Don’t take the stabilisers off too soon! Extend your induction

Posted on Nov 20, 2015

It can take time for new employees to learn the job, gain confidence and become productive, but only 37% of businesses extend their onboarding beyond a month.

As a follow up to our webinar on induction, we’re going to dive deeper into the benefits of an extended induction programme.

It’s often the case that the person tasked with implementing an induction process hasn't actually done one themselves for several years.  

It can be hard to empathise with a brand new starter, especially if they are going to be doing an entirely different job to the one you’re doing yourself.

We asked our webinar participants to take part in a survey so we could see what the real motivations were for creating or improving an elearning induction programme.

The results of the survey from our induction webinar

As you can see, engaging staff in order to increase productivity is the clear winner from this sample of L&D professionals, but every business is different and there are people who have different aims even within this group.

We’re going to explore some of the ways extending the induction elearning process can help with these goals.

Preboarding

As soon as your new hire formally accepts the role you have a chance to start the induction process. Preboarding, or pre-induction involves helping the new starter become a part of the company before their first day.

“There’s an opportunity to give them information, knowledge and confidence before they join so from day one they can be more productive.” – Brayley Pearce, Learning Designer

Around 50% of companies offer some form of preboarding, and the trend is growing to offer a more substantial package to new starters before their first day.

Elearning is perfectly suited to delivering preboarding content. It can be made available securely outside of the organisation and is accessible on any device, giving new hires plenty of chances to get started.

There are some situations in which preboarding will be especially useful:

  • Long notice periods

It’s not unusual for an employee to have to give up to 3 months’ notice before leaving a job. During this period, they could receive counter offers to stay in their current role, or even find alternative options. Keeping them engaged and up-to-date on their new company and role will help alleviate this risk.

  • Temporary workers

There are many industries that will have seasonal workers during busy periods. If you have to deal with a big influx of new starters in one go you can save time by making part of the induction process available online before your temporary staff walk through the door.

Often casual workers are sourced from an agency and might not have attended a face-to-face interview before turning up at the business location on day one.  Any preparation they can do in advance will be a real help in getting them up to speed quickly.

Being able to update your pre-induction gives you the chance to keep it fresh for each season. Make the information relevant and your new employees will be better prepared, more engaged and more productive.

  • Graduates or first-time sector employees

If you’ve got new starters coming from outside of the industry, returning from a long break or from higher education, then extending the induction further forward can be really useful.

A tailor-made primer for your business can include the specific industry information that a new employee needs to prepare for their start.

Within your organisation it’s also possible to tailor further to individual roles and skills areas. Many jobs will require a unique mix of skills and knowledge to be truly productive, and this is where bespoke induction really pays off.

How long should induction be?

If you’re like 63% of companies and don’t have any form of formal induction beyond the first month then you might be used to dealing with first day nerves and the legally required health and safety briefings of the initial contact.

Looking beyond this to the ongoing development of an employee you might want to separate induction from the standard training that you offer.

Many businesses have a 3 or 6 month probation period, it might be intuitive to cap your induction elearning at one of those points. But are there advantages to continuing the process beyond 3, or even 6 months?

“The values and culture of the organisation need to be instilled in everybody from day one onwards. The personalisation of that journey depends on ongoing induction and development, looking at reviews, skills gaps and knowledge gaps.” – Sarah Williams, Senior Recruiter

The CIPD defines induction as “the whole process whereby employees adjust or acclimatise to their jobs and working environment”. This process can take much longer than 6 months, and some situations can effectively send your employees back to the start of this process:

  • Business change

Mergers, spin-offs or any other large-scale changes to the way a business is run can have a knock on effect for all staff. Keeping employees engaged through these changes is a challenge that induction can help you meet. With a well-designed elearning induction programme you can make changes or additions to the module and deploy it quickly to everyone in the firm.

With elearning, it’s possible to incorporate external documents and resources which can be altered independently of the module. Whether it’s a simple update to terms and conditions or a brand new mission statement, an elearning induction is much more cost-effective to update than a printed or face-to-face alternative.

  • Promotion

We've worked with retailers who have used induction not only as an introduction to roles and responsibilities but also to identify potential talent for promotion.

By building modules aimed at many different roles and allowing all members of staff to complete every level they got a good idea of the self-motivated individuals. It turned out that many of the staff wanted to take the induction courses for their line managers and even area managers.

If you have a bespoke elearning induction course based on each role it’s easy to make these available to anyone through an LMS. As well as identifying candidates, you have the benefit of a pre-built induction module for anyone promoted into a new role.

Get in touch to discuss a more effective and engaging induction process that offers cost-effective options for extension, before and after the first day.

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