New employee induction or orientation is a critical human resource process for both the employer and the employee.
What is Employee Induction or Orientation?
Employee induction or orientation is the process of introducing a new employee to your business and their new role. It is designed to:
- Take care of administrative processes required to get the employee on your payroll system;
- Outline your company values, direction and expectations;
- Clarify the duties and work requirements of the new role;
- Introduce the new employee to your team;
- Take the new employee through essential workplace health and safety training to ensure they can safely perform their duties in the workplace;
- Ensure the new employee knows how to operate the technology or machinery required in your business.
Why Is Induction Important for new Employees?
The first few days in a new job creates a clear impression of what it is like to be part of your business.
The induction process you use and the steps you follow tell your new employee if you are organised, professional and care about your staff. It highlights your work culture and demonstrates if you walk your talk in terms of living your espoused work values.
When done correctly, employee induction lays a firm foundation for the future of the employee with your business. It helps them to quickly get up to speed with their role and become a productive member of your team.
Effective induction is also a key retention strategy. High turnover within an organisation can often be linked back to a poor initial induction process.
Common Problems with Induction Processes
1. Information Overload
You have a lot of information that you want to cover in a short amount of time. Trying to cover everything will leave the new employee overwhelmed rather than enlightened. It is like trying to quench thirst with a fire hose rather than simply handing someone a cup of water.
Pace your information out over a few days, and regularly check in to ensure the employee understands what you have been telling them.
One employee may get a thorough induction, but the next gets 5 minutes squeezed in between phone calls. This means you have a patchy understanding of expectations across your employment team and can set up unnecessary perceptions of favouritism. Keep your process consistent by using a clear checklist and process.
3. Not being prepared
If your employee has to scavenge for furniture and essential office supplies on their first day of employment, you are sending a clear message that you are disorganised and don’t value the new employee. Have everything ready and waiting for a new employee.
4. Not allowing sufficient time
Many managers spend 10 minutes with the new employee, hand them a pile of information and then disappear to do manager type work, never to be seen again. If you are genuinely too busy to spend time with your new hire, allocate them an induction buddy that can answer their questions during the first weeks in the job and take them through the expectations of their new role.
5. Assuming knowledge
Managers often forget that processes and equipment are different from business to business. You need to explain how to operate all technology and machines in your business safely. This includes things as simple as where and how to store computer documents, through to the operation of more dangerous machines.
Things to Cover in your Employee Induction
There is no shortage of paperwork to be completed by the new employee. This includes employment contracts, bank details for pays, superannuation details, tax file numbers, visas copies, drivers’ licence or other licence copies (if operating cars or machinery), and the fair work information statement.
Discuss the history of the company, its key products and services, and its key personnel. An organisational chart with photos of key personnel can be useful to get the new employee up to speed on the people in the business.
Company Expectations & Processes
Cover the company Code of Conduct and behavioural expectations including dress code, timeliness, leave, company benefits, probation, performance and grievance processes.
Discuss the duties, reporting relationships and expectations of the role by referring back to the position or job description.
Phone and Address Details
How should new employees answer the phone? What is the official street and mailing address for the company? Is there a phone list for direct lines?
Safety and Security
What are the safety and security expectations? What are your fire and first aid processes? What are the expectations around workplace bullying and harassment?
Where are key things located in the business (e.g. toilets, lunch areas and fridges, personal item storage, stationery stores, parking/public transport options, places to get lunches in the area)
Meet and Greet
Introduce the new employee to fellow team members and key personnel. It helps to give them a “mud map” of names and contact numbers against desk locations to help them remember who sits where.
If possible, arrange a morning tea or lunch to welcome the person to the team. There is something powerful about informally chatting with people over food to quickly break down barriers and help bring the person into the social dynamic of your team.
New employee induction should never be an afterthought, but a core part of your human resource processes. After all, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression of your business.
Our Instant HR Policies and Procedures Manual and the NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual both include New Employee Orientation Manuals, forms and checklists to help make your inductions fast and effective.
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HR Author and Lecturer with over 25 years’ experience in human resources and workplace relations in Australia. Lead Author of Instant HR Policies & Procedures, NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual, and Employee Performance Reviews: Tips, Templates and Tactics.