A poorly managed induction can make it difficult for new employees to get to grips with the job. But a study in Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review shows that employers are increasingly aware of the need for new recruits to have a structured programme that goes beyond a tour of the tea facilities and toilets.
Just one in five (19%) of the 134 organisations surveyed relies on a one-off induction session, with 44% having a short training programme followed by more tailored arrangements, and 25% using a completely flexible approach. The most common tools used in induction include tours to meet colleagues and managers (at 89% of organisations), face-to-face meetings (81%) and group meetings (75%). Three out of four employers (75%) also hand out information packs.
The study shows that recruits to manufacturing firms are much more likely to find themselves on tours of the plant and in one-to-one meetings with their new boss.
New recruits to the public sector face a less personal approach initially, and are more likely to be faced with a management presentation and follow-up mentoring.
…but line managers need range of support in settling new starters
Line managers are involved in induction in nearly nine out of 10 organisations (88%) surveyed by IRS Employment Review, rising to 95% in the public sector.
But while line managers may be appointed for many reasons, their skill at induction is not likely to be one of them. Fortunately, as the research shows, almost all employers offer some sort of support for those faced with the task of settling in a new recruit.
Typically, this will include providing the line manager with a checklist of topics they need to cover (92% of employers) and, if they are lucky, some idea of the timescale over which this should be done (82%).
More often than not, though, there is no facility to train line managers in what they have to do. The research suggests that this may be because induction is included as an element in recruitment training or broader management courses.
More than three out of four employers evaluate the effectiveness of induction sessions, the research shows. But most commonly they rely on ‘soft’ measures such as feedback from new employees (51%) and their line managers (29%).
Relatively few rely on hard facts and figures, such as retention rates (24%) or feedback from employee attitude surveys (21%).
…and tailoring induction to specific needs seems to deliver best results
Two-thirds (68%) of employers tailor their induction to meet the needs of particular groups or individuals, the research shows. This is most likely to happen in small and medium-sized companies, and in manufacturing.
Where this happens, employers commonly try to ensure that induction is appropriate to the role (74%) or department (70%) in which the new recruits will be working. Many employers also try to vary the process for more senior employees.
Employers are most likely to be satisfied with induction if it is flexible, delivered over a longer period than one day, integrated into training systems, and is kept up to date.