HR · 3 November 2015

Getting a new employee up and running

You don't want to overwhelm a new starter on their first day, but equally you want to provide them with all the information they need
You don’t want to overwhelm a new starter on their first day, but equally you want to provide them with all the information they need

Margaret Keane shares how to develop an effective induction process to ensure early engagement and productivity among new starters.

The induction or on-boarding process is a vital part of the recruitment cycle. You have by now invested considerable time and money in attracting and recruiting the correct candidate. Now you need to retain them and nurture them so they can perform to their maximum.

Professionally organised and delivered induction training will play a large part in helping your new employee form his or her all-important first impression of you and your organisation. It can therefore play a critical role in reinforcing their decision to take up employment with you and motivating them to become a committed and engaged employee.

A good induction process should be designed to help ensure new employees are welcomed to the company, shown the basics that current employees take for granted, and provide them with the support and resources they need to quickly become effective in their new role. It should be a two-way process, with input from both parties.

Consideration needs to be given to the use of technology and social media to assist with the process as appropriate. The precise mix of tools used will depend on the culture, size and type of organisation, but using relevant technology in the right places will help keep things current, speed up the process of knowledge transfer and save costs ultimately.

A bit of forward planning can help your organisation be different and can make a big impact on your new employees. For example, during the interview process you could ask the candidates to name one thing under £5 that they cannot live without. If, for example, they name a particular type of chocolate bar, you could arrange to have a handwritten card from the firm welcoming them and include their favourite chocolate bar on their first day; it will be remembered forever!

The latest CIPD Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey suggests that 22 per cent of new starters leave within the first six months. That is more than a fifth of your new starts and represents a waste of time and money, as well as a negative impact on everyone. Getting the induction process right will alleviate much of this.

The induction process begins with your offer being accepted and can finish as late as two years down the line.

So here’s what you need to do:

Before they start

Within the company

(1) Issue company-wide or departmental communications (depending on the size of your business and the role of the new recruit) introducing the new employee and their role.

(2) Book the employee onto your company induction/welcome session if applicable; if not, then book out time in the diary of their manager to do this.

(3) If you have other staff members assign a buddy for the new employee; ideally someone who knows the role they will be doing.

(4) Order any equipment that is required such as mobile phone, laptop, desktop, uniform, door pass, etc., and set these up in advance of their arrival as appropriate.

For the new employee

(1) Keep in contact with them, especially if there is a long notice period that they have to work. This will sustain their enthusiasm and expand their knowledge and help prevent them being swayed by a counter offer from their current employer.

(2) Send appropriate company information such as newsletters and invites to appropriate company events, and make a phone call to say you are looking forward to them joining, etc., to keep them informed and show that you are including them as one of the team already.

(3) Only send work-related documents as appropriate, but respond to anything they have asked for, such as organisation charts and future plans. Anything else should be part of the induction when they start on day one; you don’t want to give the impression you are asking them to work before day one. However, the more senior they are the more information it is appropriate to share prior to their start.

Read on for a checklist of important actions for your employee’s first day.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Margaret Keane is the managing director of Outsourcing HR, an HR consultancy that helps businesses succeed by providing practical, cost-effective human resources management and recruitment services. In addition to being an experienced HR professional, Margaret has a successful track record in general management roles. As a result, Margaret is focused on ensuring that HR contributes to the bottom line.

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