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What is Induction for Employees?
Induction is sometimes called orientation or onboarding. It’s the process by which a new hire is integrated into the workplace. When successful, the new employee will finish legally compliant, welcomed into the company, and given what they need to do their job. The best induction programs empower the new hire to fill their role confidently and comfortably, feel they belong and are valued, and be inspired about the company vision. Induction provides the foundation and framework of the employee experience and goes far beyond the necessary HR paperwork. The goal is to ingrain a sense of purpose, motivation, and excitement in the new employee.
Why is Induction Important?
An excellent induction experience can make or break a new employee’s first impression as well as confirm to them they made a wise career move. Successful integration can be the difference between their success, or their leaving very quickly.
After a successful induction, a new hire will be:
- Legally compliant. Legally required disclosures and tax forms are typically completed during induction if not completed previously.
- Psychologically/emotionally prepared. Ensuring the new hire is welcome and comfortable in the new environment is crucial to ensure the new employee doesn’t feel isolated.
- Socially connected. Creating meaningful connections with their managers, team and coworkers gives a new hire a sense of belonging, inspiring healthy collaboration, greater retention, and stronger work satisfaction.
- Safer. Induction is when you gather pertinent medical information (such as diabetes or a dangerous allergy) and emergency contact information as well as educate the new hire on emergency protocols.
- More likely to stay. According to this study, onboarding processes affect workforce engagement and retention in the long run.
What Does an Induction Include?
Induction covers a myriad of important information for both the employer and the employee, including required documentation, diversity and inclusion training, etc.
Paperwork and Legalities
A good employee induction should include information such as a comprehensive job description, work schedule, dress code, compensation, benefits, attendance policies, and more. For the employer, induction should include gathering the new hire’s data and legally required documentation based on your state (and/or country). This includes W-4 or W-9, I-9 Employment Verification form, State Tax Withholding form, and direct deposit information. Also needed is work eligibility verification for the employee to work in the United States such as a Social Security Card, Driver’s License and/or birth certificate.
Familiarizing with the Work Environment
A good induction will include a thorough walk-through of the new place of employment to help the new hire feel as at home as possible. Point out their workspace as well as important things that can get glossed over, like where the coffee machine and bathrooms are and the best spot to grab lunch.
Make introductions to management count during the induction. Set aside adequate time to connect the new hire with employees they will work with directly. Inviting their immediate coworkers and managers to a team luncheon is a disarming way to encourage bonds. Additionally, don’t forget to connect them to other departments. During the facility tour, introduce the employee to new colleagues in other areas and relate their responsibilities to the other employees. This fosters cohesiveness. See “Involve the company and team” below.
Mission and Culture
A large part of induction is familiarizing the new hire with the organization’s story, history, priorities, vision, and values. This also gives them a taste of the culture the organization fosters. This could include a corporate educational video, a presentation overviewing how and why the company was founded, or even inviting a company head to tell their story. The new staff member should walk away inspired and with a sense of purpose.
Role Specific Training
Role specific training lays the framework for a new employee’s experience. Walk them through the training schedule and expectations, who they will be shadowing and when, system set-up such as employee number and email, and HR-related aspects such as dress code and attendance policies. Introduce them to their colleagues who can address any questions they may have). Be sure to include a designated time to walk through the job description and role responsibilities and open it up to questions or concerns that may arise.
Tips for a Successful Employee Induction
Use a (Structured) Mix of Methods
Organization and planning is key! Make sure induction is planned to a T (bonus points for sending out the agenda ahead of time). This ensures nothing is missed and builds excitement.
Naturally, presentations have their place and are still a valid tool to use to quickly and concisely cover important information. However, it’s not the most “sticky” method when it comes to memory recall.
Digitize wherever possible. Out with the physical employee handbook and in with the digital! Not only is digital more easily accessible, but it makes searching for a specific topic or section as simple as spelling it (somewhat) correctly in the search bar. This also takes out the guesswork to know who read it or not, as it can be recorded who has gone through the material and marked it as complete.
Invite Upper Management
Inviting a who’s who of your organization to a new hire induction shows the employee who to look out for. It can be both encouraging and inspiring to hear the story of a seasoned employee. It’s healthy for the culture when upper management shows an interest in its new members and it helps the new hire feel valued by the company right off the bat.
Involve the Company and Team
In order to make the new hire feel settled and welcomed, including their new colleagues in the induction process. A few ideas on how to do this are:
- Games. Play a social game such as two truths and a lie during orientation or the company tour.
- Surveys. Submit a company-wide survey including questions such as “What nearby coffee shop has the best brew?” “What employee tells the best jokes?” or “What roads do you avoid on your way to the office?” and compile the answers into a nifty reference booklet.
- Lists. Collect a list from your staff of most used acronyms and create a quick reference guide for the new hire. Feel free to include a “wrong answers only” section for a good laugh.
This brings the new employee in on some long-standing inside jokes and immediately makes them feel more accepted, and helps the surrounding staff be more welcoming.
It is also a good idea to assign your new hire a buddy, preferably someone who is or has worked in the same department and has tenure in the company. This employee will be the go-to person for your new hire’s questions. This is especially useful when the new employee doesn’t know who to address about specific role or process-related questions. Their buddy can point them in the right direction.
Make it Fun and Interactive
Induction is so important but it can be easy to gloss over (especially in an organization with higher turn-over). Don’t speed through it and accidentally make your newest team member feel slighted or unimportant. Fostering an organizational culture that prioritizes people can be the reason an employee stays in the company.
Research shows that culture is a critical factor (particularly by millenials) in determining where applicants choose to apply, their job satisfaction and how long they choose to stay. A new hire is inherently valuable to the business and how well you show that to them directly affects how well they integrate into the workplace.
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Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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