Induction of people new to the organization
is a continuing training need for businesses small and large. Much
energy and effort is devoted to Induction, often without too much
effective return either for the individual(s) concerned or for the
organization. This is a shame as the Induction period immediately
after joining is a very important one for everyone concerned.
From the individual's point of view it is the period where they find
their feet, learn about their new organization, their new job and
the people with whom they will be working. It is also the period during
which they absorb the culture, ethics and standards of the business
and begin to form judgements about what is acceptable and non-acceptable
in terms of behaviours and inputs.
From the organization's point of view Induction is the period which,
if used effectively equips and prepares the new joiner for their role
and gives them the basic knowledge required to begin functioning effectively
and safely at the earliest possible moment. Induction is also the
period during which the employer can quickly confirm the wisdom of
the decision the individual has made to come and work there and make
them feel welcomed and valued.
A poor induction period where the individual is left to fend for themselves
is, at best, unsettling for the individual and time-wasting for the
organization and means that people take longer to learn what they
need to know. At the worst it can lead (and often does) to the New
Joiner leaving in the first few weeks or even days, thus wasting the
cost of the initial recruitment and making it necessary to duplicate
the cost and effort involved to fill the vacancy again.
Problems with Induction
Many induction 'programmes' are geared only to the needs and possibilities
of the organization itself, for example, one day 'courses' run when
enough new entrants can be gathered together, often weeks or months
after the individual has begun work, has already formed opinions,
and imbibed a mixed set of impressions and values, and is often resentful
of being drawn away from the workplace for a seemingly unnecessary
Another fault with this type of course or event based induction is
that it tends to be so full of formal, often legislative based information
that the average recipient will absorb little and retain even less
of what is covered.
Such organization-driven Induction is generally so formulaic that
it misses a number of issues:
timing is often wrong for the individual
Managers are not always happy to release people weeks or months
after they have started
Entrants learn by experience and mistakes rather than in a structured
of the formal procedural/legislative material is generally more
suited to other means of delivery eg. Intranet, manuals, leaflets
'delivered' is not necessarily what the new entrant wants or when
they want it.
should Induction address?
One way of devising an effective Induction content is to think in
terms of providing three sets of information / knowledge - these are:
the new entrant needs/wants to know
the organization , as a good employer wants to make known to the
has to be made known to the new entrant e.g. legislative requirements,
employment conditions etc.
the Individual wants to know
Interestingly, the key early concerns of all new entrants, irrespective
of age or seniority tend to be similar. These early concerns are about
very personal issues such as:
is my boss and what are they like?
will I be working with? What are they like?
are the arrangements for pay, holidays, meal breaks, flexi time?
is my workplace like? Will I have all the equipment I need?
are the 'rules', standards etc which I need to fit in with?
these personal issues are addressed the new entrant will have little
interest in, or retention of, other information.
What the good Employer wants to share with
the New Entrant
The employing organization will want to ensure that the new employee
receives quite a range of information. This is explained by this design:
represents a lot of information, all of it important, both to the
individual's understanding of what is required of them and why and
to their competence and willingness to make the necessary contribution.
Many people and sources will be involved in providing the necessary
information. Careful thought needs to be given to timing and method
of delivery to ensure that learning takes place effectively for the
Legislative Information etc
This is the driest and possibly least interesting information from
the New Entrants' point of view, The Health and Safety at Work Act,
The Data Protection Act, Intellectual copyright, Food Hygiene Regulations
and other compliance issues may all, or in part, be necessary knowledge.
They are not, however, appropriate information to impart during the
crucial first two or three days, and particularly not in a course
situation. Much better to have this information readily available
in one or more permanent formats e.g. intranet, video, booklet etc,
and to make sure that an opportunity is structured and provided whereby
the new individual has a chance to access the necessary information.
The involvement of the Line Manager as overseer, and/or the use of
an Induction Checklist which can be signed off on receipt of the information
will ensure that the necessary information is accessed by the New
Methods for Induction Training
A range of methods exists which can contribute to effective Induction.
The methods available include:
use of a mixture of these methods will:
balance information delivery
the New Joiner's early enthusiasm for learning about the organization
and the job
the input necessary from Line Managers and others
that learning and information transfer takes place for the new
It is realistic to assume that for their first couple of days the
new joiner will make a limited contribution in the job itself. Most
of their attention will be focused on getting settled in. The diagram
below shows the likely balance of learning and work contribution over
the first month of employment.
It will, of course, be important that on their first day, the new
joiner gets to their workplace and meets key people. One very effective
way of making the best use of these early days is to have a learner/new
joiner focused package available which, once given to the individual,
can be used by them to shape their learning by visits, reading, access
to the intranet and organization documentation. This package could
be based, as a number which DBA have developed, on an agreed checklist
of information/learning to be experienced by the new leaner, based
on the headings given earlier. The checklist can indicate the 'what',
'where' or from 'whom' it is to be acquired and give an indication
of when during the first few weeks of employment the learning is to
take place. Other more formal inputs can be scheduled between the
individual and their Line Manager.
The self-driven Induction package based on the checklist mentioned
above makes use of the individual's enthusiasm and interest, takes
the chore of Induction away from the busy Line Manager. By programming
necessary get-togethers and using the checklist to sign-off training
received it legitimizes the New Entrant's search for information.
Such an approach to Induction is very much in line with current thinking
on lifelong learning and personal responsibility for learning. It
also provides a clear seamless link to continuing training development
and, where appropriate, a career progression. The latter stages of
the package can contain an analysis, against a competence framework
if one exists, or against some other agreed form of list. Having completed
this assessment the individual can, with their Manager and trainers,
where appropriate, agree a Personal Development Plan for the first
six months to a year of their employment.
Induction is necessary to the rapid, effective integration of New
Joiners. Badly handled it can be costly in terms of early leavers,
demotivated individuals, wrong learning taking place, mistakes made
and problems created.
Well designed Induction can capitalize on the investment in recruitment,
motivate New Joiners and ensure that the organization benefits from
the early integration of effective and competent employees.