Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2609
, Published on 26 July 2012
The word ‘Induction’ comes from the Latin root inducere, meaning to bring in; to introduce. Induction is the first step of introducing the job and organization to the new employee and marks the first impression of the company on the employee. The quality of an induction program-its contents and style of delivery has an everlasting impact on the employee.
Companies that have a well planned induction program enable the new hires to speed faster, have better alignment with the organizational expectations, have high level of job satisfaction employees and lower staff turnover rates. Effective induction programs create communication channels between new employee and existing members which helps in clarifying standards and expectations from the employee. It relieves anxiety and makes them confident thereby enabling them to learn effectively and efficiently.
Induction program marks the beginning to address certain needs of the new employee as defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs:
Physiological needs are addressed in the first few days when employee acquires basic information about the company and stats feeling secure in the new environment.
Safety needs are addressed in the course of next few weeks when clear roles and responsibilities are communicated to them.
Social needs are fulfilled when they start forming relationship with people and associate themselves as a part of their department/team.
Esteem needs are satisfied when they understand their roles and begin to gain self-respect.
Self-actualization needs are fulfilled after probation period when the new employees gain expertise in their roles and become efficient at their workplace.
Induction should not be seen only as an event but as an ongoing process, which starts from the day when the employee joins and its results are obtained when the employee completely associates himself with the company and feedback is provided on the effectiveness of induction program.
The success of induction program is not measured by how much information is conveyed to the employee but by the time when the information is communicated and how it is communicated.
During the first week of induction program, it should convey information about the company and its policies, structure and hierarchy, who is who in the organization and most importantly job and behavioural expectations and organization’s attitude towards employees. The first month of the induction program deals with helping the employees form network with others in the company, set KRAs (Key Result Areas) which provide them a guideline on what to perform and how to achieve the performance target, explaining performance management system and communicating performance expectations. A follow-up is also taken from the employee about effectiveness of induction program to know whether the employee has settled well in the new environment. Finally in the first three months, the employee understands about career development opportunities and associates himself as part of organization.
Companies are revamping their employee induction programs to create a productive workforce. Induction programs have been modified these days, from online induction to team-building games and ice breaking activities being a part of the program. A classic example of online induction was presented by “Orange”, a leading mobile operator in the UK. Orange wanted their employees to be equipped with the basic knowledge about the company and be imbibed in their culture and values.
They implemented an e-learning program designed by Tata Interactive Systems that conveyed a powerful brand image to the employees while inducting them to the company. The e-learning program comprised an animated bus that took the inductees through the world of orange, a Learning Management System to track the inductees' progress, links to specific documents hosted on the intranet, making it possible to update the program at any time. The program offered many innovative functions, like an animated "fairy godmother" to help and guide the inductees.
People involved in delivering induction program are not just HR department but also senior managers, supervisors or line managers, colleagues doing similar roles and colleagues from other departments with whom the new employee may work.
An addition to the people who aid in conducting induction program is a mentor or a buddy. The supervisor assigns a buddy who is a peer in same department as assigned to the new employee. The buddy is assigned for initial one month or two to make the new employee familiar with the organization, introduce him to co-workers, serve as a point of contact to answer any queries.
Implementing a buddy program is advantageous to both the employees as well to the company. It promotes responsibility and accountability, reflects leadership skills, develops role models and leaders and creates everlasting relationship between the employee and the buddy. The new employee also gains from the buddy’s experience, learn specific skills and knowledge relevant to the job and develops a focus on what is needed in the organization to grow.
Team-building and Ice breaking sessions have become a buzzword in recent time and a component of Induction program also. In terms of corporate development, team-building exercises are important not only for the rich experience from activities performed by the team, but also for the group skills, communication and bonding among the team members.
Team-building sessions should be considered a part of induction program as it develops working relationships with each other, increases collaboration between department member thus breaking down communication barriers between the employee and the team, assigns him a role depending upon what he is best at, communicates expectations and performance targets therby gaining commitment to the company and corporate goals.
Induction program also cover an aspect of Corporate Social Responsibity (CSR) which give the employee a gist of how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. Corporate Social Responsibility reflects the commitment by businesses to ethically contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce as well as of the local community and society. Companies should discuss two aspects of their operation under CSR-The quality of management in terms of people and processes and their impact on society in various areas. The new employee may be interested to know how companies integrate social and environmental aspects in their business operations and how they interact with their stakeholders.
Induction program also provides an overview of employee engagement activities which fosters commitment, loyalty, pride in the organization and develops a sense of personal responsibility towards the organization. The tools for measuring employee engagement initiatives are people involved in training and development, people seeking career advancement and performance appraisals, increasing compensation and benefit which enhances satisfaction and creates a feeling of being valued by the organization.
Some of the engagement schemes which should be discussed with the new employees during induction program are: How often the company provides feedback and guidance, seeks ideas and inputs on critical problems, gives recognition and rewards, provides opportunities for advancement and social interaction, provides training and assistance, promotes joy and humor within the office.
After all the ‘gyan’ about the company and its practices, comes the most important session which is termed as Evaluation or Follow-up or Feedback. These sessions are important as it helps the organizations to have their systems on track and be self aware of how their initiatives are perceived by the people i.e. what are the strengths and weaknesses of the induction program according to them.
Feedback acts as a communication channel between the employees and the management to measure the effectiveness and usefulness of the induction program, overall value added and how to improve the program to add more value. Feedback should not be planned after the completion of induction program, instead it should be taken timely; within a week or a month to know how the employees are feeling within the organization and whether their needs are being addressed.
Thus the importance of induction program can be realized by the fact that it acts as a best form of professional development which help the new employees to get introduced to best management procedures, routines and practices. Successful induction programs also promote unity and teamwork and also create a learning community of new employees by intergrating a mentor/buddy component within the system and demonstrating career development and corporate social responsibility within the company.
Hence organizations should make the first few days of their new employees memorable which will create an everlasting experience in their mind and they pledge to make their contribution memorable for the organization.
Design your induction program “of the people, by the existing people, for the new people”!!!
This article has been authored by Aprajita Gupta from BimTech, Noida.