Engaging inductions

by 21 Aug 2007

Q. We are overhauling our approach to induction, which at this stage, is heavily focused on compliance and policy issues. How do you suggest we approach this so it has a greater impact upon engaging our new starters?

A. Induction programs have traditionally been based upon providing new starters with the information and skills they need to successfully perform their new roles as well as covering compliance and policy issues. This focus means organisations can miss the opportunity to positively engage their new starters.

Consider the following. In the current jobs market it has become increasingly difficult to attract and retain the best people, while organisations also recognise the importance of selecting the right people and invest significant resources into recruitment. Jobseekers identify the most attractive employer attribute as “an employer’s reputation for looking after and valuing their employees. Furthermore, research shows nearly 25 per cent of new starters decide by the end of the first week how long they will stay with the organisation and over 50 per cent have made that decision by the end of their first month.

So if more than half of the people you have invested heavily in recruiting are determining whether or not to stay before they have even been paid, then the immediate key to staff engagement and retention is more likely to be about induction and the first impression the organisation creates rather than what they are being paid. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

A primary focus of induction should be addressing the most important attribute identified by new starters: “An employer’s reputation for looking after and/or valuing employees”. The induction process must be engaging and live up to the impression that was created during recruitment.

So how do we make induction more engaging? The objective should be to set the theme “we look after and value our employees”. This can be addressed through providing:

• A warm welcome. Emphasise the importance of the person to the organisations success and the commitment to deliver on values.

• Overview of the organisation. BBQ speech (what we do in 30 seconds or less), strategy, customers, achievements, history – give new starters information they can use to brag about the organisation.

• People overview. Organisational chart, photos, bios.

• Information on values. Culture, performance rewards and staff benefits.

One of the best ways to achieve this objective is to incorporate an online component in your induction. A well-developed online induction delivers a high quality, visually engaging and appealing message which says “we value you and want to impress you!”Other advantages of an online component include immediate availability of information, delivery of a consistent message across all locations and new employees and reduced reliance upon the availability of key staff involvement in the induction.

We invest a lot into making sure we recruit the right people. The amount of time and resources allocated to inducting new staff should match or exceed the amount of time, money and effort that goes into recruitment and should be directed at ensuring new starters are aware the organisation values them.

By Simon Hann, CEO, Aframe e-ffective Learning. Email: simon@aframe.com.au. Tel: (03) 8330 4610. Web: www.aframe.com.au