Induction Tips for Employers.

Why is the Induction of New Employees so important?

Research has supported the idea that induction procedures can have a dramatic effect on job performance and satisfaction, organisational commitment, and retention. The faster you get new employees up to speed the happier they are, the more productive they are, and therefore the happier you will be.


Doing a proper induction doesn’t take a lot of effort once it is set up and in place. Where do you start? The B Series Recruitment Group has put together Induction Tips setting out key points you must cover when creating a successful onboarding procedure.


The first week on the job can play a crucial role in motivating and retaining new employees. We often spend lots of time and money recruiting and wooing new staff and as soon as they start we turn around and treat them like barely welcome strangers. We need to begin looking at recruiting as only half of the task of hiring. Orientation and induction of new staff is the other often ignored element.


The impression given to new staff in their first week is too important to delegate to human resources or to devote to “reading the manual”. Managers need to take control of the process of bringing a new employee on board. The role a manager plays during the first week is of critical importance if the employee-manager relationship is to progress rapidly. To begin with, it is important for you, as a manager, to know why the orientation has so much impact. Following is a checklist of the reasons why you need to focus on orientation.

Goals of Great Orientation Programs.

Most orientation programs entail little more than some quick introductions and putting a disk in the DVD player or directing your new employee to a video file. But if you really want to do a great induction process you must first understand its goals and potential impacts. Some of them include:


Time to productivity. Any delay in providing new employees with the guidance, equipment and training they need can slow the time it takes for them to reach their minimum expected level of productivity. Each day of delay can frustrate the employee and may also mean the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue if product development or sales are impacted.


Competitive intelligence. By asking new hires about the best practices of their last firm, their new managers can gather some new benchmark ideas.


Your image as “the best place to work.” New hires will get many calls from their friends, past clients and previous work colleagues during the first week on the job. How they are treated during this crucial period has a direct impact on what they say when asked: “What it is like to work there?” If they say positive things about your firm and their new job, it might mean that their friends will also want to join your firm. Negative comments can also impact the overall image of the firm and even future product sales.


Setting management expectations. On the first day, it is important for the manager to make sure that the new employee knows the manager’s expectations, the departmental goals and what important contributions the employee can make to the product and the firm.


Understanding the employee’s expectations. It is equally important for the manager to find out what expectations the new employee has in the areas of training, promotion and preferred management and communication styles.


Explaining the employee’s “shared responsibility.” It is important to educate each employee that they share in the responsibility of making themselves productive members of the team. This can begin by communicating to the new employee that they must take a proactive role in “helping” their manager understand what it is that motivates and frustrates them.


Reinforce their decision. A manager needs to reinforce the sale by “Wowing” the new employee and reinforcing their decision to take the job. You also need to answer their questions, eliminate their fears and give them something to tell their friends.


Every manager needs to approach orientation using his or her own style but there are some things that most managers should include. The following list is a “toolkit” of possible things that a manager can do to improve orientation, increase productivity and eventually increase the retention probabilities of new hires.

Helping the Employee Understand the Big Picture.

  • Provide the new hire with a brief overview of the departmental objectives, the business plan, and how their job contributes to both.
  • Provide them with a brief overview of the corporate culture and your mission/vision statement and values.
  • Give them a copy of the organisational charts, the performance assessment tools and forms, as well as the reward system so that they can understand how they will be assessed and rewarded.

Making a New Employee Part of the Team.

  • Make sure that their direct manager greets them early on in their first day and introduces them personally to all key team members.
  • Be prepared for their commencement. Don’t overlook the small details such as the following:

1. Have their business cards printed
2. Send their uniforms to them before they start.
3. If they have a vehicle as part of their package make sure it is clean, full of fuel and ready to take at the end of their first day.
4. They should have the tools necessary for their position i.e. a desk, computer/laptop, email address, company stationery etc.

  • Assign them at least one temporary mentor, preferably someone who is a top performer and/or recent recruit.

Develop Plans and Goals for the New Employee.

  • Develop an individual learning plan with the new employee to ensure that they will have the necessary skills and that they will remain on the cutting-edge of knowledge. Provide opportunities to benchmark, take “rotational assignments,” work on projects and acquire mentors as part of the plan to make them a “learning individual” and to give them a “learning network.”
  • Explaining the employees “shared responsibility.” It is important to educate each employee on their first day that they “share” in the responsibility of making them productive members of the team. Two-way communications will need to be established at the very start. Start by explaining that the employee has a responsibility to help their new manager understand both what it takes to motivate them and what frustrates them.
  • Pre-assess the training needs of the candidate and schedule the required development before the candidate starts and make sure that the training they require in order to do their new job is immediately available to them.
  • Pre-schedule a series of one on one meetings with the new employee to identify their frustrations and problems before they get out of hand.
  • Prepare an “exposure” plan to ensure they get to meet and work with the best managers, employees and customers.
  • Make sure to schedule their three-month probation review well in advance as it is sometimes overlooked or even forgotten once they are in the business.

Celebration Tools for Making the New Hire Feel Welcome.

Managers should consider using one or more of the following “celebration tools” to raise the enthusiasm of and for the new hire:
  • Send a small gift, a fruit basket or flowers to the employee’s home (for them and/ or for their family).
  • Give them a company t-shirt or cap with a company logo to help them to begin identifying with the firm.
  • Mail their new business cards to their home before they start in order to reinforce the fact that they are important and that they have made a good decision.
  • Arrange a phone call or visit from the CEO/GM welcoming them to the organisation or arrange an invitation by the CEO/GM to visit their office on their first day.

Things to Avoid.

  • Don’t force them to read the manual, benefit packages, or view dull orientation videotapes.
  • Do not require them to spend the morning filling out confusing benefits forms until it hurts. Let them do it later in the week.

Additional Assimilation and Orientation Tools.

  • Change the managers and the team’s metrics and reward systems to include time to productivity and satisfaction for new employees.
  • Do a frustration (barriers to productivity) survey among the new hires at the end of the first, third and sixth month. Ask them to write down any new ideas or solutions they have on how to improve orientation and then manage to the results of the survey.
  • If you relocated the employee, give them a list of the “best” restaurants, schools, childcare etc. in the neighbourhood to help them feel comfortable with their new environment. Consider getting the spouses and kids of your current employees to help orient them to the “cool things” in the community.
  • Provide them with a glossary of acronyms, buzzwords and FAQs so they don’t have to ask uncomfortable questions about these buzzwords (they are afraid to ask because it might make them seem like dumb). Knowing these words might also decrease the number of errors on the job.
  • On the next page, you will find a “New Employee Induction Questionnaire” which the backbone of a successful orientation program. You can customise it for your own purposes, but the following format should suit almost any manager’s needs.
  • Plan at least two hours of uninterrupted time with the manager on their first day.
  • Pre-schedule a series of meetings with the boss and key team members during the first month.
  • Have the most senior Manager at that location (GM/CEO/State Manager) complete the orientation presentation to show the new employee how important they are to the organisation.
  • Tell the new employee that they are to provide their manager with the names of the top three existing staff that help them the most during their first month, and then reward the staff with a prize or small bonus.
  • Give them two “free lunch coupons” to use on co-workers in the first week so that they will rapidly get to know them.
  • Put a “rogues gallery” (pictures of the whole team) on the group’s intranet (or post the pictures on a bulletin board) of all team members so it will be easier for them to put names with the faces they meet.