Effective staff inductions lead to broader benefits

Effective staff inductions can boost retention rates and productivity levels among new recruits, according to a recent survey by Personnel Today’s sister organisation, pay specialist IRS.

The survey of 158 employers – covering a combined workforce of almost 534,000 employees – found that they can also determine workers’ commitment to the job, and identify whether they are in tune with the organisation’s wider aims.

Some of these wider-reaching benefits were highlighted in a 2008 study of US organisations by research company the Aberdeen Group. Among those deemed to be ‘best in class’ in terms of success at the ‘on-boarding’ stage, 100% improved their retention rate of new hires; 60% reduced their ‘time-to-productivity’ rates; and 57% increased the completion rate for induction tasks and activities such as employment and benefit forms.

Findings from Personnel Today’s sister organisation XpertHR found that effective induction programmes can also create an enhanced ‘psychological contract’, leading to increased employee engagement, and a better corporate reputation.

The most common delivery methods were found to be informal on-the-job training, workplace tours to meet colleagues, group presentations, and information packs. However, other methods are becoming increasingly popular. Buddy schemes were used by 45.6% of respondents, compared with 37% in the 2006 survey, and 36.7% made use of mentoring and coaching, compared with 28% in 2006.

While employers’ approaches varied in terms of length, flexibility, scope and delivery, six elements were identified as contributing to the success of staff inductions:

  • The human touch: Face-to-face delivery methods provide a greater sense of belonging. Buddy schemes and coaching appear to be particularly effective at doing this.
  • A clear, flexible approach: ‘Highly successful’ induction programmes were structured and formal, while 69.6% of employers also tailored their plans to suit the needs of particular groups or individuals.
  • Guidance: Providing detailed training or guidance for line managers on how to deliver and tailor the induction scheme was found to be critical to its successful delivery.
  • Linking induction to future learning: 86% of organisations with ‘highly successful’ schemes linked them to the new recruit’s personal development plan or to the organisation’s learning management system.
  • Senior leader involvement
  • Evaluation: Regular reviews enable the scheme to be continually improved.

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