Induction training proves its worth

Employers need to ratchet up their induction training programmes if they are
to retain key staff in a full employment market, according to two new separate
pieces of research.

Research from Cranfield University School of Management, out this month,
shows that more than one in three employers – 37 per cent – have problems
retaining staff who have been employed for less than a year. The longer someone
stays with a firm, the easier it is to hang on to them, the research suggests,
with only 21 per cent saying they had trouble hanging on to staff who had been
with them for more than three years.

And concentrating on a new employee’s first day at work could make a real
difference, according to recruitment website reed.co.uk. Its survey of more
than 5,000 workers and job hunters found that nearly one in 10 had considered
not going back after a disastrous first day.

And, a tiny minority didn’t go back. Three per cent of respondents said they
didn’t return on the second day because of something their new company did. A
further 4 per cent failed to return because of a first-day mistake they had
made.

"It’s important that organisations integrate new people as quickly as
possible into the work environment," said Paul Rapaccioli, director at
reed.co.uk. "The first day at a new job is especially stressful and
employers need to think about how they manage it. Full induction training needs
to be in place and it needs to start from day one."

Some employers are already taking the induction process seriously. For
example, Tesco is currently reviewing its induction. For years, the supermarket
giant has run first-day induction programmes off-site for all new staff.

"We talk about the history of Tesco, the brand and our values,"
said Linda Summerfield, resourcing project manager. "We’re now trying to
find out how much information people retain, what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
Our aim is to make new recruits feel comfortable in their role and support them
through the emotional challenge of starting a new job."

Summerfield is also planning to put Tesco’s new starter pack on to CD-Rom.
"Our paper-based product is full of information but, to be honest, it can
be a bit off-putting. A CD-Rom will enable more interaction and bring it to life.
With 80 per cent of the UK population now having access to a PC, this has to be
the way forward," she said.

Revamping graduate induction training has had a major impact on retention at
opticians Dolland & Aitchison.

"Where once we would lose 50 or 60 per cent of graduates within the
first year of them becoming qualified, we now retain 85 per cent," said
professional services director Dr Rob Hogan.

Three years ago, Dolland & Aitchison introduced a week-long induction
process for new graduates to introduce them to the customer-service side of the
job.

"Rather than concentrate on the technical aspects, we wanted our
graduates to be able to convert their knowledge and skills into jargon-free
language that members of the public would feel comfortable with," Hogan
said.

The firm has now decided to capitalise on the success of its induction programme
by introducing something similar for non-graduate staff, starting this year
with dispensing opticians. "Nothing much has changed in the way firms
induct new staff, but this really does work," he said.

www.reed.co.uk

www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/rci

By Lucie Carrington

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