Induction is a very important process in the employee engagement cycle. It can either provide the foundations for rapid growth and performance or lead to disappointment, confusion and disconnect. Bruce Nixon outlines how technology can help bring it all together.
The preparation and implementation of the induction phase can be very time-consuming for both the HR professional and operational manager who will directly engage with the new employee. If the right approach isn’t used, the information provided to this worker can also be out-of-date, unreliable or irrelevant. So the impetus for getting the training and induction process right upfront is evident.
When used adequately, technology can become an ally by simplifying and reinforcing this process.
Here are four ways to use technology that will facilitate the integration of new employees in your workplace:
Capture your organisation’s knowledge
One of the first steps with any training and induction program is to assess and capture the knowledge that needs to be passed onto the new employee. This step can be as simple as writing procedures and training modules that relate to specific tasks or generic company induction. The relevant workforce and operational managers should be interviewed to help identify the exact knowledge and skills required to perform their duty and the ones that need to be passed onto new employees.
In addition to capturing knowledge and process steps, their relationships to other roles, process and regulations within the organisation should also be recorded in a way that helps new employees understand where their role in the organisation sits.
The technology you choose to record this data will impact on your induction process. Traditional silo approaches like document repositories or portals can store and present information, but they can’t manage it. This results in highly redundant, unreliable, out-of-date, expensive-to-maintain information.
A central business management system which can be accessed by the appropriate people, updated on an ongoing basis as required and present only one version of the training and induction information signed off by both the HR department and operational managers will be more adequate.
Capturing and storing the knowledge and processes in such a technology will help ensure up-to-date information is passed onto employees who have just joined the organisation, leading to a smoother, effective transition.
Provide role-specific training modules
New employees need to be able to easily access relevant, current and complete training modules in a form that is intuitive, timely and in the context of their responsibilities. This information should be stored in a single location where it can be re-used, managed centrally and disseminated in role-specific formats.
Technology can help HR professionals and operational managers by providing access to training courses, notes, demonstrations, examples and assessments that directly relate to the new employee’s role and by making this information automatically accessible at the right time during the induction phase.
Show the big picture
The induction is the very first touch point in the critical employee engagement process of any organisation. So from the beginning, it’s important to provide new employees with a direct line of sight of how they contribute to the success of the organisation.
This can be done by using technology to develop a living diagram of the organisation which relates individual roles to business operations and goals. This true representation of the organisation should capture the entire DNA of the organisation (its services, structure, roles, projects, values and goals) in a way that allows employees to visualise their position in the business and understand how their role interconnects with others as well as with the business strategies and objectives. It also allows them to gain a clear understanding of why it’s important to do certain activities in specific manners.
One of the major sources of internal friction in an organisation is conflicting instructions from different lines of management. New employees are often bombarded with information coming from different people including their operational manager, colleagues and HR department.
By having a complete diagram which includes responsibilities and structure of the business (including who is responsible for what part of the induction), you can map lines of accountability and bring clarity and consistency to your training and induction process. This clarity of accountability also makes it is easier for staff to take responsibility for their own activity as well as easier for managers to recognise their people’s work.
All this provides a great basis for ongoing monitoring of key performance indicators and a solid foundation for further learning and development.
About the author
Bruce Nixon is the CEO of Holocentric, a business management systems provider. As CEO, Bruce is consistently encouraging the building and delivery of solutions that are better aligned to customer needs and that provide more strategic value.For further information visit www.holocentric.com