Getting Employees to Add Value

The successful Induction of a new employee is of vital importance. It is your opportunity to positively influence the new employee from day one, by making clear the required standards, expectations, and performance levels necessary to fulfil their roles.  A new employee is full of enthusiasm towards their new job. This can be refreshing for other team members and can often eliminate any complacency that may exist within the team.

Moving from a company where the employee was settled and well known by colleagues to a new one is very daunting. Every new employee is apprehensive and nervous, but wants to arrive for their first day excited about their new role and determined to do well. Sadly, after the first day in many organisations, they may have lost that confidence, feel overwhelmed with so much to take in and may even feel a little isolated if they have been thrown in at the deep end.

With a professional and thorough induction process, all this unnecessary pressure is removed and the manager has the opportunity to capture early commitment, prolong it, and ensure that the new recruit is performing well and achieving results in a much shorter time scale.

The induction process is generally a 4-week process. This may at first seem a long time for an Induction, but be assured, it is invested time. It is not unusual for an induction to last 3 months or more in some companies.

We want to help you ensure that you will be able to use the induction process to its full potential in order to gain the best possible results.

An induction is a schedule of planned activities for the new employee starting on day one through to the last day of the fourth week. This is only a suggested timescale and you should plan the induction content and timescale to suit you, the employee, the position and the needs of your business.

The Schedule details all aspects of the job role and acts as a checklist to ensure that all tasks and responsibilities are discussed and understood e.g. shifts, breaks, storage of equipment, procedures, time-scales, deadlines, quality standards, key contacts and so on.

The first part of the induction is spent discussing the Job Profile and Key Performance Indicators, Contract of Employment and general familiarisation of the new position. It is most beneficial for the new employee to receive a tour and an introduction to all departments with a brief history of the company so they feel part of the team as quickly as possible.

A copy of the Induction Schedule should be printed and forwarded approximately 3 days to one week before the start date of the new employee (where possible), so that your new team member knows what to expect in the first few weeks. The manager should simply tick to indicate that the tasks have been completed or the instruction given and what date it happened. It is not necessary to follow the list and complete the tasks in the order they appear, you will find that the schedule is entirely flexible and can be completed in any order. This process should be done as part of a one to one with the employee. We recommend a quick catch up at the end of each day during the first week and then a sit down meeting at the end of each week thereafter, up to the end of the induction timescale.

The Induction Schedule should be supported by a short written review at the end of each week, where the employee and manager reflect on activities and achievements. This review time enables you to give and receive feedback on the progress of the new team member, documenting areas for praise and areas for further development.  On each page of the Review Form there should be an area for comments to be recorded by the manager and the employee.   If the employee is reluctant to write any comments down, simply ask them “How do you feel this week has been?” “What have you particularly enjoyed or found valuable this week?” “What do you think we need to cover again, or what has been challenging for you?” and so on.  After they have given their reply, turn the form around and ask them to jot down what they have just said. This makes completing the form much less daunting.

Objectives are then set for the following week. It is important to set ‘S.M.A.R.T’ objectives; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed, to ensure the employee understands what areas of their performance they must concentrate on.  This should be completed in all cases as it provides an excellent reference for future Performance Development Reviews, and is extremely motivational for the employee.

A copy of the Induction Schedule and completed Induction Reviews should be filed in the employee’s Personnel File once the 4-week schedule has been completed.

The Importance of a Buddy – Top Tip

We strongly recommend that you assign the new employee with a ‘Buddy’. The Buddy plays a key role in the induction process, as it is far less daunting for the new employee to ask a colleague for assistance rather than repeatedly asking the manager (it also saves you a lot of time!). Choose the Buddy carefully; be sure that they have the right skills and attitude towards this supporting role.

The Buddy should be given a copy of the new employee’s Induction Schedule and must also receive a briefing by the manager with specific objectives set for them during the induction period.

It is a good opportunity to involve an existing member of your team in the induction process, especially if the individual is keen to further their career within the company. This gives you the opportunity to assign additional tasks and responsibilities to ascertain their suitability for a more demanding role. It may also help you to retain skilled people within your team, as ambitious individuals need to see that you are taking their career development seriously, otherwise you may find that they leave and go to work for a competitor.

By involving them as a Buddy, you are developing their skills, confidence and credibility within the business in preparation for when a suitable opportunity arises. The Buddy may also be a long serving member of staff who may have become a little under productive but whose knowledge and skills are invaluable to the team. By utilising their skills as a Buddy, it is an opportunity for them to become more involved in the department, become more productive again and helping you keep a strong team spirit.

The Buddy could also act as a substitute manager in the role as ‘coach and mentor’ if properly developed and trained to do so.

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