results than the employer, although it's fine and helpful for the employer to keep a copy provided permission is sought and given by the staff members to do so. Line-managers will find it easier to manage new starters if they know their strengths and styles and preferences. Conducting a learning styles assessment also helps the induction trainer to deliver induction training according to people's preferred learning styles.
So much of conventional induction training necessarily involves 'putting in' to people (knowledge, policies, standards, skills, etc); so if the employer can spend a little time 'drawing out' of people (aims, wishes, unique personal potential, etc) - even if it's just to set the scene for 'whole person development' in the future - this will be a big breath of fresh air for most new starters.
Use a feedback form of some sort to check the effectiveness and response to induction training - induction training should be a continuously evolving and improving process. Free examples of training feedback forms and induction training feedback forms are available on the free resources section.
Take the opportunity to involve your existing staff in the induction process. Have them create and deliver sessions, do demonstrations, accompany, and mentor the new starters wherever possible. This can be helpful and enjoyable for the existing staff members too, and many will find it rewarding and developmental for themselves. When involving others ensure delivery and coverage is managed and monitored properly.
Good induction training plans should feature a large element of contact with other staff for the new person. Relationships and contacts are the means by which organisations function, get things done, solve problems, provide excellent service, handle change and continually develop. Meeting and getting to know other people are essential aspects of the induction process. This is especially important for very senior people - don't assume they'll take care of this for themselves - help them to plan how to meet and get to know all the relevant people inside and outside the organisation as soon as possible. Certain job roles are likely to be filled by passive introverted people (Quality, Technical, Production, Finance - not always, but often). These people often need help in getting out and about making contacts and introductions. Don't assume that a director will automatically find their way to meet everyone - they may not - so design an induction plan that will help them to do it.
Here is a simple checklist in three sections, to help you design an induction plan to suit your particular situation.
See also the free induction training checklist working tool with suggested training items (which is an MSExcel working file version of this page).
Whilst the order of items is something that you must decide locally, there is some attempt below to reflect a logical sequence and priority for induction training subjects. Consider this an induction checklist - not an agenda. This checklist assumes the induction of an operational or junior management person into a job within a typical production or service environment. (See the training planner and training/lesson plan calculator tool, which are templates for planning and organising these induction training points, and particularly for planning and organising the delivery of job skills training and processes, and transfer of knowledge and policy etc.)
- Essential 'visitor level' safety and emergency procedures
- Food and drink
- Smoking areas and policy
- Timings and induction training overview
- Organisational history and background overview
- Ethics and philosophy
- Mission statement(s)
- Organisation overview and structure
- Local structure if applicable
- Departmental structure and interfaces
- Who's who (names, roles, responsibilities)
- Site layout
- Other sites and locations
- Dress codes
- Basic communications overview
- Facilities and amenities
- Absenteeism and lateness
- Health insurance
- Trades Unions
- Rights and legal issues
- Personnel systems and records overview
- Access to personal data
- Time and attendance system
- Transport and parking
- Creche and childcare
- Grievance procedures
- Discipline procedures
- Career paths
- Training and development
- Learning Styles Self-Assessment
- Multiple Intelligences Self-Assessment
- Awards and Incentives
- Health and Safety, and hazard reporting
- Physical examinations, eye test etc.
- Emergency procedures, fire drill, first aid
- Accident reporting
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Use, care, and issue of tools and equipment
- Other housekeeping issues
- General administration
- Restricted areas, access, passes
Job and Departmental Induction Training Checklist
The induction training process also offers the best opportunity to help the new person more quickly integrate into the work environment - particularly to become known among other staff members. Hence the departmental tours and personal introductions are an absolutely vital part of induction. Organisations depend on its people being able to work together, to liaise and cooperate - these capabilities in turn depend on contacts and relationships. Well-planned induction training can greatly accelerate the development of this crucial organisational capability.
- Local departmental amenities, catering, washrooms, etc.
- Local security, time and attendance, sickness, absenteeism, holidays, etc.
- Local emergency procedures
- Local departmental structure
- Department tour
- Departmental functions and aims
- Team and management
- People and personalities overview (extremely helpful, but be careful to avoid sensitive or judgemental issues)
- Related departments and functions
- How the department actually works and relates to others
- Politics, protocols, unwritten rules (extremely helpful, but be careful to avoid sensitive or judgemental issues)
- The work-flow - what are we actually here to do?
- Customer service standards and service flow
- How the job role fits into the service or production process
- Reporting, communications and management structures
- Terminology, jargon, glossary, definitions of local terms
- Use and care of issued equipment
- Work space or workstation
- Local housekeeping
- Stationery and supplies
- Job description - duties, authority, scope, area/coverage/territory
- Expectations, standards, current priorities
- Use of job specific equipment, tools, etc.
- Use of job specific materials, substances, consumables
- Handling and storage
- Technical training - sub-categories as appropriate
- Product training - sub-categories as appropriate
- Services training - sub-categories as appropriate
- Job specific health and safety training
- Job-specific administration, processing, etc.
- Performance reporting
- Performance evaluation
- Training needs analysis method and next steps
- Initial training plans after induction
- Training support, assistance, mentor support
- Where to go, who to call, who to ask for help and advice
- Start of one-to-one coaching
- Training review times and dates
- Development of personal objectives and goals
- Opportunities for self-driven development
- Virtual teams, groups, projects open to job role
- Social activities and clubs, etc.
- Initial induction de-brief and feedback
- Confirmation of next training actions
- Wider site and amenities tour
Other Induction Training Activities for Managerial, Executive, Field-based or International Roles
Here are some typical activities to include in the induction training plans for higher level people. The aim is to give them exposure to a wide variety of experiences and contacts, before the pressures of the job impact and limit their freedom. As with all roles, induction also serves the purpose of integrating the new person into the work environment - getting them known.
Induction training is not restricted to simply training the person; induction is also about establishing the new person among the existing staff as quickly as possible. This aspect of induction is particularly important for technical personalities and job roles, who often are slower to develop relationships and contacts within the organisation.
- Site tours and visits
- Field accompaniment visits with similar and related job roles
- Customer visits
- Supplier and manufacturer visits
- Visits and tours of other relevant locations, sites and partners
- Attendance of meetings and project groups
- Shop-floor and 'hands-on' experiences (especially for very senior people)
- Attendance at interesting functions, dinners, presentations, etc.
- Exhibition visits and stand-manning
- Overseas visits - customers, suppliers, sister companies, etc.
You should strive to organise the induction plan and give it to the new starter before they join you. This means things need to be planned well in advance because the plan will necessarily involve other people's time and availability.
Develop a suitable template, into which you can slot the arranged activities. Depending on the needs of the situation the induction training plan may extend over a number of weeks, progressively reducing the pre-arranged induction content, as the person settles into their job.
Here's an example of how a week's induction might be shown using a template planner. A schedule is also a useful method for circulating and thereby confirming awareness and commitment among staff who will be involved with the induction of the the new starter.
Seeing a professionally produced induction plan like this is also very reassuring to the new starter, and helps make a very positive impression about their new place of work.
Adding a notes and actions section helps the new starter to keep organised during a time that, for most people, can be quite pressurised and stressful. Anything you can do to make their lives easier will greatly help them to settle in, get up to speed and become a productive member of the team as quickly as possible.
Induction Training Plan Example
|Induction Training Plan (Name, Date, Organisation, etc)|
As with any type of training, it is vital to review and seek feedback after induction training.
It is particularly important to conduct exit interviews with any new starters who leave the organisation during or soon after completing their induction training.
Large organisations need to analyse overall feedback results from new starters, to be able to identify improvements and continuously develop induction training planning.
Also, seek feedback from staff who help to provide the induction training for new starters, and always give your own positive feedback, constructive suggestions, and thanks, to all those involved in this vital process.
- Induction checklist
- 1-month month feedback form
- 3-month month feedback form
- Induction guide
- Induction training plan
- Induction checklist
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