Inducting new employees

 

An effective induction program is the best way to give new employees a strong start in a workplace, for the benefit of employees and employers alike.

It can be incredibly overwhelming for new employees to begin employment in a completely new workplace, whether it is their first job after graduation or their tenth.

It is in the employer’s interest to be able to facilitate their transition into the workplace as smoothly as possible and this is best done through an induction program.

An induction program is designed to provide employees with all the information they need to excel in their new position.

A successful induction should help an employee feel at home and fully supported and should outline the expectations of their role.

What documents should be provided?

An employer should provide their new employee with the following documents to complete and/or read:

  • a welcome note
  • an employment contract and job description
  • employee details forms (including a tax file declaration form, details about superannuation and personal details such as emergency contacts)
  • a Fair Work Information Statement
  • a Casual Employment Information Statement (if applicable)
  • HR and work health and safety (WHS) policies and procedures.

It is also essential to provide new employees with any tools and equipment required to perform their duties.

What should actually take place in an induction?

To be most effective, an induction should be planned from start to finish and an induction schedule should be prepared for new starters.

This should outline the structure of their first few weeks in the role and make them aware of what to expect when beginning employment.

This can help alleviate any anxieties they may have.

On the first day, an employee should be welcomed to their new workplace and introduced to their new colleagues.

This helps provide a positive, welcoming atmosphere and can kickstart team bonding.

Common bonding activities for new employees include organising a group meeting, having an informal team lunch or meeting up for Friday evening drinks at the end of the week.

Their workstation should be prepared ahead of time and be neat and presentable.

This includes providing any equipment or software that is necessary for them to immediately begin their role.

An employee should also be introduced to any relevant award or agreement under which they are classified and to workplace policies and procedures, including company, HR and WHS policies.

Essential administrative tasks should be completed during induction, such as computer access, security passes and email signatures.

Contact details should be provided for key members of staff, including IT and supervisors.

Employers should also make clear their expectations of the employee in the new role.

This includes providing them with a job description, but also outlining any key performance indicators against which their performance will be measured and a time frame for them to work within during their probationary period.

The ideal induction schedule will also allow time to provide any relevant internal training.

Importantly, the employee should be given WHS induction training as a matter of priority, so that they understand the business’s protocols around ensuring safety.

This can be prepared in a copy of the workplace’s HR and WHS policies and procedures and should include information concerning safety and emergency procedures relevant to the workplace and their role.

Induction training may also involve an overview of the history and philosophy of the organisation and its culture.

This helps the employee feel included in the company culture from the beginning and provides them with extra drive to get off to a strong new start.

Effective communication tools to facilitate induction can include one-on-one meetings with supervisors, a guided tour of the workplace, videos and access to online training and resources that may be necessary in the course of their duties.

As part of an employee’s induction, a business could also assign a ‘work mentor’ to help guide them through the introductory process and familiarise them with their new working environment.

This mentor will often be a supervisor or more experienced member of the team.

Throughout the induction process, an employer should regularly encourage the employee to ask questions and express concerns.

This helps prevent any miscommunication about employer expectations or workplace procedures that may lead to negative outcomes, particularly in the initial stages of employment.

As the employee progresses through their first few months of employment, it is important to check in on their progress transitioning into the team and provide them with new opportunities as they arise.

Along with verbal check-ins, this should involve scheduled meetings to discuss their performance and, if necessary, highlight any areas they can improve on.

This also allows managers to receive regular feedback on the induction process itself so that improvements can be identified.

Benefits of a successful induction (for an employee)

A thorough induction process will provide the employee with the best chance to settle into their new role and eventually thrive.

For an employee, it can provide the following benefits:

  • helping them understand their role in the organisation faster and providing the necessary information for them to succeed
  • introducing them to the expected standards of work and behaviour, which helps alleviate anxiety
  • helping them feel accepted and respected more quickly by their colleagues
  • providing them with an avenue to ask for help when they need it and promoting healthy communication channels
  • increasing employee satisfaction and engagement—the first few months of employment are delicate and can easily affect employee satisfaction and a successful induction can provide a strong foundation to their attitude towards work.

Benefits of a successful induction (for an employer)

While undertaking a comprehensive induction program can involve a lot of work in the short term, in the long run it will pay off in dividends.

For an employer, it can provide the following benefits:

  • improving operational efficiency since employees can settle in faster and achieve productivity sooner
  • enhancing the company reputation via a professional first impression
  • increasing employee retention and thus reducing turnover, which in turn reduces the significant costs that businesses can incur through the recruitment process
  • improving compliance with company policies and procedures, including WHS policies and procedures, which reduces future risks associated with workplace incidents.

Final thoughts

The best workplaces are those that conduct a comprehensive induction process and openly welcome new employees.

Providing new employees with the best possible chance to succeed will ultimately benefit the organisation and the rest of the employees.

>> The HR in Practice specialist workplace relations and work (occupational) health and safety advisory service is operated by Wentworth Advantage. APA Business Group Premium Principal members can contact the HR in Practice service on 1300 138 954 or hrinpractice@australian.physio or click here to access the full suite of online resources, including those dedicated to wellbeing. For more information about joining the APA Business Group, click here or call 1300 306 622.

 

© Copyright 2018 by Australian Physiotherapy Association. All rights reserved.