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Tips for Effective Onboarding and Induction

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How to make the most of this important investment in your new staff.

This is the second blog in a 2-part series. The last blog focused on the value of effective onboarding and induction processes to build staff engagement. 

To project a professional image and maximise the opportunity, recruitment, induction and onboarding should be conducted as a cohesive effort!

Tips for effective onboarding

While the formal induction program may start when the employee first arrives to begin work, the actual onboarding experience should begin well before the first day.

Some basic tips for an effective induction and onboarding program include:

Before the start date:

Contact the new starter by phone prior to their first day. First-day nerves can be eased by providing the new starter with some basic information which can be easily sent to them and include information such as:

    • How to get to work (maps, bus routes, etc)
    • What time to arrive
    • Where to park
    • How to dress
    • Where to go/who to ask for and contact details
    • What activities to expect on their first day.

Upon arrival:

People will feel welcome if their arrival is expected. This can be seen as a small detail but it does send a very powerful message about an organisation and their internal communication processes. It sets up the first day in a positive way so inform reception or other relevant staff when a new employee is starting so that they are welcomed. 

Ensure immediate team members are updated so they are not taken by surprise when introduced to the new person but, rather, also offer a warm welcome.

Take the time to have a workstation prepared. For example, secure a telephone and computer prior to the employee starting work. Set up email addresses and prepare network access where appropriate so employees can get to work immediately.

Give the new employee a task to start working on that is relevant to their ongoing work. This will ensure the employee is being productive and feels useful from the start. The task should be easily achievable, yet meaningful.

Expectations of performance and behaviour

Ensure that the new employee’s position description is accurate and current. The manager should spend time discussing the position description with the new employee, explaining the work in the broader context and providing clarification where necessary.

Further to that, provide an overview of how the new employee fits in with the rest of the team, how the team fits in with the department, and how the department contributes to the overall effectiveness of the business for example. It may be useful for the new employee to spend some time with other members of their team to learn more about workflows.  When people understand their role in the wider organisation they are more likely to be engaged in the business and their work.

Ensure you clearly explain performance expectations and also behavioural expectations of the business. You can then clarify any concerns at this point. 

Discuss the Code of Conduct and ensure a clear understanding of what is required. Agreeing on the performance criteria at the outset will ensure that the new employee is clear about your expectations of them.

This is critical given the provisions of a probationary period.

Ensure regular communication opportunities. Managers should meet the new employee ideally at the beginning and end of their first day. Include time regularly in the initial days and weeks to check in with how they are finding the new position.

The information ‘dump’

Induction processes can often become an information dump. Do not bombard a new employee with too much information at once. They will be overwhelmed and will be unlikely to retain very much. Instead, deliver information in stages, depending on priority and relevance. Try not to accomplish too much on the new starter’s first day.

Make the process as interactive as possible. Generate discussion to ensure understanding. People are less likely to retain information from an experience they were not engaged in.

Documenting the process

Documenting the date, content and attendance of staff taking part in induction processes is critical. The agenda should ensure all legislative obligations (e.g., safety) are all addressed.

New employees should sign as acknowledgement of their understanding of relevant organisational documents such as Codes of Conduct, Employee handbooks and performance arrangements.  Any equipment or security clearances should also be acknowledged.

Finally, always actively source feedback from new staff on the induction and onboarding process. It is the key to driving continuously improving these important phases.

For more information on your onboarding and induction processes so that your organisation can meet its goals, please contact us.

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