According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the average direct cost of recruiting a replacement member of staff is £5,000 for senior managers and directors and £2,000 for other employees.
If you’re spending significant time and money identifying the right person for your vacancy, it makes sound business sense to also fully consider an effective induction process to get them “up and running” and fully integrated into your business as quickly as possible. Here’s the main points you need to consider for new starters.
Prepare for an induction plan
This consists of a series of meetings or activities that will help the new employee to settle in quickly and get to know their workspace, colleagues and the organisation. It’s easy to forget how daunting starting a new job can be, so do allow for initial nervousness and anxiety.
Using the job description, make a list of all the things that the newcomer needs to know. Think about the sequence of the induction process: you might want to start with the larger picture (for example, a meeting with one or more senior staff) to give an overview of your business and then move on into the detail of the actual job. Or you might like to get the employee comfortable in their workspace and then move on to the larger picture.
It is also very useful to appoint someone in the department who can be readily available to the newcomer to act as a ‘buddy’ and be their first port of call for queries and concerns.
Check that everyone concerned (including your receptionist) knows when the new employee is joining, what they will be doing and how this fits in with everyone else in the team. Brief the ‘buddy’ on what will be expected of them.
Distribute the plan
A few days before the newcomer arrives, send a copy of the induction plan to everyone concerned and to the new employee.
Check on work tools
Ensure that all materials the newcomer will require are prepared in advance such as IT equipment, company literature, badges, passes, employee hand book, health & safety information etc.
Prepare an induction checklist
Using a checklist will help to ensure nothing gets missed and assist you to move through the induction in a logical manner. Go through the checklist carefully with the new employee and make sure that they understand the induction plan and why it is needed. Put a signed copy on their personnel file when it is completed.
Consider what training is required
Consider whether any formal training is required – and don’t forget your health and safety responsibilities in terms of DSE assessments and training, lifting and handling training etc (as appropriate to the role).
If the employee is to undergo a probation period, this should be discussed at review meetings booked in from the start (perhaps at end of week one, month one and month three) and an end of probation review.
Ensure that you use the probationary period well – this is the time when your employee is likely to be the most receptive to constructive feedback and guidance. Ensure that sufficient monitoring of their work takes place during this period and any training or coaching is delivered promptly so that the employee can become fully effective in the role as quickly as possible.
Appraisals and objectives
Very early on the new starter should be ‘walked’ through the appraisal cycle so they are familiar with the timings, process etc and knows what to expect and what is expected. If individuals work to objectives, you could draw up two or three objectives for the first few months.
Objectives should reflect the seniority and complexity of the role, ranging from “review the last six months’ senior management team’s minutes, identify areas of outstanding concern within your own area or department and ways of addressing these”, and “gain a detailed understanding of our budgeting and costing procedures” to more basic tasks such as “be able to correctly complete your timesheet using our time recording systems” and “make contact with and understand the roles of your colleagues in x department”. Put a timescale on each of the objectives.
If you have a particular style or culture it might be useful to position this to the new joiner early on. During recruitment they may not have realised things that are obvious to other employees such as dress code or parking, or even more social aspects such as the tea and coffee rota or lunch rituals.
There may be more formal aspects too such as style of written communications and these should all be highlighted in the first week. Your rules, regulations, policies and procedures should all be covered in the first week. Many employers include these within a handbook – if so, you should check that this has been read and understood.
A few further tips
This may seem like a small point, but don’t forget to make sure that your new hire is looked after for lunch on the first day.
Finally, many organisations have a leaving party when people depart – why not have a welcoming party to celebrate the newcomer joining the team? It’s an excellent way of welcoming someone on board informally.
For a step-by-step induction plan from BusinessHR, please click here.
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