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Staff Inductions

With any new hire, most organisations want a new employee to ‘hit the ground running’ and more often than not, due to work demands, the induction process (aka ‘on-boarding’) is ad hoc, under-rated and under-prepared. As a result, new employees can be poorly armed for success in their new role.

With an inadequate induction comes the risk that the new employee is not thoroughly informed about all aspects of the role, the company, how things are done, or on more crucial policies and processes. Joining a new workplace is daunting at the best of times, let alone when no structure is provided.

PREVENTION IS OFTEN THE BEST CURE

Sadly, businesses are prepared to spend significant time and energy (and recruiter’s fees) finding the right person, but little time in making sure that person is happy and is getting the most out of them when they start work.

Undertaking a robust induction process can be a means for avoiding performance related issues or issues of conduct. As HR consultants often we are brought in to assist with staff performance issues that could have been addressed if expectations had been clearly established at the outset of the employment relationship. Simply relying on the employment agreement and a job description is not enough.

Induction is your opportunity to set out clear parameters and requirements and let the employee know “how we do things around here”. It can seem time consuming, but from a long term perspective it is the most cost effective method of employee management you can embrace. By allowing time for new employees to receive a thorough induction, you’ll ultimately save time, resources and money by reducing future performance-related matters. You’ll also spend less time and money on finding replacements.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

Induction doesn’t have to be a formal process and will vary between workplaces. It does however need to be properly planned, and consistently delivered to ensure that all new employees are treated fairly and receive the same information. Having a checklist helps ensure that all areas are covered. Not only does it start the employee off with the right information to ensure maximum productivity as quickly as possible, but it also fulfils your legal obligations to train new employees in safe work practices.

An induction programme can vary from one day, to one week, or staggered across months. Having ‘check-ins’ while the employee is getting established in their role is also invaluable in establishing what is going well, not well, and what support might be needed. These don’t need to be in-depth sessions, but they establish a relationship of communication and help to enable the employee to succeed in their role.

So what are some key areas to include in an induction checklist? The following is a good start:

- An introduction to the company/department and its organisational structure
- The layout of the establishment, depending on the building size and structure
- The terms and conditions of employment
- Relevant people policies, such as training and promotion
- Health and safety
- The company rules/guidelines and procedures
- Arrangements for your new employee’s involvement in their business area/team
- Employee benefits and facilities

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Incorporating a thorough health and safety induction will help you meet your obligations under the recently introduced Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. If your policy and induction do not reflect the new legislation, then this is a timely prompt to look at what you are doing here.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

When talking with our clients, a natural progression from the content of their induction process typically flows through to company guidelines, policies and procedures. Ask yourself if these are documented or if it is taken for granted that people ‘just know’. Considering what needs to be documented to ensure a consistent message is being delivered is important. If there are protocols that are specific and important to your business, be it defining appropriate social media use at work or addressing dress code, they need to be communicated.

It’s all about the old adage “begin with the end in mind”. We encourage you to utilise this valuable time at the beginning of the employment relationship to establish norms and parameters and take a conscious approach to aid your new employee to become fully operational and integrated into your organisation.

If you would like some guidance on how you can improve the on-boarding/induction of your new employees, please contact our team of HR Consultants: Andrea Stevenson, Staples Rodway Hawkes Bay, astevenson@stapleshb.co.nz; Chris Wright, Staples Rodway Auckland, chris.wright@staplesrodway.com; Julie Rowlands, Staples Rodway Taranaki, julierowlands@staplestaranaki.co.nz; or Norma Blackett, Staples Rodway Tauranga, norma.blackett@staplestga.co.nz.

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