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How to create an effective induction plan for new employees

How to create an effective induction plan for new employees

First impressions are crucial, and a new employee's initial experience of your workplace can have a major impact on their future with the company. Here, Lynne Godfrey, a director at financial services firm C V Godfrey, shares her company's highly tailored approach to staff induction, and shows that even the little things can matter a lot when onboarding a new employee.
An induction plan helps employees settle into their new role and keeps them from feeling overwhelmed or hesitant to find out what their company is about. The most important thing is to make them feel good on their first day, so that when they go home, they want to come back in the next day.

Set points of contact

An important part of induction is letting employees know who and where to go to for help. We use a buddy system that allows new candidates to work with someone for a couple of days, which helps them find out what's expected of them, and the company's overall mission.

This way, we hope to decrease their level of anxiety and develop a sense of loyalty to the company. It's also about knowing a little about them. We take on board their previous experience so that if they've got ideas for things that can be improved, we let them know we're more than happy to listen.

Cover the basics

When a new employee first arrives, we make sure they know all the basic information most workers take for granted – things such as parking, nearby shops and where everything is located in the office. Then we see how they're coping with the workload. We always provide them with a list of duties they can refer to so they don't feel that they need to constantly ask for guidance.
We also go further and let them personalise their work area and make it their own. We give them new items, not just someone else's cast-offs, which helps to let them know they're welcome and that we're happy to have them here.

Set and keep an induction schedule

Once a new recruit has passed probation and demonstrated that they'll fit in, you'll need to work out a training plan. For the first three months, it's really about the basics – the company and employee getting to know each other. We will usually plan the whole thing over their first 12 months so that we can also get their training sorted out and find out where they want to go with their career.

Ease them in

Try to make each employee’s first couple of weeks fairly relaxed and don't assign them any important responsibilities. Being in the middle of a busy office environment might make them feel overwhelmed prematurely, and can turn good, talented staff away. It’s also a good idea to set aside a block of time early on when a senior staff member can answer any questions they have, one on one.

Make it personal 

We recently took on an employee and personalised her inbox, workstation, stationery and so on with her favourite colour. In her case it was purple. It was one of the colours she wore to the office, and the fact that it was one of her favourites came up in the conversation. 

Be willing to listen

Our new employee came with a lot of experience, so it was also important to be available and friendly, rather than dictatorial, so we could hear what she had to say. We found this approach allowed her to contribute lots of good ideas and helped to develop a strong sense of loyalty. She settled in quite quickly and has said that her induction into the company was very warm and welcoming.

Find the right fit

During the interviewing process, you also have to look for the type of personality that's going to fit into the organisation. If you get that right, the process will be much easier. By making sure they know the mission of your company and that you have integrity, they will want to do the best by you.

A smooth induction process can save your business a lot of money. Read more about the true cost of high staff turnover.

Lynne Godfrey is a principal of Godfrey Partners, a family-owned wealth management business in Adelaide. She is an accredited Resilium insurance broker and specialises in commercial and domestic insurance.

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