This article is part 3 of a three-part series called ‘Onboarding and the art of employee induction’. If you’d like to go back to the beginning, start by reading part 1.
You’ve just been handed your official letter of acceptance signalling the end of your probation and making you a bona fide employee. You just got off the phone from Helen, the HR manager, who personally called to officially welcome you to the team.
The truth is you’ve felt accepted since day one, but this moment clinches it. You can’t wipe the smile from your face.
It’s a special moment when the probation period ends and your employment becomes official. By the time this moment arrives, you will have been through the rigorous recruitment process, experienced the exhilaration of finding out you have the job, endured the stress and excitement of your first week and now, after three whirlwind months, you finally feel like you’re part of the team.
Employers go to great lengths to identify and snare the right candidate for the job. After an exhaustive and often expensive recruitment process, the end goal is an employee who fits with your culture and will hopefully be a committed and engaged member of the team for many years to come.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.
If the best case scenario is a committed employee that stays with you for the long term, the worst case scenario is having your new star performer leave before their probation period has ended. And when you consider that, according to research done by the Aberdeen Group, the cost of replacing an employee can be as much as 150% of that person’s salary, the worst case scenario is one that employers are desperate to avoid.
So how do organisations guard against this outcome? As any recruiter will quite rightly point out, you’re not going to get it right every time, but what you can do is put measures in place to ensure that when you do select the right person you do everything possible to make them want to stay.
As we’ve discussed previously in an infographic piece on employee retention statistics, an employee’s onboarding experience can have an enormous impact on their engagement and tenure. According to the Wynhurst Group, employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58 per cent more likely to be with the organisation after three years.
Clever organisations are seeing the employee induction as the first critical step in the onboarding process, and thus the earliest opportunity to influence a positive outcome.
To be most effective, an employee induction needs to be short, sharp and inspiring. There are, however, many shades of grey that exist between what constitutes an effective and an ineffective induction.
To set you on the right path toward employee induction mastery, here are our top six induction tips:
- Make them feel welcome
There’ll be plenty of time to get serious later on. The induction is an opportunity to get excited! The use of emotive and conversational language will help show a human side of your organisation and help your new employee relax and become a part of the team.
Your induction needs to be informative, fun and engaging – no pass mark required.
- Reduce the text, reduce the duration
We absorb information most effectively when it is presented in short, manageable chunks. Therefore, keeping the duration of your induction to around 30 minutes or less will maximise its effectiveness and, as a result, keep your employee engaged!
A picture tells a thousand words, so look for opportunities to replace text content with relevant and meaningful imagery such as infographics and diagrams.
- Make it about what’s in it for the employee
What’s in it for me? It’s a reasonable question and one that modern employees will ask themselves. You should be celebrating the perks of the job and focusing on the career opportunities your organisation can provide. For maximum impact, use real examples of this occurring in your organisation.
- Policies and compliance content – keep out!
Select your induction content carefully and remember that what you leave out can be as important as what you include. As critical as policies and compliance information are to your organisation, the capacity of the learner to absorb this information is compromised when the information is presented out of context.
Remember, your policies and procedures communicate the ground rules and expectations your organisation has of its employees. As such they should be delivered one by one in the relevant workplace setting as part of the onboarding process.
- Leave breadcrumbs and encourage conversation
An effective induction should be informative, but it doesn’t need to answer every question the employee might have. Encourage your employee to take notes and follow up by having conversations with their new colleagues. This approach has the dual benefits of helping the new employee get to know their teammates, while also empowering existing members of the team as they are sought out for their knowledge and experience.
- Follow up and make good on your promises
The induction marks the beginning of the onboarding process. You want your new employees to have trust in the organisation, so don’t make promises you can’t keep. The messages contained in your induction should mirror the way the organisation and its people conduct themselves. Following up with your new employee gives you the opportunity to ask questions about how accurately the induction portrayed the organisation. This helps you quickly identify any culture or information gaps and address any inconsistencies in the way the organisation presents itself in the induction.
Across the three parts of this series we’ve travelled the incredible journey of the online induction and its place within the onboarding process. In the past it’s not always been a smooth ride, but clever organisations have begun to recognise how critical an effective online induction can be to the onboarding process. If your organisation’s strategy for success involves retaining your potential stars for the long haul, hopefully the advice provided in this series has inspired you to take stock of your onboarding process and identify what you can do to give it true star appeal.
Missed part 1 and part 2 of this series? Click here to read them:
- Part 1: The need for speed and the search for empathy: balancing an online induction
- Part 2: First impressions
If you’d like more information on how an online induction can help your organisation and fit in with your wider onboarding process, contact Learning Seat on 1300 133 151.