You know what they say about first impressions, and your staff induction is the first real impression that a new starter will have of your business and their new job. If you’re going to review your staff induction, now is the time. We’ve never had so many great examples to follow and such a variety of affordable digital solutions to help you transform your staff induction and bring it into the 21st Century, and it’s a great project to tackle at the start of the new year.
Get it right by building positivity and enthusiasm for their new job, and your staff will get up to full productivity much quicker, will be less likely to make costly errors and will give your customers a better service. The problem is, most business don’t do their staff induction justice and they’re missing out on a valuable opportunity. Just to be clear, throwing new starters in at the deep end, just because they’re got previous industry experience, doesn’t constitute a good staff induction.
I’ve had the pleasure of working for businesses that really understood the value of an engaging, informative and structured staff induction, and for businesses who could have done it better if they’d done nothing at all.
To help you get started, I’ve taken examples from the world’s leading hospitality and retail organisations for delivering staff induction’s and some tricks that I’ve learnt over the years, to give you my 7 top tips to transform your staff induction that won’t break the bank.
There’s a reason that 74% of businesses are using eLearning; it works. Using some form of digital, independent training has been shown to increase retention, increase knowledge and of course, the ‘biggy’, significantly streamline training to decrease costs. It gives the user a much more engaging way to learn about a company, it’s modern and it’s what the younger generations expect from their employer. If it’s done properly, it can also be really good fun (fun, at work? I know, it’s a new concept). I’m not a fan of 100% eLearning as I think it’s cold and it cuts the user off from valuable interactions. Taking the approach of combining eLearning with other forms of training, known as blended training, however, can produce great results.
2. See the Big Picture.
65% of us are visual learners. So, on average, the best way for 2/3 of your new starters to take in information is through their eyes. That said, whether you’re a visual learner or not, nobody wants to be smacked with a 30-page text heavy handbook and long winded death by PowerPoint. Instead, you can break the information down into manageable chunks, and display it through visual training aids like infographics, diagrams and pictures. It’s a more pleasurable experience for everyone involved, it can significantly increase information uptake and retention, and will help you break through language and literacy boundaries.
3. Start Before they Start.
Turning up for your first day at work can be very daunting. New place, new people, new rules, new expectations. It’s all new. You can soften the blow by getting in touch with new joiners before they start. Send them a nice welcome pack, get their manager to give them call, and give them plenty of opportunities to familiarise themselves with the business and their new colleagues before they turn up to the whirlwind that is day 1.
4. Spread It Long and Thin.
As a generally accepted rule, you’ve got 3 months at the start of employment that’s classed and a Probationary Period. Spread the whole staff induction over this period. You could even call it a Staff Induction Period, which has a much friendlier connotation than Probationary Period. You don’t need to give every piece of information out on day one. It’s a complete overload and most likely 90% of the information goes straight in, then straight out again. Break the staff induction up and only tell new starters what they need to know, when they need to know it. Let’s be honest, having an in-depth knowledge of the future aspirations of the business is not going to help someone to get to grips with the basics of their job!
5. Don’t be shy.
I’m all for reviews and feedback. As much as possible, as often as possible. The best time to give feedback is right after the thing that you’re giving feedback on has just happened. The old annual review process simple does not work, but that’s a different story. Take advantage of your new 3-month Staff Induction Period, and have regular feedback sessions (30/60/90-day?) to make sure your newbies are settling in. It can be very difficult for new starters to admit any weakness or difficulties in learning their new role, and this often means they suffer in silence. Your staff are much more likely to highlight any difficulties in an informal planned feedback session, than they are to make a point of it during the day-to-day demands of the job. Break that silence, it’s good for morale, it’s good for stress and it’s good for the business.
Staff inductions should be seen as a transition period where you take a person who is completely unfamiliar with your business, and over time gently transitioning them into company life. As with every learning situation, everyone learns in a different way and you can’t learn everything all in one go.
If you would like more information on Staff Inductions or have any staff related questions, we’re always available to help. Get in touch here.