The induction process is one of the most critical steps in welcoming new employees. Not only do you need to ensure that the legalities are covered, but it also provides an opportunity to embed your new team member into your culture and get them settled in.
Done well, your induction process will not only be informative, but also create a sense of belonging and allow your new starter to begin to emotionally connect with your organisation. To help you create an induction program for your business which does just that, we’ve created an employee induction checklist below.
Whether you’re a new business looking to put this process in place for the first time, or a well-established one that wants to ensure that your induction is the best it can be, there’s something for everyone to take away from our checklist.
Note: As the Coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to move to remote working, we’ve updated this article to include remote employee induction tips. An increase in remote workers is likely to be a long-lasting change due to the events of 2020, we believe businesses can benefit from ensuring their induction process is digitally robust now.
What is an induction?
Let’s begin by briefly explaining what a staff induction program is, what it’s not, and why every company should have an induction process for new employees.
Work induction explained
The job induction process refers to the beginning of a person’s employment with a company. The length of induction differs per company, but it tends to encompass the first day or week (or two).
Note that induction is not the same as onboarding, which refers to the much longer process of fully integrating someone into your organisation; setting their profiles up within your workforce management systems, and payroll software. This also includes items such as setting one-year work targets and KPIs or outlining an internal mentoring or buddy system for the first six months.
Where an onboarding program can take months or even a year, the induction program is focussed on just the first days or week(s).
In general, an induction process aims to achieve two main goals:
- Cover all legal requirements
- Help a new employee settle in
Unfortunately, many companies still focus their induction on goal one (the typical HR formalities), whilst not investing enough time in goal two. However, an effective induction program will always pay equal (if not more) attention to helping a new employee settle in.
The importance of a job induction process
How you induct a new team member will define their first impression of your company. It will make them feel welcome and comfortable. Moreover, it will show them that they’ve made the right decision to join your company.
All of these factors will help retention and thus reduce the risk of new employees resigning within the first few weeks or months of employment, which are characterised by notoriously high employee turnover rates.
This will save you and your business much time and resources in the long run, as you won’t have to repeat the entire recruitment process due to an early resignation.
But most importantly, it will result in a happier new team member.
Remote employee induction (2020 update)
The COVID-19 crisis has forced many companies to move remotely as physical offices had to be closed. It is predicted that remote working will remain a necessary part of many companies for the foreseeable future.
However, this does not stop the need for recruiting and hiring new employees. This means businesses have to adapt to the current climate and take their processes (including employee inductions) online.
Although it differs from a physical induction, remote employee induction does follow most of the same steps. That is why we advise you to still consult all the items listed in the new employee induction checklist above, even when you’re hiring remotely.
Some areas to pay special attention to for a remote employee induction:
- Ensure all necessary documents, handbooks and guidelines are digitised and made accessible to your new employee.
- Ensure all necessary equipment and technology needed for the job are sent to the new employee’s residence in time for their first day.
- Consider offering help with setting up a home office. Although the employee is no longer at your company office it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t provide them with a suitable workstation.
- Creating a sense of belonging can seem more difficult, which might mean you have to pay extra attention to this. For example, consider sending a welcome package with snacks and treats to their home, or order them takeaway lunch on Friday (to replace lunch at the office).
- Scheduling in “meet and greet” half an hours with team members from different departments will help expose your new starter to as many friendly faces as possible, and create recognition for when we are able to return to the office.
- Schedule regular video check-ins with different team members where possible. Make sure they feel connected (even virtually) to your company from day one.
New employee induction checklist: The essentials
Not all induction processes have to cover the same things. If your company consists of just a handful of employees your induction program will probably look different from that of a large corporation.
That said, there are several essential parts that every company needs to include in their work induction program.
Your induction process starts before a new employee’s first day at the office. Technically, the induction process starts the moment the recruitment process ends, which is the moment the job offer is accepted and the start date has been decided.
- In preparation for the new employee’s arrival, you want to:
- Determine who will be involved in the induction.
- Assign a buddy and/or mentor who will help the new employee settle in
- Order any equipment or technology needed (computer, laptop, phone, desk, etc.).
- Prepare the induction program (which is where this employee induction checklist comes in).
- Send the new employee a welcome message (many companies include welcome gifts as well). Share the starting date, time and location, as well as dress code (if applicable).
- Optional: Give the new employee a sneak peek into the induction program, so they know what to expect
2. Health and safety
It is a legal requirement for an employer to cover the following health and safety information. This information must be provided on the first day or before your new employee starts doing any work.
As an employer, you must:
- Provide details of all health and safety precautions an employee must take to ensure they are protected from harm in the workplace.
- Inform them of any training they will need to carry out their job in a safe manner, without endangering others. Additionally, include details of any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they will be provided with.
- Ensure they are aware of what to do in the event of a fire, accident or another emergency.
- Provide details of your insurance policy, in the event of your employee suffering an illness or injury from workplace activities.
Before someone can start working at your organisation you need certain documents signed and personal details shared. What you require exactly may differ depending on the industry your company operates in.
Essential documents and details include:
- Employee contract (signed)
- Proof of right to work in the UK, P45, and any other essential certificates or licenses
- Bank details
- Tax and national insurance number
This is also the moment you want to share your employee handbook, which included all relevant procedures and policies pertaining to your business.
What else should be included in the induction?
Once you’ve gone through all the HR formalities explained above, it is time to focus on the second goal of a job induction program: Helping the new employee settle in.
1. Showing them around
After you have spoken to your new employee about everything you must cover, the following should also be included in your induction process to provide them with the best start possible.
- Explain the rest of the induction program (e.g. as a printed calendar of the first week)
- Tour around the organisation. Think about their personal needs too: Restrooms, break areas, the low down on kitchen etiquette etc.
- Introduce them to their line manager and team. However, be careful not to bombard them with too many introductions. Instead, have their line manager to set up meetings with various departments spread over their first week at the company.
- Introduce them to their buddy and/or mentor. They will be the first point of call if your new employee has any concerns.
- Lastly, this is also a good time to mention working hours and lunchtimes. You don’t want your new recruit sitting at their desk, tummy rumbling, because you didn’t mention they could take lunch whenever they are ready.
2. Introduction to the organisation
This part can take many shapes and forms. From a welcome presentation by the CEO to an introduction by the line manager over lunch. Things to include are:
- Vision, mission and purpose
- Organisational structure
- Products and services
- Business strategy
- Long-term goals
3. Introduction to the company culture
This section may sometimes blend with the previous part, although many companies choose to have this presented separately.
Either way, an important part of any induction process is to introduce your new employee to your company culture. This includes sharing:
- Social aspects like sports teams or the company band
- Team-building events
- Birthdays and work anniversaries
- Staff perks and benefits
4. Setting up their desk
Lastly, you must make sure your new employee is properly set up at their desk with everything installed. This way, they can hit the ground running as soon as their induction is over.
The following points should be part of your new employee induction checklist to help them set up their workstation:
Provide and explain the necessary technology (computer, phone, etc.)
Share login details and passwords to work email, tools, software etc.
Add them to company chat programs and all relevant channels
Briefly explain company policy on the use of technology
Work induction: What to avoid
When inducting a new member of staff into your organisation, it is a good idea to avoid certain things as well.
Pay close attention to the following:
Not having any induction at all or delaying the process. You should always have an induction that is crucial to a successful start for your new employee.
Leaving your new recruit with nothing to do or taking lonely breaks. You should make sure that your employee has company on their breaks if it’s desired, and use downtime productively.
Throwing too much information at your employee all in one go. Yes, your induction needs to cover all the essential information. However, bombarding your employee with too many new people, too much information and loads of paperwork will only end up making your employee feel overwhelmed and flustered. Instead, stick to the important information and organise sharing other information and introductions with various departments across the first week.
Instructing your employee to get straight into the job without introduction. Forcing your employee to jump straight in will leave them with a lack of confidence in their ability to fulfil their job requirements. Instead, gradually introduce them to their role, providing the opportunity to attempt various tasks in a supportive environment.
A comprehensive job induction program is crucial to facilitate a welcoming environment for your new employee.
Although creating a work induction process may seem stressful at first, it is truly a case of the first time’s the hardest. And with the help of our detailed new employee induction checklist above, you have the tools at hand to more easily develop a staff induction program in line with your specific business needs and structure.
As soon as you have created the first employee induction template for your company, it will be merely a matter of repeating the same process for future recruits. Good luck!