Inductions can sometimes be rushed and a matter of procedure instead of a valuable and important part of aligning new employees with service values and practices, and ensuring staff feel a sense of belonging. Here’s 5 tips to help make sure the induction process supports everyone …
- Ensure you hire the right people: Sometimes with the pressure of ratios and compliance we may feel the need to hire anyone that has the right qualifications because it is easier/cheaper than utilising casual staff until the right fit comes along. But the down side of this can be employing staff who require additional support and training to fit into the role, or may leave not longer after taking the position because the role was not the right fit for them. All of this can cause disruption and have an ongoing effect on other staff.
- Consider what information has what priority: There is a lot to share during induction but consider what is most important to get across first and how long the process will take. Induction may be staggered so different information is shared out at different times to support new employees to process and take on board the information before more information is shared. Once employees have hands on knowledge it may be easier to explain some policies than if the employee has just started. Considering aspects such as should new employees be expected to document straight away when they have not yet had a chance to learn about the children and the way the service programs could be the difference between success and stress/anxiety/poor performance.
- Ensure inductions are consistent across all employees: It is important that all employees have access to the same information during their induction for consistency. Using a checklist alone does not ensure that the content for each point is explained in the same way for important aspects such as WHS processes and employee code of conduct. You may choose to use powerpoint presentations to make sure the content is consistent. Another great tool is Google Sites where you can create a secure Intranet with step by step procedures using photos or videos that all staff can access to learn and/or refresh their memory on workplace procedures. This will ensure that everyone has access to the same information, especially if in a large organisation with many staff. Of course some information can be shared through teachable moments on floor, but these ways mentioned above also allow for accountability for processes that must be adhered to.
- Consider using mentors: Assigning a mentor not only allows for new employees to have a person they can go to with questions or for advice, but it also acknowledges the skills and knowledge the mentor has and trusts them to support new staff. The mentor does not necessarily need to be someone with a leadership role, and may be someone who works in a similar role in a different room so knows the expectations of the job. This also allows for pressure to be taken off the same key staff who often have a lot on their plate anyway and may skip mentoring sessions or get behind in the induction as other issues arise that need their attention.
- Allow for continuous improvement: It is important to constantly reflect on the induction process and assess whether it meets the needs of the service, the new employees, compliance requirements etc. This can be done through observations of how new staff engage with the service, gather feedback from the new employees, gather feedback from mentors and review any induction documents regularly. If you are going to explore your induction process and how useful it is put this in your QIP. If you are already doing some of the points mentioned above put that in your strengths.
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